Outdoor oasis inspiration

3 February, 2015

For those of you living in a chilly climate, you may be sick of winter. Between cold and snow, all you want is sunshine and warmth. If you can't jet off to the Maldives (or another tropical locale), start brainstorming ways to improve your backyard come spring. Thinking of outdoor furniture sets, gardening and yard parties might help you escape the realities of winter, if only for a moment. Besides, this way you'll know exactly what projects you wish to tackle when the weather does warm up. Here is some inspiration for your outdoor living space:

Plant lemongrass
When the weather is nice, you might spend long hours lounging on your outdoor sectional, reading a book or gardening. However, mosquitos could make otherwise relaxing outdoor time a bit of a nuisance. Those bugs leave itchy bite marks and can invade your food, which isn't good if you're having a dinner party on your deck. While lighting candles and spraying your yard can keep the bugs away, mosquito repellent doesn't have the nicest scent. Instead, consider planting lemongrass. This aromatic plant is thought to keep mosquitos (and their bites) away from your yard.

Consider privacy
When you're having a nice outdoor dinner party with friends, the last thing you want is for unwelcome eyes to rove about the space. You don't need a tall fence to prevent passersby from seeing your party, just plant the right greenery. Tall grasses, bushes and trees help keep the area separate. You can even install standing lattice planters. 

Greenery doesn't just have to keep out prying eyes, it can also help you create zones in your yard. Make a small cafe garden by placing outdoor dining sets near bushes, or have a quiet seating area by closing off a few chairs with a wall of hanging plants. 

Establish spaces
You don't always need shrubbery to establish zones in your yard – furniture placement helps too. For example, if you want a lounge-style seating area, you can arrange outdoor sectional sets to promote group relaxation. The sofa can face arm chairs with a coffee table in the middle. Outdoor dining zones are nice too. Pick a patio spot where you'll set your grill and a dining table with chairs. Just because your backyard doesn't have any walls doesn't mean it can't follow the same setup as a room. 

When you think ahead to summer, how do you imagine you'll spend time outside? As snow falls, plan ways to make your backyard dreams come true.