Your Yard as a Staycation Resort

Darin Engh, from Engh Gardens, shows us some ways to create a resort feel in your own yard.

Do you long for an escape that doesn’t require making travel plans or hassling with itineraries? And what if you could go there every weekend or even every day? Escaping can be as easy as preparing a meal with fresh ingredients and settling into the privacy of your own patio this evening. The secret to making your backyard your favorite vacation destination lies in just a few practical design tips. Whether your whole backyard is your getaway or you have just a tiny corner to escape to, there are three key elements that go into every backyard retreat: A sense of privacy, a beckoning destination and lots of sensory pleasures to keep you there.


It’s hard to relax if you know you’re on display. Of course, it’s hard to come by total privacy – there will always be a car driving by, a neighbor looking out the window or even an airplane flying overhead. But there are ways to increase your privacy, no matter where you live. To start, look around you garden for the most secluded spot. Maybe it’s a side yard that rarely gets used, or perhaps the space behind your garage or tool shed. It may even be underneath a second-story deck. No matter where it is or what it looks like now, the important thing is to start with a spot that’s as isolated as possible. If you simply don’t have a place that qualifies as private, there are other ways to create this privacy.

• Hedges, fences, and walls are the first tools to use.

o Surround a small patio with large shrubs and lush foliage to create a cozy, intimate feel. Hedges provide privacy and also a windbreak.

o Flowering and scented hedges are delightful.

• An overhead canopy is essential to a sense of privacy, but rarely do you want a complete canopy.

o One of the best ways to get a canopy is with branches of a tree. Trees provide more than privacy. They keep you cool in summer, host entertaining birds and cast interesting shadows on the ground. And they bring flowers and beautiful foliage into your yard, too.

o But not everyone is lucky enough to have a full-grown tree or two in the backyard. When you’re under a gazebo, pergola or even an umbrella, you feel as if you’re in a separate room.


Make yourself comfortable outside; your outdoor room should be inviting and useful, a place to laze around and enjoy life. Choose furniture that fits in with the style of your outdoor space. Find unique furniture, colorful throw pillows and soft rugs.

• Lounges are the perfect places to unwind. A matching ottoman lets you kick up your feet and relax. Add a side table and your favorite book will always be within reach.


The perfect getaway…once your there, how do you make it a place you want to stay? You need to appeal to all of your senses. Beautiful colors, soothing sounds and pleasant fragrances.

• CONTAINERS Adding flowers and foliage to your outdoor decorating plans is a great way to add a punch of color and lots of interest.

o Color – hot colors, such as orange, red and yellow, tend to be energizing. Cool colors, such as blue, green and purple, are more soothing. Choose a color scheme that appeals to you.

o Fragrant Flowers – because they tend to be protected from the wind, secluded getaways are perfect for fragrant plants. There the perfume can linger longer. Place a fragrant container near the entrance for a sweetly scented welcome..


o Water – Water adds another dimension to a garden. It’s a great way to enliven a restricted area and make it more interesting. Moving water is one of the most soothing sounds you can have in your garden. Moving water gurgles and rushes, drowning out the sound of traffic and heightening the sense of a lush paradise. Water is the ultimate element to help you relax and unwind: its soothing noise and the play of light on its surface give a great feeling of peace. A fountain provides gentle splashing sounds.


o Lighting can transform an outdoor space into a magical Arcadia or a mysterious underworld. And, of course, it extends the time you can enjoy and use your garden: when you’re forced to stay inside on winter evenings, a beautifully lit outside space provides a great backdrop. When the weather is warm, you can linger outside long into the night.


o Sculpture and other artworks look superb in a garden and give the space an edge. You could choose something that links with your indoor style. A sculpture can provide a focal point at the end of a vista or one could be use as a surprise element around a corner.

o Give your garden its own its own individual style with a few well-chosen accessories.

For more information, you can visit Darin at Engh Gardens in Sandy, or online at

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