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Homeowners are always looking for ways to make their backyard a calming retreat from the stress of everyday life. Here’s a few ideas for creating a welcoming backyard oasis. If you’re ready to get started, contact Harmony Design Northwest for a consultation!

Creating a Welcoming Backyard Oasis

Invest in a Pergola

A pergola is a structure with columns that support a roof, and they’re often freestanding or built as a home extension. Perhaps the most attractive feature of pergolas is that they can be fully customized to fit the style of your outdoor space. Pergolas can be a simple as a wood frame with beams creating an open roof space or a complex as a custom designed and built room that’s a permanent extension of your home (this will require a new construction permit so you’ll need a professionally designed plans from an engineer or architect). You can even buy a new pergola online from home store retailers. You’ll want your pergola to be at least 8′ square to accommodate furniture, but they are best at a minimum size of 10′ to 10′ so there is ample room for seating, dining, and relaxing. Whether you want an pergola for partial shade or a new outdoor room, you’ll love the inviting space offered by a pergola.

Converse Around a Fire Pit

There’s no better way to relax than by gathering around a fire pit in your very own backyard. These days it’s easy to add a fire pit to your space, even if your backyard or patio is small. Wood burning fire pits should be at least 10′ from any structures or trees (further is better), but you can enjoy a gas fire feature anywhere, as they don’t throw sparks. If you want your fire pit to be a permanent feature, you can run a gas line to it, or purchase a portable fire pit that uses a propane tank. Another advantage of a gas fire feature is that it doesn’t create smoke. Whether wood burning, gas or even gel, fire pits are great ways to enjoy your backyard in all seasons.

Add a Water Feature

If the gentle sound of water tumbling over rocks makes you relax, then a water feature will turn your backyard into a true oasis. Water features can be as simple as a bubbler fountain made from a ceramic container or a boulder set in river rock or as complex as a recycling stream and waterfalls. Bubblers come with echo chambers that are buried under the fountain to amplify the sound of the falling water while waterfalls and streams depend on how the stones and boulders are arranged to create to perfect sound of falling water. Water features require careful planning so it’s always best to consult with a landscape designer. Whether you decide to use your water feature as the centerpiece of your backyard design or tuck it into a corner surrounded by lush plants, a water feature will add serenity and visual interest to  your backyard.

Construct a Gazebo

You may be wondering what the difference is between gazebos and pergolas. The primary distinction is subtle, but important. Gazebos always have a closed roof, while this isn’t always the case with pergolas. Moreover, gazebos tend to be rounded or multi-sided in shape and slightly raised from the ground, creating the perfect space in which to grill, dine, and enjoy the view. Like pergolas, gazebos come in kits or can be custom designed. Gazebos are typically constructed of wood or a composite material like Trex.

Redesign Your Planting Plan

Even if you don’t add a pergola, fire pit or water feature, with a creative landscape and garden design you can still have the backyard oasis of your dreams. We use design principles that create a sense of a calm and order, like repetition of plants, shapes and textures, adhering to proper scale, and selecting the right plants for the space.

We hope that this post will help you create a beautiful backyard design that you can cherish for years to come. Keep an eye on our blog page for future posts in which we’ll continue to provide you with more landscape design ideas, as well as ways to transform the space around your home into something truly spectacular.

Harmony Design Northwest is your go-to resource for backyard design, and we would love to help you create the space you’ve always wanted. We’re here to help you with everything from the initial design to contractor recommendations, so get in touch with us today for a consultation!