Paradise. Subconsciously, we tend to infuse way too much glam and expectation into the word. According to Merriam-Webster, “paradise” is defined simply as “a place or state of bliss.” I encourage you to briefly ponder what the word means to you, then write it down or draw it out. Studies have shown that people who write their goals down are more likely to complete them than those who do not. Seeing is believing!
Your backyard paradise can be anything you want it to be. For me, I imagine lots of lush greeneries, evening lights, lounge chairs, and plenty of relaxation. To begin, keep in mind that your paradise will evolve and take time to finish, so the biggest step is just to start.
Here are some of my personal tips for creating a paradise in your own backyard:
Pick an item as a focal point. Look at your drawing or list and pick one item that you can either use or acquire today, and which will jumpstart your relaxing state of mind. My item was a large hammock. I had nothing to tie it to, but let me tell you, it felt great just having it and visualizing its potential!
Find the perfect spot for your item. Where in your backyard do you want this item to be? If you’re a self-proclaimed “handy-ma’am” like myself – build it! If not, either use a lifeline and phone-a-friend or hire some help. For my space, I built an arbor out of treated lumber with a trellis on top which will eventually guide a beautiful, vining, floral plant. Although I currently have no clue what to get, I can imagine staring up at it while I relax underneath in my cozy hammock.
Ground yourself. What do you want to feel under your feet? Whatever the material, visit your local landscaping material yard and test it out. This step is important as research shows our feet have sensory points that can affect our mental and physical health. Some of these benefits, through a process known as “earthing” (walking barefoot on natural surfaces), can reduce inflammation, increase antioxidants, and improve sleep. I started off with playground-grade wooden mulch, but ouch – no thank you! At the moment, I’m loving the way Mexican pebbles feel under my feet.
Sound is sight’s best friend. Your paradise may look like a dream but it may not sound like one if you live next to a busy street or near unpleasant noise; it’s important to create your own mental space. With today’s cell phone technology, plenty of convenient apps are available to choose from to provide ambient background music. If you prefer no sound at all, try using noise cancelling headphones.
Remember, creating paradise in your backyard will take time, but the key is making sure you enjoy each step along the way – and have fun with it!
Kim Manalansan is a freelance writer and mother of two