Whether you live in a country of perennial spring, or the cold days are awaiting at the end of the fall, there’s still plenty of time to enjoy outdoor living. One of the best places for that is your garden, whether it’s a sprawling lawn behind your country house or a yard behind your suburban home. In any case, it has a vast potential to become your everyday escape as well as the favorite spot for entertaining friends or family. Here are several ways you can turn your backyard into a relaxation oasis.

Define different activity zones

Before you embark on the design process, try to visualize what you would like to use the space for. Do you see yourself eating out there regularly? Are you looking to create more of a quiet retreat and a place to read a book? Or an ultimate entertainment space to enjoy with your friends and family, complete with a toddler trampoline, play area and designated parent zone? Perhaps it’s a little bit of all of the above. It’s important to write everything down, and use that list as a springboard for your patio design. If everything you’ve envisioned doesn’t fit on the patio itself, consider creating other backyard rooms for different uses.

Built a treehouse for grown-ups

If there’s a shed in your backyard, which you use for something more creative than housing gardening implements, do both yourself and the shed a favor and transform it into a playhouse for adults. Before your mind gets dirty, the idea is to convert a storage shed into a sort of an outdoor room for hosting dinners, throwing poker games, and celebrating special events long into the night after the kids have gone to sleep. After you free the space of clutter and give it a thorough cleaning, give it a fresh coat of paint and some wall décor. Bring in shelves and the sitting area, which you can bind together with a beautiful outdoor rug.

Create a backyard island

Imagine that you could transport yourself to a tropical paradise every time you step outside. Instead of waiting for technology to make that happen, consider claiming a patch of your backyard further from the house for your private tropical island. Contribute to Bora Bora feeling with coordinated teak furniture, straw awnings, and a comfortable hammock. Apart from basic ultralight models, now you can easily find hammocks with mosquito nets and rain covers, in case the monsoon season comes early. Complete the theme with pebbled ground cover, tiki-torches and lots of plant life.

DIY a low-maintenance water feature

This project is going to be interesting for homeowners who know their way with basic tools, if not, maybe search online for renovation quotes. The basis for this backyard fountain is a stone from which the water flows out into a gravel-filled reservoir below, and circulates back up through the rock aided by a small pump.

You can either find a rock that comes pre-drilled at a local stone supplier or drill the hole through it yourself with a rotary hammer drill. Such a fountain requires very little maintenance because it doesn’t require a collection pond, which easily becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos. By placing it in a shade you can curb the algae growth and keep the water fresher.

Include a modern-luxe lounge

Just because it’s in the backyard, your outdoor haven shouldn’t be deprived of luxury. Pick a neutral décor palette that feels fresh and calming, and focus on three main areas that add on the style – warm lighting, lush greenery, and plenty of cozy throw pillows and blankets. A statement piece like a chandelier can pull the whole look together, while pillows and throws in pretty textures and prints can highlight the wooden furniture.

Install lighting

Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

When the evening falls on your garden retreat you have two options – either you’ll do a little stargazing before retreating inside, or continue the show later into the evening by relying on mood-friendly lighting options. Patio string lights are a romantic detail that works well with almost any patio style, however, if it doesn’t work for you due to the position of outlets case of the island retreat described above, a pair of porch lights or solar lanterns can make you never want to have dinner inside again.

The patio and garden design ideas listed here don’t include your standard plastic and wicker furniture and ready-made umbrella table setups. Through unique approaches that sometimes include straw awnings, chandeliers and décor typically reserved for indoor sitting rooms, you can build your little paradise just a few steps from your back door.