Creating a Summer Oasis in Your Backyard

A few weeks ago was National Hammock Day (July 22). One of my all-time favorite aspects of summer is relaxing in a hammock and listening to the sounds around me. As long as I can remember, we’ve had a hammock in our house. Years ago, when we had a traditional rope one as kids, we used to play a game where we’d try to flip the hammock over completely while one of us tried to stay clinging to it for a full circle. Nowadays I’m much more reserved in my hammock sitting. I like to sit out there with a chilled glass of iced tea and just enjoy the summer day. I put up a couple new bird feeders this year, so when I relax in the hammock, I can hear the birds twittering near by.

Bead suncatcher
The beaded suncatcher I made from a small cut branch and strung beads.

I bought the bird feeders, but I did DIY myself a small bird bath to hang near the feeders. I went to the local dollar store and bought a wire hanging basket frame and a cheap plastic serving bowl. I took out the coir insert of the basket and replaced it with the plastic bowl. Then I simply put a few rocks in the center, filled it with water and hung it near the bird feeders. Simple, quick and inexpensive. The kind of projects I like. I also decided to add a little glam to my garden and made a simple suncatcher with a small branch and beads. It took less than 20 minutes let adds a nice touch to the yard that I can enjoy when I’m outside.

Mailboxes as planters
These mailboxes make great planters!

Our Farmhouse Style Summer issue is out now and includes creative ways to pretty up your porch. One of those ideas is to take old rural mailboxes and set them on end to fill with flowers. I love this idea because I love thinking outside the box to find different containers to hold flowers. In our Gardens issue, our stylist created a planter that used river rocks and a wire basket. The beauty of nature shines through in this piece! Some other great ideas I’ve seen for creative plower planters include hanging metal colanders, rain boots, picture frames, painted tires, old stumps, purses, birdcages and more. I’ve always been thrilled by walking around a garden and finding unexpected delights throughout. I made a dragonfly stake from flexible copper tubing and beads and every time I see it among the plants, I smile to myself. Not only is it something whimsical and sweet, but it is also something I made myself, which makes it extra special. Another thing I absolutely love about it is that as it ages, the copper takes on a wonderful verdigris patina. So it’s something new to look at all the time!

Flowers in Rock Basket
I love this idea from our Gardens issue!

That’s what a garden, a backyard, a porch, or other special place is supposed to do for you—allow you to relax and smile. It’s a place to kick back in a hammock and enjoy a warm breeze, or to wander down a garden path and pick a few flowers for an impromptu bouquet. And for me, that’s a lot of what summer is about—enjoying those special quiet moments. What is your favorite spot to enjoy the warm summer days?

copper dragonfly stake
This dragonfly DIY came out so cute!
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