The fast pace of modern life simply urges homeowners to create serene places where they can retreat when they’ve had enough. A spruced-up bathroom is one option but a beautifully-decorated yard is also suitable for a retreat.
Just think of it, spending time on the patio or under the canopy of oak is the surest way to calm your nerves down. Add a bit of gardening to the picture and you get a retreat that is suitable for seniors as well.
The importance of colors
The reason why outdoor space is appeasing for humans is the color green that abounds in nature. Any psychologist can tell you that green has a calming effect on the human psyche. However, green is not the only color that allows us to rest our bodies and mind.
Color preferences are individual, so you should paint the backyard the way you like, as everything is better than a grey and dull landscape. Take a bucket of white or blue paint and redo the fence to make it stand out. The same can be done for the benches or the tree swing.
A comfortable sitting area
We feel most at ease when we sit or lie down. The garden doesn’t have natural spots for this unless you plan to doze off underneath a tree. Arranging a sitting area on the patio is a much better solution, as you can get comfy sofas and lounge chairs.
Both a rattan sofa and a garden set you can find at any large supermarket will do just fine, as long as they are comfortable. Seniors often suffer from backaches, so it’s essential that chairs come with lumbar support. In a nutshell, choose any pieces of furniture you like but make sure it’s ergonomic.
The term “ergonomic” is often associated with office chairs but outdoor spaces can benefit from comfy chairs as well. A cost-effective alternative are cushions and pillows that you can place behind your back or place them underneath your head for an afternoon nap.
Introduce natural textures
There are artificial sections of the garden, such as the aforementioned fence, the garden shed, and the walls of the house. You shouldn’t leave these surfaces bare, even if they are freshly painted. They should be covered using natural textures, such as green walls, jute rugs, wicker accessories, or even moss.
Also, think about what nature has to offer you. For instance, seniors would appreciate it if they didn’t have to assemble a table but rather convert a tree stump into a fine dining setting. Moreover, a rattan tray is ideal for serving juices to grandchildren! The more natural the setting, the more inviting it is.
Your backyard needs a water feature
It has been known for centuries that the sound of running water soothes all the senses. There might not be a river or a stream flowing through your backyard but that doesn’t mean that you can build one. Whether it’s a pond like the one found in Zen gardens or a fountain, your backyard simply needs a water feature.
There are many different water features to choose from, as you can even install a splash pad for your grandchildren to enjoy. The only prerequisite is an outdoor water tap to which you can hook up anything you like.
A great low-budget idea is a small water fountain that is bought ready-made. It doesn’t matter if the drain is on the other side of the yard, as the drain can be turned into a streamlet whose burble will echo throughout the retreat.
Apart from the sights and sounds of the backyard, you need to boost the smells as well. If you are cultivating an organic garden, be sure to plant some herbs and flowers alongside vegetables and fruit. As you probably know already, the scent is a powerful tool when it comes to unwinding.
If you wish to relax in the garden, then the fragrance of flowers is the right way to do it. Just like with texture, the scents too should be natural, unlike those pesky air fresheners you use inside the house. For the exterior, sage, mind, wild thyme, jasmine, and lavender are just some of the plants that will help you relax (and keep mosquitoes away in summer).
Drawing in birds
The sound of running water is definitely calming but you can further enhance the audial experience in the garden. Namely, the twitter of birds should fill the garden space each morning and in the afternoon. However, songbirds aren’t going to fly to your backyard on their own nor will they linger for long.
You need to actively attract birds (and their twitter) by placing birdfeeders on trees, erecting birdbaths, and building birdhouses. Once the local birds learn that there are always complimentary seeds to peck in your backyard, they will be more than glad to sing for you and every person around.
Create some shade
We’ve mentioned earlier that a small garden is ideal for relaxation. However, the location of the garden can be somewhat problematic as backyards in urban settlements often lack free space. Moving the garden closer to the sun or planting it under a tree means that plants won’t get enough sunlight, does it?
Luckily, there are shade loving plants that you can plant close to the patio or the veranda. This way, you get the best of both worlds, a comfortable sitting area under a roof and fragrant flowers just in from of you: the ideal ingredients for relaxing in your backyard.
Teach yourself to enjoy nature
You know how they say that the best things in life are free? In your backyard, Mother Nature has set up shop and it isn’t charging you anything if you know how to enjoy its gifts. No matter how much you beautify your backyard retreat, it will go to waste unless you know how to enjoy it properly.
Simply stopping for a minute to listen to birds’ twitter and the sound of running water should be enough to help you unwind. Take walk through the garden, touch the flowers, and imbibe their scent (but don’t pick them). It’s a real art to learn to enjoy such small joys in life.
In order to be able to reach every corner of the garden without getting muddy, you need paved paths. However, pathways can be dull if they intersect under right angles. That’s why the paths inside the backyard should wind through the space.
This way, you’ll actually like traversing the garden, adding to the overall feeling of relaxation. As far as pavers are concerned, concrete is the most affordable option but gravel gives you the best value for money. Besides, the crunchy sound of gravel is soothing in itself.
Spending time outside after dark can be quite soothing, especially on a starry night. However, you can always enhance the lighting in the backyard with smart garden lights. These should be installed along winding paths and ideally, they should be solar-powered. Furthermore, you can hang lanterns and fairy lights from trees, the house, and along the fence.
Hanging wind chimes
Lanterns are hung for nightfall but wind chimes should hang for windy days. Namely, the howling sound of wind can easily snap you out of the Zen state of mind but you can harvest the power of the wind and turn it into a melodious sound.
The porch is the best place to hang wind chines, as wind is the strongest here. Modern chimes are made from metal but you can always visit a flea market to hunt down antique bamboo or willow wind chimes that are usually decorated with bird feathers. If you’re into such design, then you can hang a dreamcatcher as well from the veranda.
Inside a typical Japanese Zen garden, greenery, a pond with a bridge over it, and a large boulder are the most important elements. The boulder is especially interesting, as it allows you to keep the stone you already have inside the garden.
Through some landscaping, any piece of stone can become a tiny mountain, making you feel as if you were on top of the world.
In fact, if you’re a fan of yoga, you can meditate on top of the boulder. As an alternative, you can place a Buddha statue in the yard.
Doing up unattractive walls
You already know that your garden should be green but often you share an unappealing wall with a neighbor. Luckily, you can overturn the look of the walls by making it green. This is done by letting vines and climbers do their job and cover up the wall in a single season.
Green walls allow you to rest your eyes on them (remember what we said about the color green) and they act as barriers, stopping dust from entering your yard. In fact, noise pollution is one of the biggest obstacles to creating a beautiful resting retreat.
If you live near a busy road, then plant a hedge along the outer perimeter of your property.
Hanging a hammock
If you really want to rest outside of the house, then you don’t want to lie down on the patio sofa. No, what you truly need is a hammock. You don’t have to weave one, as garden centers offer ready-made hammocks made both from rope and durable plastic.
However, you should where to hang the hammock from. Ideally, this should be done between two trees but a PVC post will do just fine. As an alternative, you can use the washing line or a peg you install inside the outer wall of the house.
A fire pit for cold nights
Finally, building a small backyard fire pit will allow you to stay outside during chilly nights in spring or autumn. You can build the heart using refuse from constructing the Zen garden and an old grill bar can be added on the top for protection.
Creating a beautiful resting retreat in your garden isn’t as hard as most senior homeowners think. Basically, you can buy everything ready-made and simple to install it in the backyard, whether it0s a fountain or a fire pit.