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Backyard Moments to Cherish

Backyard Moments to Cherish

As a designer I often have the rewarding task to transform a backyard into a getaway oasis. In this hectic pace of everyday life many of us are looking for a way to wind down and relax in our own garden when we come home; no need to drive anywhere, just sit down, breathe, let the day go and enjoy.

One of the goals when creating a relaxing backyard atmosphere is to screen out unwanted sights and sounds. This is a relatively easy task when working with a medium to large size property but it can become quite challenging when dealing with a small space in a noisy environment surrounded by homes “looking” at the visitor with their windows.

When searching for ways to screen out unwanted noises I often resort to water features. Even though the water sounds are usually not as loud as the noise we are trying to eliminate from our yard experience, the proximity of the waterfall will draw the ear to its soothing sound.

To accommodate the little-to -no-maintenance requirements of today’s clients I often suggest a pondless water feature, complete with remote control to turn it on and off. Pondless means there is no water basin with standing water when turned off. The feature itself can be anything from a very natural rock waterfall to a contemporary steel wall with stainless steel blade fountains or a shishi-odoshi Japanese bamboo water fountain.

In similar ways one can de-emphasize unwanted vistas by planting one or more trees to screen out prominent windows of neighbouring homes without hiding the whole house. Some low lying unwanted sights like roads and commercial buildings can be eliminated from sight by placing privacy panels in strategic locations.

There are many types of features incorporated in a backyard layout which serve different purposes, but they all have something in common: they have to suit the space and theme of the yard and blend into this outdoor living space seamlessly to create a harmonious feeling – an achievement of good design. Too often one sees individual features dominating an area or scattered around the yard without cohesiveness or any sense of balance.

backyardThe design principles ‘Form’ and ‘Function’ go hand in hand with ‘Unity’ and ‘Balance’. Interestingly as sensitive human beings we feel when the design elements in a backyard have come together in harmony making us feel comfortable and relaxed.