A backyard oasis provides many of the things that an oasis in the desert provides. It distinguishes from the rest of the landscape with vertical impact. It provides the lush surroundings of vegetation, and the calming presence of water. Most importantly, it represents a place for a tired mind and body to rest after the journey of a long hard day.
Obviously we do not have desert conditions on our local Houston landscape. Quite the opposite, we have one of the most humid climates in the country. However, the basic elements of a backyard oasis can be the same as those you see in the desert.
The main body of water can be a natural pond surrounded by rocks of various sizes. Ponds like this can be strictly ornamental, or they can be swimming pools built to look like natural ponds. On properties with large trees, our designers try to build these ponds close to the trees without disturbing root systems. If there are no large trees present, they can be trucked in and planted around the pond.
Adding a waterfall generates movement and sound. The size of the waterfall can actually set the tone for the entire scene. If you want to block out the sounds of the world, have us build you a large falls that fills the mind with the rushing of water.
If you want something more subtle that lends itself to tranquility, a small stream that pours gently over rocks can create a Zen-like effect, especially if it flows over gravel punctuated by larger rocks jutting out above its surface.
Many different plants can be grown in a backyard oasis such as this. Grasses can outline the water’s edge and mingle with rock and gravel. Shade resistant flowering plants can add color in various places. Varying shades of green with all sorts of hedges and shrubs that each contributes its own unique geometry to the scene.
Seating can take the form of anything you find comfortable. Some people are content to sit on a flat boulder. Others prefer to have a concrete bench or some type of weather resistant garden furniture. One interesting feature we have built for several clients is a retaining seat wall. It mimics the side of a natural hill, but it has a small ledge jutting out that you can sit on and stretch your feet toward the water.
Regardless of your seating preferences, one thing absolutely essential to your backyard oasis is total privacy. The outside world should seem far removed and distant so you can forget about your problems the moment you step down to the water. The best way to create this is with a wall of trees or shrubs that stands above eye level and blocks visibility from both directions.
Pathways leading in and out of your backyard oasis should also be concealed by building them so that they cut into the tree wall at an angle and curve back on themselves as they take you into the interior.
This way, no one can look into your private paradise–not even from the pathway entrance.
Just take a few quick steps from your back door, and you will be in a world of your own, out of place, out of time, and out of touch with all the things you choose to leave behind.