3. Bring some noise. Hopefully your backyard has the sound of chirping birds and buzzing bees; if it doesn’t, incorporating some nature sounds will be good for your mind and soul. The sound of water is not only relaxing but can help mask traffic and other unwanted noise.
Big-budget landscape projects often incorporate water features, but you can enjoy the same benefits with a smaller, free-standng fountain. Margie Gracefashioned this glazed pot into one. Many nurseries sell the components or full kits to create fountains and ponds.
4. Add drapery for privacy, sun protection, softness and drama. Drapery panels are effective at softening the harsh rays of the sun as well as making your patio a bit more private and cozy. They’re also more flexible than shades, allowing you to shift them left to right as needed.
Use an indoor-outdoor fabric, such as Sunbrella, particularly for areas that are exposed to the elements. Also look for panels with weighted bottoms so they don’t blow into your barbecue if it’s a breezy day. You’ll need to anchor them to an overhead structure, like the underside of this patio overhang.
A Southern friend of mine introduced me to bottle trees, a favorite Southern garden ornament. Bottles are inserted on the branches of a dead tree or larger limbs tied together. According to folklore, the bottles capture bad spirits roaming in the night. Cobalt blue is the most sought-after bottle color, but green and other colors are popular too.
Author Felder Rushing wrote a book about bottle trees (Bottle Trees and the Whimsical Art of Garden Glass) and shares interesting historical backgroundabout the tradition.