Transform Your Backyard into a Relaxing Oasis: Discover Inspiring Summer Projects from Our Designers and Top Bloggers

As we get into the midst of summer, I keep looking around my yard and thinking about all the creative projects, planters, flower beds and more that I would love to do to make my backyard into an inviting, relaxing space. I’ve always wanted a little babbling brook, and someday I might have the space for it. But for now, a small fountain or bubbler would be perfect. I could still enjoy the sounds of water but in much less space. Our designer made such a clever one from thrift-store plates and dishes, that surprisingly wasn’t that hard to do if you were careful with drilling through the plates.

Create a bubble fountain using thrift-store dishes. Select several dishes and using a diamond bit and a small amount of water, drill holes in the center of each dish to accommodate a fountain assembly kit. Assemble the plates together using waterproof silicone sealer and set atop a secure base.

Then there’s something about flowing draped curtains hanging on your porch or patio that just seem perfect for outdoor summertime sessions. The fabric panels soften the whole space, allow you to block out the sun and give you a cozy spot to relax. In my dream garden, I’m definitely going to have soft hanging curtains around a seating area. Speaking of seating areas, I’ve always loved the idea of a pair of colorful Adirondack chairs sitting out in the yard with a handy upturned crate or small table to hold a tray of lemonade and scones. What a perfect spot to catch up with a friend. When it comes time for serious relaxing, though, that’s when I turn to my hammock. I’ve had a hammock all through my life, from rope versions to fabric ones, and enjoyed every single one. For a short time, I had these high ambitions to sleep out in my hammock every summer solstice (longest day of the year). The romanticism of it wore off when the dew hit in the morning. But I still enjoy an afternoon nap in my hammock or swaying gently while reading a book.

Lauren Shaver of Bless’er House made these pretty porch curtains by coating inexpensive sheer curtains with water-repellent spray and hanging them with tension rods and adhesive wall hooks. (Photograph by Bless’er House)

What else goes into a dream garden? Lighting is a must but skip those motion-detector lights that throw a big glare across your yard. Think gentle lighting with ambiance. There are so many different types of solar fixtures and fun string lights out now, that you could easily add style with just a few quick Amazon buys. But what if you want something more creative? How about tea lights in whisks hung from tree branches? Or a marble-studded wooden lantern? Both are easy to do and so fun.

Kitchen whisk outdoor lighting finished product

Slide colorful small tea lights into wire kitchen whisks and hang them from a tree branch for simple outdoor lighting.

Growing up we always had a big garden. We grew and canned tomatoes and cucumbers; we grew grapes and made wine; and we always had a large herb garden. I love the clever ways of creating smaller contained herb gardens, so those need to be in my garden. And there’s just something so wonderful about being able to pick some fresh basil to throw in a caprese salad. And of course, there are so many fun ways you can create plant markers. An easy one that I love is to glue Scrabble tiles onto wooden steaks. Even the kids could do this!

Melissa Russo of The Farm Girl Gabs created these super-cute garden markers from letter tiles and paint stirring sticks. (Photography by The Farm Girl Gabs)

Our designers have created incredible outdoor projects for us through the years, and we’ve worked with some great home decor bloggers who amaze me every time with their ingenuity. What are some favorite things you would have in your dream garden?

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