4 Ways to Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

Source: Pinterest.com

Your backyard is your oasis. When you first begin planning your ideal backyard escape, it is best to start with a dream, some brainstorming, and research. Pinterest, Houzz, and other home and garden sites are great places to start.

However, as you find inspiration around you, it is important not to create a carbon copy of someone else’s backyard. Take some time to add your own personal creativity into your design.

As you move forward with your backyard design, it is best to work from a plan. The first thing to understand is backyard landscaping is different from front yard landscaping. Why? Front yard landscapes require some degree of regulations to fit in with neighborhood norms, conventions, and, at times, HOA or community rules.

Patios and foliage are pretty common additions in the backyard, adding functionality and beauty. But sometimes you want to incorporate the right pieces, the right combination, to create something unique that speaks to your personality and style. A professional landscaper can help, but it’s not always necessary to hire this out. If you take your time to do your research, make a plan, tap into your own artistic style, and find inspiration from your hobbies and personal preferences

Here are some items that fit well and will look incredible in your landscaping:

Trees and Foliage
Trees, flowers, shrubs, and grass are excellent additions. However, they can also be a source of headaches and high maintenance if not chosen well. You don’t need to be an arborist or master gardener, but you will want to make sure you know what you are doing to save you a lot of stress in the long run. Talk with neighbors, experts, and anyone else who has experience with plants and gardening to offer tips about which plants are low maintenance and other tips they can offer.

Plants and Pergolas
Source: HGTVgardens.com

Gazebos and Pergolas
These roofed outdoor nooks can add a modern, ornate, or classical style to your backyard design. Depending your preference, gazebos provide extra protection from the elements and pergolas are designed for shade. Whichever you chose, both are excellent places to read, relax, socialize, and entertain family and friends. These areas are also great spaces to place fire pits, hot tubs, and other outdoor furnishings.

Outdoor Wicker Furniture
Source: WickerCentral.com

Outdoor Wicker Furniture
Your ideal backyard oasis isn’t complete without the right seating. Finish off your patio escape with outdoor wicker furniture. Available in a variety of styles from traditional to modern, you can find the wicker patio furniture set that’s right for you and your budget. Choose from a myriad of wicker finishes and cushion color options to match your home’s existing patio decor.

Backyard Oasis
Source: Bullfrogspas.com

Pools and Hot Tubs
A pool or hot tub can enhance your backyard design and provide overall enjoyment and relaxation. If you are looking to use your pool to swim for exercise, a lap pool might be your best option. However, if you want relaxation, a hot tub is an excellent addition that won’t take up a large amount of space in your yard as a pool. In-ground hot tub installations have grown in popularity for first-rate comfort, hydrotherapy, and aesthetics.

Once you’ve decided what you want to incorporate in your backyard, you will want to construct an overhead layout plan for your selected pieces and specific purposes. With smaller spaces, take time to maximize the space and functionality by setting apart specific areas. If your yard has already been landscaped, or if you are wanting to redesign your backyard, a landscape design software can help you layout your outdoor space or simply sketch out your backyard on a sheet of paper. Include the outer edges, contours, and other elements of your yard and then, once you’ve mapped out everything, let your imagination go and see what you dream up.

This is your space and one that should reflect your personality. Your backyard is your oasis, your place to relax and should bring you happiness.

About the Author: Danielle Adams is a freelance writer who works with Bullfrogspas.com. When she’s not writing, Brooke enjoys spending time working in her yard, spending time with friends, and entertaining in her own dream backyard.

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How to Impress Your Patio Party Guests This Summer

Hosting family and friends for parties is a great way to enjoy the warm, beautiful days and cool breezy nights of summer. From casual barbeques to elegant dinner parties, here are some suggestions for creating memorable, personalized events this summer.

Select a Unique Holiday or Theme for your Event
Searching for theme ideas? Patriotic Memorial Day or 4th of July celebrations are classic, but consider a unique holiday to spice things up, and give you direction as you plan decorations and menus. The summer calendar is littered with fun national appreciation days to help get you started, such as National Cheesecake Day, S’mores Day, Hammock Day, and International Picnic Day. An added perk is that guests are less likely to have other commitments on non-traditional holidays, and are able to kick back and relax if they don’t have another party to get to.

Experiment with Beverages
Whether you’re a top-notch chef or a champion at defrosting frozen appetizers, personalized cocktails or mock-tails are a quick and easy way to step up your menu.

Source: Pinterest.com

For novice bartenders, lemonades are a great medium for experimentation. Whip up your own homemade batch or simply combine fresh ingredients with a preferred store brand. Add your favorite fruits, such as strawberries, peaches, or blueberries, and fresh herbs like basil, thyme, or mint for a sophisticated flavor.

