Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mermaids of The Lake and GardenStone

Well then. We have been asked to write an article for The Mermaids of the Lake on outdoor living. The way I see it, that is what I do for a living is bringing the indoors outside. We create living space outdoors, so it only made sense to write about what we know.

In our many adventures around the Northwest we hike, hike, and then hike some more. One of our favorite hikes is up streams; literally we walk up the stream as far as we are able, soaking in all of what nature has put in our path. We sit as a family and listen, breathe and just “B”, at one with the surroundings, at one with the water and most importantly at one with nature.

This can be recreated in a smaller scale in one’s back yard, transforming a once flat ground or fence line into an oasis of serenity. The soothing sounds and calming effects of water are endless in their ability to transform your day from hectic to holistic in mere moments. A cup of coffee, a laptop and a rock patio while sitting next to a flowing stream will invigorate beyond what can be written on paper.

For those of you that have had the pleasure of camping by a stream, far from anyone but your family, you will remember waking before anyone else, starting the campfire and just listening to the sounds around you. This amazing experience can be yours daily, a crisp August morning mingling with the sounds of nature is an unrivaled by anything but what is found in backwoods of the Northwest.

Add now, if you will, a rockscape made to look like a path hammered out of stone by hundreds of years of wildlife walking to get their morning spell of sustenance. Here is where you place your outdoor lounge, surrounded by seating boulders that ring a campfire pit. Now you have taken an outdoor paradise and moved it to the realm of entertainment. No television, no traffic, just friends and family sitting with you and enjoying a meal of skewered meat cooked over an open campfire. What do you do next, you ask yourself. Here is an idea. Run into the house; grab the graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate, and in this day of text, email and meals from a box, you share, live, love and laugh. What a wonderful way to spend an evening! All in your own back yard. If you enjoy entertaining, you now have become a gathering place of the neighborhood.

You may, at this point, be asking yourself, what do you do with a big pile of rocks? Well here is where the backyard owner can get really creative. Boulders beg for color, do they not? Let your creativity be your guide. Flowering succulents need little attention and are great for adding a splash of color amongst their hard pan neighbors. Now how about a little movement? Tall growing prairie grasses can, in the slightest of breezes, create an illusion of grandeur in the smallest of spaces. Creative seating colors can be an amazing addition to any set of outdoor furniture

Now bring the wildlife I say! Well placed humming bird feeders made from glass sculptures will be sure to attract those amazing aviary delights. A well placed birdbath stone will attract more of the feathered fare. And yet another well placed bird feeder metal sculpture will bring the rest.

For those of you who have not had the experience of feeding a school of Koi, a properly designed pond at the base of your waterfalls will give you countless hours of relaxation, and wonder, as you feed a small group of red and white marvels that depend on you daily. You will soon find that you will become dependent on them as well!

So what are you ready for? No matter how small or large your backyard space is, it can be transformed. With a little creativity and a budget no bigger than a new hot tub, you can create a small rapture for yourself and your loved ones that can rival a million dollar estate. Many times I have asked customers that have a hot tub, “How many times a week do you use your spa”? Invariably the answer is once or twice a week. How many times a week do you feel you would escape the hectic pace of life by stepping into your own back yard retreat? I’m just sayin’………