Creating your own backyard oasis

In a time where we are spending more time at home its nice to have a place to escape or feel like you have.

What could you add to your backyard to make it a place to escape and dream? Even if you only have a patio or deck there are ways to create a place to totally relax and feel like your miles away.

I would like to put in a natural swimming pool. A real swimming pool does not make a lot of sense in my climate but a natural swiming pool would be great for nature. Even during a bad winter there would be a lot to watch.

Second, I would take my front porch and enclose it mostly in glass for an additional greenhouse area or just a sunroom. I really miss the outdoors in the cold months. More direct sun would make me feel alive. This would also help the house. The porch area seems to let in a lot of clod so my heating bills would go down

What would you do?


  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 643 admin

    Nothing more inviting for me personally than having a big Veg garden. If you mix in some beneficial flowers it looks really amazing.

    @Denise Grant although I would not mind a natural swimming pool but the yard is just not big enough.

    Some secluded sitting areas are a big bonus but depend on the space available.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    If you have space, theme gardens are nice. I like a reading room.

  • Brindy
    Brindy Posts: 212 ✭✭✭

    I have a bunch a wire spools and plan to make a picnic table out of one and put it in an opening in the back acres for a quiet get away.

  • ltwickey
    ltwickey Posts: 369 ✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant A reading room is right up my alley!! I would probably use as a meditation spot as well. I'm thinking a small gazebo placed strategically away from the house and between a cluster of evergreens.....

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant "I would take my front porch and enclose it mostly in glass for an additional greenhouse area or just a sunroom. I really miss the outdoors in the cold months."

    I would so love to have a sunroom where I could grow plants with real sunlight, and just relax in a chair to enjoy the sun even when it's cold outside.

    Sadly, I don't think we can afford to do this at our home. Perhaps when we move to our retirement home, we'll find a place that either has a sunroom or has a spot where one could easily be added.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭


    I have old repurposed windows I can close mine in with I have old old door so the only thing I would need would be a few 2x4's or 4x4's and some paint. I can enclose it without a building permit.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,911 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Unfortunately it's not that simple for me.

    First of all I have a back deck that faces north. Closing that in wouldn't work for a sunroom.

    There is no porch, deck, or anything else on the front of the house that faces south. It wouldn't be a matter of just closing it in, but of actually building some kind of porch, greenhouse, or something similar. That would require a permit and very significant building expense. The best approach would be to have a small alcove/mud room in front of the front door, and a door on the side of the mudroom that led to the sunroom/greenhouse.

    (A little like this, but with a closed-in mudroom between the greenhouse door and the front door, and built on the ground rather than a deck.

    Large trees and an adjacent hill would limit the amount of sun reaching the spot to about half of the day.

    And finally, here where overnight temperatures can drop below zero Fahrenheit (-18C), old windows wouldn't be sufficiently insulated to keep the room warm.

    Some homes and yards are just better suited to this than others.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I like that design @VermontCathy

    Yes all places are not made for certain things, I have a lot of that here. It seems that to do anthing I have 10 things to fix first. Thats why my really nice " I want it up yesterday" greenhouse is still in pieces.

    We have a very unique built in the ground house. Its fun until you have to mow after a rain or try and get out of ther hosue in ther winter. I have to figure a way to terrace around it that does not cost a fortune.

  • karenjanicki
    karenjanicki Posts: 947 ✭✭✭✭

    Where we are at now doesn't have much of a yard but I love the idea of a sunroom someday. There is a farm near my parents that I've loved for years. A big beautiful white farmhouse with a huge solarium on the side and a beautiful barn. God willing someday ❤

  • Linda Bittle
    Linda Bittle Posts: 1,500 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have a small concrete patio - and 2 neighbors downstairs with their adjoining patios, and 3 upstairs with their individual small decks that overhang our three areas downstairs. So I'm looking at privacy options, especially for the downstairs neighbors.

    I'll be getting some sort of garden tower for planting herbs, and I have an old green wire rack with 4 shelves for pots. I plan to use that as a screen. Luckily, I'm on an end, so If I can block the one side, it will help a lot. I have good sun and a water spigot, so it should be pretty easy to grow things that will help with that issue.

