Thursday, June 9, 2016

Paradise Found

California is significantly more expensive than most of the rest of the country, but so far, I can't bring myself to consider living in another state. I would rather be in a tiny place somewhere here than in a mansion somewhere else (usually...). One thing I love about living in California is the weather and the sub-tropical foliage. We spend almost all of summertime reading, playing, and eating outside. The Central Coast gets chilly at night, or else we might sleep outside too. Few things are more wonderful than warm summer evenings, the smell of fresh fruit, warm water to wade in, the smell of night blooming jasmine, cold lemonade in your hand. 

When I daydream about my dream home, the backyard is always one of the clearest places in my mind's eye. There are a few key components that I'd love to have, which I'll detail below, along with pictures, of course.

First of all, constructed walls and flooring give the air of an intentional oasis. I like wild greenery, but I can go out into the wilderness or something if I want to be dirty (can you tell I never do? haha). I prefer contained wildness in my dream yard. So, there will be tiled floors and high, solid walls. I think the proper word may be "courtyard". If this yard were ever to become a reality, I wonder if brick or stained concrete would be more affordable and tile could be used as accents. Whitewashed brick for walls (1, 2) is a look I like that's appropriately non-pristine, but in looking at pictures, I might also need some patches of lattice bricks. The second picture below is my favorite flooring. This tile gets honorable mention too. (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

The second thing this oasis needs is a body of water. I'm not much into swimming, so a wading pool or a reflection pool would be perfect. It provides coolness without taking up a lot of room. Of course, the boys would love a pool and Jonas would love a pond, but for now, I get to make my dream rules up. ;) (sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

A daybed is a duh, and it needs to be shaded because heatstroke = not cool. Naturally, this begins to remind me that ideally, this yard also includes a Victorian greenhouse/sunroom/conservatory and a studio (1. 2. 3. 4, 5). 

If you're not sleeping outside, you should be lounging or eating outside. A long table would be best for dinner parties, don't you think? There are some beautiful outdoor or semi-outdoor restaurants that are inspiring too, like Hartwood or Commissary at the Line. Anything with a glass ceiling seems to draw my attention. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Outdoor showers are so luxurious, I definitely want one. At this point, with a bed, a table, and a shower outside, do I even need a house? Of all the yard fantasies I've had, I think the outdoor shower was the first. There is really a wealth of outdoor shower ideas on the internet, most of these source links have pictures of a bunch more. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

Most of my other dream yard details are decor or plant specifics. I'd love to have some rugs in various places, a beautiful door or gate separating different areas of the yard, and some overhead plant cover in some areas. Stained glass is beautiful outdoors as well. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Last but not least, I really enjoy plants in their own right. There's nothing better than a garden that is that is both beautiful and functional. I am partial to tropical plants and fruits, but most plants are welcome in my yard. ;) Making whatever-is-growing bouquets is one of my favorite things to do, and picking stuff and eating it is pretty awesome too. Also, I generally don't believe in mowing grass. Some specific trees I'd like: Mangoes, limes/keffir limes/finger limes, pink bananas, mountain apples (tropical), passion fruit, mangosteen. Flowers I'll need: jasmine, bougainvillea, orchids, wild roses, wisteria, chinese lantern flowers, bird of paradise, passionfruit vines, black magic elephant ears, ferns, moonlight caladiumRavenala madagascariensis, tapioca plantand lotuses. Not to mention herbs, veggies, berries, etc. 

I like this collage (on the right, above) of my 3 favorite pictures from this post. I think it gives a good sense of the vibe I'd most like to have in my yard.  Most of these pictures are saved on my Pinterest board called "Dream Yard". Lots more gorgeous stuff pinned over there if you want to look through it! What would you add to your dream yard? 

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