Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

September 30, 2014

Creating an outdoor room

I treat my backyard as another room in my house. I spend time there, in addition to gardening and relaxing, doing some physical therapy exercises, which I have been doing for over ten years. I like the idea of an *outdoor room*. Done correctly, it's a cozy, inviting space. But I've seen some *outdoor rooms* that just don't work. Here are some stray thoughts:

• Use outdoor furniture. Not furniture that looks good in a catalog, or a showroom. Furniture that can be left outside, in the rain, and in the sun. I've seen furniture in backyards that obviously hasn't been used in years, they're either covered with dust and cobwebs, or the cushions have gotten all moldy. It probably looked good the first day it was all set up, but that's all! The chaise lounge there is a plain aluminum one from Target, and the table next to it is plastic, probably from K-Mart. By the way, the arm protectors are made from pool noodles.

• Install artificial turf. Real grass rarely works well underfoot, and it requires endless maintenance. And tile, or stone, or concrete, surfaces are just awful for lounging around. I've had artificial turf here for over seven years, and it's the best thing I've done.

• Surround yourself with plants, and flowers. My backyard is a tiny space, but at least I'm not just looking at walls and dirt. If all you have is walls and dirt, I guess I can't blame you for not hanging out in your backyard.

So that's my outdoor room. As you can see, I do my yoga stretches there, along with napping. I don't leave the yoga mat, or the roller, outside, but if I did forget to bring them in, it wouldn't be a disaster. This is a wonderful, intimate space, perfect for reading (actually I usually just listen to audiobooks).

It's late September here in the Phoenix, Arizona area, and we're about to get about six months of what I call *Chamber of Commerce weather*, the nicest to be found on planet earth. Excuse me, I'm going to go back outside and enjoy a little bit of it now. Maybe I'll do some stretches, or maybe I'll just lounge around!
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