If you are unsure about the alcohol preferences of your guests, you can always stock a small bar with easy mixers on ice. Champagne, rum, and vodka can easily be blended with any of the cocktails featured above. Break away from storing your carefully crafted cocktails in a cooler full of ice stashed in the corner by incorporating an outdoor wicker bar onto your patio. A simple bar counter can fit into almost any sized patio and offer a sophisticated setup for guests to gather and pour their drinks

If space is truly limited, incorporate serving stations into essential furniture with elegant coffee tables and ice chests.

For other great, summer-themed, non-alcoholic beverage inspirations, check out the creative cocktails here.

Set the Scene
Guests will mingle and congregate as your set-up dictates. So carefully consider the atmosphere that you want to create and use your space thoughtfully. For an open, social atmosphere, a large circular setup encourages everyone to get to know each other.

For groups that are too large for one big circle, or to create a more intimate environment, clusters of wicker patio furniture, blankets spread on the lawn with comfortable pillows, or cocktail tables encourage guests to socialize in smaller groups with wicker chat sets.

Wicker Chat Set
Source: WickerCentral.com

If many of your guests will be meeting for the first time, provide entertainment for them to enjoy in smaller groups. Board games on tables and lawn games in the yard are a great way for guests to break up awkward silences. Additionally, it is important to consider the personal needs of your guests when planning for seating. An older crowd, or parents of infants, might require cushioned, comfortable furniture on a firm surface, while a younger crowd can more easily gather on benches or blankets.

Plan for Kids
It can be difficult for guests to relax when they’re checking in with the babysitter, so consider including children in your invite and planning for their enjoyment as well. For more intimate parties, consider hiring a qualified babysitter to take kids into the house for a movie, or organize outdoor crafts and games while adults relax. A sturdy wicker coffee table can be easily converted into a craft table with a colorful cloth covering and by providing construction paper, beads, or the materials and directions for a planned project. If your goal is to allow the adults to relax, set the area off to the side, and surround it with balloons and ribbons to attract younger ones and keep them content. Let parents know in advance that you will be setting aside a special area, and ask for craft recommendations to ensure that kids will be entertained.

If older kids or a babysitter are present, consider allowing kids to work on a presentation or play that ties in the theme for the party. For National S’mores Day, encourage the children to come up with a fun, whimsical performance detailing the discovery of the first s’mores. Allow them to gather and plan in their own space during the first half of the party, then pull comfortable furniture, picnic blankets, and pillows into the lawn and allow them to use the patio as a stage to bring the event to a close.

Make a Manageable Menu
Entertaining should be enjoyable for the host as well, so evaluate your budget, personal skills, and needs as you plan your event. Catering is a great way to remove the stress of menu planning completely, and can meet any price point. For example, taco bars and carryout BBQ are affordable, easy options to consider if you don’t want to worry about cooking for a crowd.

Source: Pinterest.com

However, for summer, there is nothing more classic than firing up the grill, and there is plenty of room for creativity outside of traditional burgers and hot dogs. Let guests create their own skewers with a buffet consisting of a variety of meat, fruit, vegetable, and marinade options.

For more delicate cuisines, such as seafood, infuse smoky flavors by grilling in foil. To serve food buffet-style, a long, outdoor dining table can be pushed against a wall in a smaller space, or set to the side in a larger space.

Whatever the menu, feel free to show it off as much creativity and culinary expertise as you desire, but remember to plan a menu that allows you to prepare as much ahead of time as possible so that you can enjoy time relaxing with your guests.

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Karen Styles is passionate about home improvement and interior design. She is a key team member at Pergolas of Distinction, one of South Australia’s largest home improvement companies. In her spare time she enjoys tackling DIY home improvement projects around the house and garden and, of course, entertaining family and friends outside in the Aussie summer.

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4 Easy Tips for Cleaning Your Patio Tiles

Outdoor Patio
Source: Pinterest.com

Having a patio on your property is a great addition to any home. Like all other parts of your home, however, this one also needs special cares in order to look good. If you want to preserve your patio in good condition for a long period of time, you will have to clean and maintain your tiles regularly.

After a certain period of time, you will notice that the tiles of your patio look old and dingy. Since you probably use them on a daily basis, it is normal to see that they already look too worn out. And since you want your patio accessories, outdoor furniture, and wicker patio furniture to reside in a great looking space, it’s important to pay attention to your tiles.

Replacing them with new ones will cost you a lot not just because of all the new materials you will have to get, but also because you will have to hire professionals for the job. There is another way you can restore the good looks of your patio tiles through a simple cleaning.