    I have a nice garden bench and 2 cast iron chairs, which fit nicely under the upper deck for shade.

    It will be a good start. I like to sit out in the evening, but so do the neighbors, and it gets...interesting.

  • vickeym
    vickeym Posts: 2,019 ✭✭✭✭✭

    We would need to clear an area to do pretty much anything we really want. But for an outdoor area to relax and enjoy....a main requirement would be bug screen. We have mosquitoes that probably outnumber the people by a million to one. So much so the joke is that the mosquito is our state bird and that they are big enough to carry off small children. But I think other than our greenhouses, garden, and chicken coops our biggest goal or wish list would be to get our actual house built.

  • Wendy
    Wendy Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I love my deck during the three-ish seasons that I can use it in Vermont. It has threes on two sides (overhanging the area some) with one side open. In the winter months I have to keep warm inside, although on warmer, sunny days, I still sit on the deck to enjoy a little sun on my face.

    My ideal space would include a greenhouse with a comfy chair and reading nook.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My patio is full sun all day long and it gets pretty hot. I'm hoping some of my baby trees in big pots get big enough to provide some shade. A small wrought iron table with a couple of chairs would be nice to enjoy being outside with all my veggie plants.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    @Tave Have you thought of having espalier trees in pots on your patio? I have a few columnar fruit trees growing in my garden that I am going to put in pots as they are over the water line. Big mistake.

    I love the idea of putting up an enclosure on my front porch to heat the air coming into the house during the winter. I will often open the door so the sun can peak into the house at its winter angle and warm up the rooms. Having it enclosed would allow me to grow my herbs and winter flowers out there, too.

    I would love to put in a stone walkway to reduce the mud and dirt we track into the house. I want the beautiful hydrangeas like the ones at my school, not the ones I bought last year. :( Live and learn.

    It would be great to develop little rooms throughout the property with different seating, plants and what nots. A clock garden is one of the "I want it so much" items - plants that open and close at different times. Likewise, it's in the cards to put in a medicinal garden according to what ails you.

    And I really want a hammock!

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    I would definitely get a greenhouse if I could. I will probably add some more fruit trees and increase the size of my garden this Spring though.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I just finished my fruit tree order @Cornelius I was lucky to barter for some berry bushes, shrubs and trees but the main fruit trees I will have to buy. I am going to try the espalier method with a few of them mainly because I need a privacy barrier. But I have also heard you have less insect issues and less fruit but its larger. We shall see.

  • Tave
    Tave Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2021

    @frogvalley, Espalier trees look so cool. At the moment, I'm using available wall space for vines and trellises. My goal is to completely shade the wall that gets the most sun, so my apartment doesn't get so hot in the summer. An espalier would work for that.

  • RustBeltCowgirl
    RustBeltCowgirl Posts: 1,403 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This issue of Do-It-Yourself has an article about townhouse patios. I was thinking about the divider that looks like recycled pallets. Hung by chains from the upper porch?

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have used recycled pallets to create small dividers, mostly outdoors but I do plan to try them indoors. I just want to make sure I have them water tight so I don't stain or ruin flooring.

    I get tehr cutest small "free" pallets from our one grocery store. They are eithr 2 by 2 foot or 3 by 1foot. Easy to hang and not too heavy (heavy enough) when filled with soil.

  • Annie Kate
    Annie Kate Posts: 680 ✭✭✭✭

    Yes, you can do so much with a few recycled bits and lots and lots of plants!

    We have a sunny corner in our living room, right by the fireplace. When I'm not too busy (hardly ever) I sit there and enjoy our little spa.

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    @Denise Grant That sounds cool! Let me know how it goes!

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,535 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Its snowing again ;( I know its expected in NW Pa in March but after yesterday... I was oput working all day in beautiful sunshine.

    So my mind goes to theme gardens. I absolutely love them and they can give your backyard a new look and sometime even make them look bigger. I think in between planting seeds I will try to find unique ideas for theme gardens.

    I was thinking of doing more backyard camping this summer so maybe a theme garden elating to that. Something my nephew and nieces would enjoy