Even when you have a fabulous backyard that’s fully loaded with amenities, one outdoor space can still be illusive. Sometimes it’s hard to find a quiet space around your active barbecue and outdoor dining table or near your busy pool.
How then do you carve out your own private place? The good news is that it’s not all that hard to make one.
The next time you are outdoors, take a quick survey of your property and ask: Where would I love some quiet time?
If you can’t point immediately to a ready-made spot — where you sneak away to read or do yoga, there’s no rule that says, when it calls for it, your getaway can’t serve double-duty as a gathering place when it’s not being used as a place for solitude.
And, no, that’s not a contradiction. If it is going to serve double-duty, all you need is a “do not disturb” sign that the family respects when it’s hanging in an agreed spot.
Now for some tips in carving out that quiet spot for yourself:
Tip # 1.
Plan an attractive focal point. One of the enjoyments of an outdoor private space is being close to nature, so a water feature, special planting bed, babbling brook, butterfly garden, etc. are ideal options.
Here these Deck and Patio clients had a glorious wooded yard with some private walks. We added stone steps, streams, and waterfalls in and around an existing bridge just below a comfortable park-style bench.
Robust green ground cover and plants appear as if they were always part of the natural woodland. Talk about a quiet space to get away from it all.
Tip # 2
Next, create a foundation. It can be very easy to extend an existing patio or deck, or add an entirely new area that will offer comfort and permanence underfoot.
In this case, we added a small secluded patio adjacent to the pool’s raised spillover custom spa. It’s the perfect spot to get away from it all.
As an escape it includes the gentle sounds of water spilling from the spa into the pool. But you still have a birds-eye view to all the action — when you want to look up from your book!
Tip # 3
Also, consider your comfort. A few outdoor features such as comfy seating and shade are important. For seating, you might want a footstool (or a way to put your feet up), and a headrest; if you like movement, you might want a rocker or even a swing. If there isn’t a shade tree, outdoor umbrellas, a pergola, trellis, etc. will do the trick.
The Travertine stone we used for this project enhanced the geometric shape of the pool. It was decided to elevate the diving area for added interest. This raised area offered our clients a quiet escape for relaxing; bright plantings add to the pleasure of it all.
Such a spot not only serves as a personal retreat, it can also be shared when you want company.
Tip # 4
It’s also key to think both ‘night’ and ‘day.” There’ll be times during the day when you’ll want to sneak away and perhaps read a book, or just listen to birds (and for that you might want to have a bird house or water fountain near your spot); other times you’ll be taking some ‘me’ time after sunset, so a fire pit or campfire will add warmth on cool evenings and offer pleasant lighting when it gets it’s dark.
This ideal waterfall-focal point was created near the edge of an existing patio. With the addition of an attractive wood-burning stove and handsome wicker furniture it does double duty — you can escape there for some quiet, or enjoy it with friends. Just have that “do not disturb” sign at the ready!
Tip # 5
Flexibility may also be your answer. Having a private-time-basket that’s always at the ready is a great idea, too. It can be stocked with one or two aromatherapy candles, a favorite cushion, a throw rug for a little spontaneous yoga, ingredients (glass/soda) for your favorite drink, including a corkscrew if it happens to be wine.
This works well when you already have a well-laid patio or deck with large trees and shrubs on the periphery, or some other comfortable foundation. Then simple container gardening allows you to create a flexible quiet spot — on the spot.
If the containers are not too large, they can be moved at a moment’s notice. In this case, our Deck and Patio’s clients also have an easy-to-move barbecue, as well as easy-living, yet elegant, outdoor furniture. An intimate spot away from the pool and main patio, it is also perfect for intimate dining.
Feature Photo at top of page: Small Patio For Reading or Writing
Techo-Bloc pavers were used to make this idyllic small patio sitting area next to the client’s new water feature. It’s a great spot to read and have some quiet time.