Is your style or personality imaginative, playful and full of color? Do you love nature, art and perhaps an element of whimsy? Why not capture a perfect combination of your style and your love for nature in a unique outdoor space? This article shares ten ideas to help you design a backyard retreat that will reflect your personal creativity.
Think of yourself as an artist and your backyard as a blank canvas. Your garden area will become your own original masterpiece. There is no right or wrong. It’s all about pulling together elements that you love from a variety of sources and that make you happy!
Ten ideas to help you get started:
1. Plants that Speak to You. Nature’s palette is full of fascinating “pieces of art”. You will discover flowers with crazy little designs, from polka dots to Rorschach-like splashes and vivid color combination’s for example. Others have amusing antenna-like appendages or odd shapes. Browse the tropical plant area at your local nursery, do an online image search or visit local garden exhibits, just to get ideas. You will be amazed at the incredible variety of textures, shapes and patterns. The best part about releasing your creative side in the garden is that there are no set expectations – you get to set the rules. What plants are calling your name?
2. Razzle-Dazzle Combination’s. You can design any type of visual mosaic you like. A few exciting color combination’s are: chartreuse and magenta’s, dark blues and pinks, purples and yellows or lime greens and hot pinks. And, you don’t have to stick with just two–for example, adding whites to the mix may add to the drama. When you do come across a color combination that strikes you, make a note. This not only applies to your plant choices, but to your decorative outdoor accents and fabric selections as well. For example, mixing circles and stripes or floral patterns with non-floral motifs adds diversity.
3. What’s a Garden Party Without a Little Art? Stained glass is a striking way to add beauty to your garden. Panes can be used as tabletops, hung or attached to ground stakes that greet visitors in unexpected places. Framed artwork of any style makes a fresh and bold statement. Create a mobile or wind chime out of uncommon pieces. Arrange stones, wood stumps, shells or colored glass in a pattern and place them in a strategic place in your garden. Handmade mosaic birdbaths, flowerpots and steppingstones also make for fun projects. Another fun idea is to host a backyard party and invite your friends to bring a homemade piece of garden art that you can display.
4. Surprise Me! Ahhh, the element of surprise that is reminiscent of our sense of childhood wonder. How and where you place and arrange the elements that make up your one-of-a-kind garden will add to the total sensory adventure. It may be something that pops up out of the ground along a garden path or peeks at you from behind a tree. Perhaps it is an object that reflects light or causes motion or sound when there is a breeze. It may be a humorous or extraordinary object hanging from a tree or that greets you as you enter into an unforeseen alcove. Pleasant surprises are always welcome!
5. That Special Something. What accent piece will be sure to draw attention or be used as a focal point for the rest of your garden? Think about an unusual sculpture, whimsical birdhouse or water feature that might be a visual delight. Think out-of-the-flower-box when choosing containers to plant in. You might use a teapot, watering can, pair of old boots, an old trunk or a wheelbarrow. Train climbing roses or flowering vines to wrap around objects like a coat rack or to dangle and swag between trees. Better yet, if you are an artistic spirit, create a signature piece that will be sure to provoke conversation.
6. Eye of the Beholder. Browse antique stores or check out shops that specialize in eclectic furniture. You may find an old or unusual piece at a garage sale or second-hand store that you can paint or modify. Consider ways to re-purpose unconventional items into chairs, benches or tables. For example, you could turn wine vats upside down and add colorful seat cushions or turn an interesting window or door into a tabletop. Try merging a modern style with some old-fashioned surprises or vice versa. The way you want to feel in your unique garden setting will help guide the various elements you bring together.
7. Got Color? Place color splashes around your garden that will be sure to catch the eye. For example, colored bottles secured on the end of tree limbs are a fun and surprising way to solicit attention and they are pretty when sunlight filters through. What about a brightly painted chair, bench or birdhouse? Plant contrasting flower colors and exciting plant combination’s to make your garden really stand out. Murals can also be fun and personal. Strategically placed colored containers, statuary, bobbles, decorative fabrics and outdoor pictures are also great choices.
8. “Fab” Fabrics. Whether you’re shopping for bench or chair pads, tablecloths, pillows, outdoor draperies or umbrellas – inspire drama by choosing prints, patterns and colors that are atypical. You can mix-and-match store bought and/or vintage gems. If you’re feeling especially inventive, purchase exactly what you want from either local or online fabric stores and create originals! Draping or tying custom fabric to gazebos or pavilions can also add a creative flair. Be sure to pick fabrics that will wear well outdoors and don’t forget to bring them inside during inclement weather.
9. Unique Treasures. Think of these as the little “extras” that will stand out and make a distinct impression. Like an exotic feather in a hat, they will add to your “wow” factor. Hang mirrored ornaments that reflect light, chandeliers or amusing decorations from tree limbs, your gazebo or pavilion. What about suspending an antique windowpane from a tree? Add even more charm to your evening entertainment by hanging lanterns filled with water and floating candles; or, wrap twinkle lights of any color around tree trunks or limbs to add some sparkle. You might even consider planning around a special theme.
10. Don’t Forget to Laugh! Everyone likes a little humor. Let your imagination take over. The ideas are limitless, but to stir your creativity — what about a whirligig or two to add a fun touch? You can purchase expressive faces that attach to trees or paint an outdoor bench, rocking chair or bolder with a whimsical image. Consider hanging or posting a sign with playful words or sayings–or come up with your own humorous twist.