What makes you feel like you’re on a relaxing vacation? Is it the sound or sight of water? The sun on your skin? Maybe a few hours of uninterrupted reading time? Or is it simply a color, like light blue?
That’s exactly what these outdoor living experts aim to find out when they begin designing with a new client. While most folks designing a new outdoor space want a relaxing, secluded sanctuary in their backyard, “it’s more a question of personal taste and style,” explains Frank Vitori, co-owner of AquaBlu Mosaics, “as one’s idea of a relaxing getaway may differ from another’s.” So, to evoke an oasis feel, the client’s own preferences must come first.
“Do they want a resort feel? A calming Zen vibe?” asks Mitch Kalamian, landscape consultant at Solena Landscape, “or a tropical paradise? How will they use the space? I ask a lot of questions,” he says. Here are some ways these experts have created oases in their clients’ own backyards.
“Lush is the key term here,” says Kalamian, explaining that he designs his garden spaces to feel cozy, and uses plants that attract pollinators like butterflies and hummingbirds. He prefers to use other soothing elements like water features and fire features.
Kalamian creates vignettes for his clients, like a comfy spot to read a book while listening to the sound of running water, “or a hammock under the shade of a tree to take an afternoon nap,” he says. To create your own vignette, picture yourself in the space to see how you’ll utilize it.
“We always suggest earth tones,” says John Schlosser, director of sales and marketing at Enclave Outdoor Structures. Enclave creates sturdy outdoor buildings that offer high-end living space separate from your home, whether you’re looking for a studio space, an at home office, or, their most popular use, an oasis. “That’s the biggest reason people do this,” says Schlosser. “To create that peace and tranquility in their lives.”
If you’re creating a peaceful, relaxing space, he emphasizes the importance of using your space the way you originally intended. If you use the space sometimes as storage, or sometimes to work, it’ll never be that true oasis you envisioned.
“The term “oasis” refers to creating a space of tranquility and peace in the midst of chaos,” says Vitori. As a pool professional, he knows a thing or two about creating relaxing spaces. AquaBlu Mosaics specializes in pool tiles, which Vitori says, in a backyard centered around a relaxing pool, “are the finishing touch and perhaps the most influential factor in the visual aspect of your oasis.” Now trending, glass tiles give an especially iridescent and whimsical look, says Vitori, while pure white porcelain tiles “create the brightest Caribbean-like water color.”
Water features can play an essential role in setting a calming tone, both visually and audibly. “Waterfalls, spillways, and fountains all create natural and peaceful background noise,” says Vitori.
“Life’s short. If you can find an oasis that enhances your life,” says Schlosser, then you should capitalize on that opportunity. Whatever creates that sanctuary feeling for you, make sure you use the space mindfully—enjoying your time there and focusing on what you need to appreciate not only your oasis, but the other elements of your life, too aquablumosaics.com, enclaveoutdoor.com, solenalandscape.com