Designing A Backyard Sanctuary

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By Holly Lange, Visitor Center Ambassador

Living in Stapleton since 2004, I’ve seen a wide variety of beautiful backyards that are packed with character, charm and function … which meant my husband and I had more than enough inspiration when the time came to create our own outdoor-living space. We wanted the Aspen trees we saw across the alley and a patio like the one we saw at a SWAG (Stapleton Wine Appreciation Group) event. And then we had to have some groupings of planters like those we saw while walking Barley, our dog. For furniture, we wanted something like what we saw at the HGTV Green Home down the street, or the compact dining set we saw outside one of the condos near the town center. And then there was the lighted water feature we saw at another SWAG event …

So, last fall, it began. We decided to do a poured concrete patio with enough space for a sofa, table and chairs, and a little barbeque (although my “room plan” didn’t really take shape until April). New Aspen trees lined the side of the patio along the fence – while providing a little privacy, they also make a wonderful sound in the breeze. We have a nice quiet street, but in any urban environment, it’s nice to have some sounds of nature and water. The birds and the trees provide that free of charge.

For a little more “sound,” I decided to add a water feature to the back corner because plants never really liked it there anyway. As a professional stager, I’ll tell you that sometimes you just need to try to work with what your yard wants, rather than force it. I found a fountain at a garden center that looked like an old log – not really my style, but the sound of it was wonderful! It was perfect because the water fell straight down into a small pool, and there was a clever little sponge at the top that made the water fall smoothly in a sheet.

This little fountain was small but mighty. Plus, I’m not sure how much it weighed, but it took three guys to load it into my car, and my husband and I just barely got it into place without breaking toes. I added two tall, modern-looking planters to either side to hide some of the “rustic feel.” I loved it, but it still felt a little light back there. I wanted a “wow” factor because you can see this back corner from inside the house. So I grabbed the tag from the fountain and hit the internet. I found another model that looked like the first but sat lower and had two waterfalls. I called a few garden centers and found one that was about to place a new order – perfect! This one took four guys to load into the car. The combined tri-waterfall is our new focal point, and it makes me want to linger outside even more.

The furniture was another fun challenge of hitting a number of sources and finding things that were just the right fit. Our sectional fits perfectly in a little space that wraps around the porch because we opted for an armless section on the right side. The wall below the porch serves as an arm, and with the throw pillows in the corner, it feels like everything was custom made for the space. Next year, we even hope to add a vegetable garden to the space behind our garage!

How have you made the most of your backyard? Or if you’re buying a new home, what will you add to your new space? Email me your ideas and finished results!

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