Fresh air or stuffy living room? The splash of waterfalls or the hum of a refrigerator?
Outside is just better.
If you peruse home and garden blogs, you've probably come across headlines proclaiming "Outside is the New Inside." The concept is simple: People are spending more time in their backyards, whether for hosting company or just relaxing after a long day. And they're styling their outdoor spaces accordingly.
Spending time outside obviously isn't a new idea. We've been designing and installing backyard paradises for 30 years. Homeowners, though, are starting to get more sophisticated in their tastes, bringing traditional indoor features like kitchens and seating areas out into the fresh air.
If you have a pond, you have all the more reason to make your yard a pleasant place to hang out. Why watch the fish from your window when you could sit right beside them?
Want to add some indoor coziness to your outdoor space? Start with these five tips:
1. Make Sure There's Plenty of Places to Sit
We're all for hikes and other outdoor activities that get your heart rate up, but sometimes you just need a space to kick up your feet.
Seating is the cornerstone of any comfy outdoor space - and you have lots of options when it comes to giving you and your guests a place to rest.
On the upscale end we have granite benches. These beautiful statement pieces not only provide seating but also add a touch of sophistication to any backyard paradise. Their heavy-duty craftsmanship ensures they hold up in any weather, meaning you don't have to worry about bringing them in during a storm (not that you could; they're heavy!)
Looking for something a little more portable? Why not add a few Adirondack chairs? These seats come in a variety of colors sure to fit any outside space, especially if you add in some decorative-but-comfy cushions. They offer a classy alternative to fold-up chairs and hold up better than wicker furniture. If you buy a set that's heavy-duty enough, you can even keep them outside year-round.
2. Add Lighting for Nighttime Enjoyment
No one wants to stop the party when the sun goes down.
Outdoor lighting ensures your space is hang-out ready any time of day or night, whether you're hosting a Saturday night party or simply want to enjoy a glass of wine outside after a late night at work.
Outdoor lighting comes in all shapes and sizes: little bullet lights, big spotlights, underwater lights, colored lights, string lights. If it's outside, you can find some way to light it up.
Our typical setup is pretty simple: a transformer, a splitter and a few LED lights. The kind of light depends on the application. A 1-Watt bullet light adds a perfect touch of accent lighting to a small waterfall or ornamental evergreen, while 3- and 6-Watt lights work great for illuminating an entire pond. You can stick with classic white lights, or you can experiment with color-changing lights - many of which let you pick one color or cycle through a rainbow of them.
3. Incorporate Eco-Friendly Design
Eco-friendly is in. From water-saving washing machines to energy-saving light bulbs, just about everything in your house can be made "green."
The same is true outside.
Backyard ponds are one of the most eco-friendly features you can add to your yard. The water attracts wildlife like frogs and turtles, while squirrels, chipmunks, birds, honeybees and butterflies enjoy the plants surrounding it.
By creating an environment for these animals, you offset some of the damage humans cause when they spread into natural habitats. The sounds of flowing water mask noises that otherwise disrupt animals' activity patterns, and your plants and pond add much-needed shelter for creatures that might otherwise have no place to go.
If you already have a pond, you can further your positive environmental impact by adding bird feeders, bat boxes and, of course, more plants. These features bring even more fun visitors to your yard, and look stylish to boot.
4. Don't Skimp on Decor
You wouldn't live in a house with no decorations. The little touches - from tchotchkes to small fountains - are key to making your outdoor spaces feel as homey as your indoor ones.
When it comes to outdoor decor, you want to pick features that will hold up to the elements while complementing the outdoor areas around them. Animal figures made from natural-looking stone add a cute decorative touch to a porch or pondside, for example, while sculptures made from upcycled metal look quirky without feeling out of place.
Do you have a tight space that needs a "wow" factor? Patio ponds and small fountains only take up a little room but pack a sensory punch with trickling water and beautiful design. These features require minimal maintenance and come in a multitude of styles and sizes, so you're sure to find one that fits your space.
5. Make It 'You'
Does your yard make you happy? Is it a place where you want to hang out?
If yes, you're doing everything right.
No matter what the design gurus say is "in," the most important aspect of any design is that it makes you happy. Do you like crazy colors? Go ahead and add those color-changing lights! Fantasy fan? We'll help you install a hobbit door under your waterfalls.
Our goal at Splash has always been to help people relax and reconnect with nature. Whatever your design tastes, we're here to do whatever it takes to make the kind of retreat you've always dreamed of. Not sure where to start? Our York, PA retail store and display garden has hundreds of ideas for your backyard oasis.