No matter how well you take care of your patio tiles, sooner or later you will notice that they don’t look as good as they used to. You can change that by performing one thorough cleaning with special supplies. The cleaning of your patio tiles is very important because it will not only remove the unpleasant grime, but it will also prolong the life of your tiles in the future. In order to get the most effective results, here is what you can do:

Make a schedule
Nothing will be more effective than the regular cleaning of the patio tiles in your home. You can make a special schedule which will prevent the accumulation of pollution and the ruining of the good looks of your patio tiles. It is enough to take care of the thorough disinfection of this part of your property at least once a week. It doesn’t matter which day of the week you choose for the performance of the cleaning, so this decision depends only on you. If you want, you can also hire professionals every once in a while.

Purchase eco-friendly supplies
It is also very important what kind of products you use for the cleaning of the delicate surface of your patio tiles. The high price of the supplies you see in the shops, however, can’t guarantee the good quality of the product. It is best to avoid the supplies which contain strong and very dangerous chemicals because they can make the colors of your tiles fade away faster and also harm the plants which are close to the patio. Therefore, it is best to use eco-friendly ones which won’t be dangerous for your patio tiles and for your health as well.

Try preparing your own special cleaning products
Preparing your own special cleaning blends is also an option. For the purpose you will need simple ingredients which won’t cost a lot of money. A combination of bleach and water in a bucket is a good idea, because it will remove entirely all old stains and pollution. You can substitute the bleach with white vinegar, if you are too worried about the condition of your patio tiles.

Use the right tools
You shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the tools you use for the cleaning. For most effective results you can use a power washer, if possible. Also make sure that you have a special broom which won’t be very stiff and won’t scratch the surface of the tiles.

The most important rule, however, is to take care of the presentable look of your patio the same way you take care of your home. By paying attention to the small details, you will be able to preserve the tiles of your patio in good condition for longer. You can save a lot of money by simply spending a couple of hours in cleaning.

This is a guest post written by Edna from SW5 TopGardening Services. You can get in touch with her via G+

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4 Exciting Ideas to Transform Your Boring Backyard

Outdoor Wicker Furniture
Source: WickerCentral.com

If you’ve always wanted to turn your boring backyard into a comfortable and beautiful outdoor space, now is the perfect time to make a change. You have to be able to make the best out of your property and transforming your backyard is one way to achieve it.

Planning even simple renovations to your backyard will be enough to change drastically the look of your entire home and make you and your family feel more comfortable while living there. You have to be prepared for a major cleaning as well because the work of the thorough transformation of your backyard will certainly create a big mess. Once you finish with the cleaning and arranging of all little details, however, you will see that it was all worth it.

There are different changes you can plan which, however, will inevitably require careful budgeting and planning, especially if you plan to do-it-yourself or hire a professional. To avoid the troubles, you can plan everything carefully in advance, which will give you the chance to estimate the approximate amount of money you will need. We can give you some useful ideas which will help you plan the transformation of your yard into an amazing outdoor space easier.

Add a Nice Patio
Nothing will make your yard look better than a nice backyard patio. You can pick the design yourself and hire experienced specialists for the work. They will make the plans and will take care of all other details, which will save you troubles of doing anything. This will cost you more, unfortunately, but at least you will be sure that everything is done properly by professionals. You will see that this major renovation will be worth the money, though, the first time you invite your friends over or you spend some time outside.

Outdoor Wicker Furniture 
When it comes to renovating the interior design of your real estate property, you can use all kinds of colors you like. For the outdoor spaces and your backyard,

Outdoor Wicker Furniture
Source: WickerCentral.com

however, it is better to choose outdoor wicker furniture that will last. Once your patio is done, you can add a nice wicker table with comfortable wicker chairs which will really stand out. Feel free to use your imagination when you are picking particular models because the wicker chairs have to look nice, but also be comfortable and also easy to maintain.

Backyard Waterfall
Adding a waterfall to your backyard will make your home more sophisticated than ever. Even though this is not among the cheapest projects, it will definitely turn your yard into an amazing outdoor space. If you want to be closer to the nature, this will definitely help. It will be easier to relax when you listen to the calming sound of the water, so deciding to add a waterfall to your backyard is a great idea. Keep in mind, though, that you will probably have to hire professionals for this project too.

A Barbecue Place
What better way to spend your summer nights than barbecuing with your friends? You can turn this dream into reality by designating a special place for your barbecue. This is will be also the perfect place where you and your family can have fun during the weekends and also enjoy a nice romantic dinner with your loved one.

You can turn your backyard into the most amazing place in your property with a couple of simple but very effective renovations. The best part is that you can save yourself the troubles of doing everything yourself by finding and hiring reliable professionals for the job. You can ask them to do anything you like and pretty soon you will have the nicest outdoor space in the area.

This is a guest post written by Edna fromSW5 TopGardening Services. You can get in touch with her via G+

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