4 Ideas for an Affordable Backyard Oasis

by Eva Marienchild
Ideas for an Affordable Outdoor Oasis photo

You don’t need to leave home to escape. Create a backyard oasis that both you and your budget will love with one of these ideas.

Want to save time and money while still enjoying the peace and tranquility that is usually encountered on trips aboard?

It’s perfectly doable if you simply reframe your thinking! Here are a few ways to plan and create a backyard that you’ll want to escape to time and time again. And there’s no need to hop on an airplane to get there.

Does this sound too good to be true? It is until you make it happen!

A watery oasis

Do you have a few sizable rocks in your backyard? Turn them into inexpensive ponds! Pinterest has a wide selection of what the end-result might look like.

You will need a few plumbing supplies, but fear not. A pond-building project doesn’t require an inordinate amount of plumbing savvy. In fact, just about anyone can create a pond with the right tools. A basic project requires a shovel, of course, and a liner. For lovely gurgling, running water, things get a little more complicated, but it is still doable.

Find a spot surrounded by large rocks or tree stumps for definition (and privacy). Start digging or “excavating” in a spot right in the middle, until you have a hole about the size of a small, inflatable pool like the kind used for babies and dogs on a hot day. As a caution, before digging, you’ll need to call 811 to prevent yourself from hitting any utility lines.

Next, remove all sharp rocks, so as not to rip the liner. Once you’ve dug a hole, add your waterproof liner. Bring your garden hose to the center and start filling the pond.

Want freshly pumped water? You’ll find plenty of tutorials online.

To make your pond truly “tropical,” place decorative planters about the area and add colorful foliage that can also be used as a divider. Visit your local nursery and pick up a few flowers that catch your eye. It’s important to make this spot your kind of beautiful!

Position a lounge chair that both shelters you from observers and calms you. Add goldfish, if you wish, and pretty pebbles and smaller rocks.

If you’re not going to have fresh water pumped, remember to keep your pond clean. Manually drain and refill it once a week. You don’t want your pond water turning stagnant as this attracts mosquitoes.


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A bird and butterfly oasis

Nature is a healer. Why not forge a connection with the wildlife in your area?

Start by attracting birds with bird feeders. Remember to place your feeders snugly amidst greenery and never too near your home, as this will scare birds. With time, as the birds get to know you and your feeding schedule, they’ll venture closer. By then, you will probably be able to toss some millet and sesame seeds into a hanging plant that is close to your back door. Make sure the plant is not something very delicate, as squirrels will also be sure to hop on board.

Plant passion flowers to serve as an invitation to butterflies. As caterpillars, the pre-butterflies will devour the leaves. When caterpillars have wrapped themselves into silky cocoons and are ready to emerge with their radical new look, the caterpillar-turned-butterfly will remember the spot where it found such goodies and delicately land in the vicinity to flutter its wings, enchanting you in the process.

An outdoor office oasis

Turn an old shed into a getaway bedroom or even an office.

If you’ve got a rusty old shed out back, make the most of it. Scrape, spackle, and paint the shed your favorite color. Place a trellis nearby and let jasmine, ivy and passionflower unfurl scented tendrils onto the shed’s frame. These plants are ambitious climbers. You’ll have a flower-covered shed in a few seasons. If you’ll be sleeping in your new getaway, add a pallet (a straw mattress) or futon.

Wallpaper the walls and bring in a small ergonomic chair if you’ll be working. Why ergonomic? You don’t want to incur back pain with all the hours you’ll spend sitting in your idyllic new office, listening to the tranquil sounds of birds chirping outside.

A fruit-filled oasis

Every time you eat a piece of fruit, plant a tree. This includes Japanese plums if these trees thrive in your climate. If they don’t, find fruit that will do well in your corner of the world. Even in the frozen Arctic, trees, shrubs, and bushes grow. Your little oasis will be no exception.

It’ll take a year or so for a sizable sprout to bloom, but years go by quickly. Before you know it, you’ll be surrounded by orange, lemon, and grapefruit sproutlings, all offering a whimsical touch of greenery, a landing pad for your butterflies, and, soon enough, scrumptious, organic fruit.

As you relax in your lounge, listening to the water trickle down the stones, you’ll enjoy the butterflies flitting about and you’ll chuckle at the squirrels hopping on and off of rocks. You’ll feel as if you’ve traveled thousands of miles, and relishing the fact that you haven’t, you’ll be tempted to join your cardinals, chickadees, robins, and even the occasional blue jay in singing a heartfelt song of glee.

Reviewed March 2021

About the Author

Eva Marienchild is a health, home and life skills wordsmith, artist and voice actor who seeks to segue her skills into forums which are of help to the most people.

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