Get outside and enjoy the sunshine.

After spending more time at home than ever before, most of us are eager to get outside and enjoy the sunshine this spring. But, unless you’ve been carefully tending to your yard, there’s a good chance those outdoor spaces could use some TLC.

As it turns out, the key to creating a truly relaxing backyard oasis lies in delighting the five senses, and nearly any homeowner can partake. From the smell of jasmine to the soft glow of string lights, here’s how to level up your backyard this spring.

Prioritize privacy

Of course, you can’t truly relax when the neighbours are too close for comfort. Before tackling anything else, make a point to establish some privacy.

You may not want an extra-tall privacy fence all along with the property, but creating even just a few closed-off nooks promotes relaxation. Consider curtains, climbing plants, trellises, hedges, planters, and more (Better Homes and Gardens, 2021) to section off your space, prevent prying eyes and create a perfectly calm environment. Goodbye, looky-loos!

Set up seating

No outdoor space is complete without a functional seating area. Outdoor daybeds invite lounging, while a picnic table would be perfect for entertaining.

If you’re feeling creative, don’t shy away from swings, hammocks and other unique options, either. Whatever your taste, just ensure plenty of comfortable seating is well within reach.

Tend to the garden

Greenery can make or break an outdoor space. In fact, plants have been shown to have a therapeutic effect, promoting feelings of calmness and cutting down on stress (Forbes, 2020). For added fun, incorporate plants with sweet-smelling flowers, vibrant colours or unique shapes.

Let there be light

While lighting may initially seem a bit insignificant, when used correctly, it can truly transform a space. For example, warm light is often seen as calming and inviting, while cool light feels more invigorating.

Consider hanging string lights over the seating area to add ambiance, or place torches throughout the yard if lawn games are on the agenda. Either way, good lighting (Country Living 2021) ensures your outdoor oasis is fully functional, even after dark.

Install a water feature

Did you know that the sound of running water (Smithsonian, 2021) can actually boost health outcomes and promote feelings of tranquillity? Unless you’re lucky enough to live right on the beach, you may need to do some legwork to incorporate this element of relaxation.

Installations can be as simple as a birdbath or as complex as a full-on fountain. Whatever your preference, a water feature is sure to make a splash in your backyard oasis.

Consider a sound system

If running water isn’t quite cutting it, a soothing playlist might. Pick up a simple Bluetooth speaker or invest in an outdoor speaker system (HGTV). Then, take a note from your favourite day spa and put on something soft and soothing.

Imagine yourself lounging in a hammock under bistro lights, flowering perennials nearby… Now, grab a shovel and make it a reality! Your backyard oasis is waiting.