Transform a Space into an Outdoor Oasis

Next year, the Southern Living Idea House will be transformed into our own bed and breakfast. With that in mind, we are busy planning and preparing to create a quaint and cozy atmosphere for all our future guests.

In order to give our guests a getaway within their getaway, we decided to add special features to the garden that will guarantee each guest rest and relaxation. The idea was to complete a soothing oasis featuring a serene pond and waterfall. On site will be three guest houses, each a darling depiction of aSouthern Living dream home. I could live in these year round! Adjacent to these luxurious guest houses is where you will find the soothing sounds of our waterfall trickling into its pond. Here are some tips for creating your own oasis, which we immediately applied at the Southern Living Idea House:

Three Tips for Creating an Outdoor Oasis:

1. Establish an entryway.

Make sure that guests know they are in for a treat as soon as they lay eyes on the main entrance to their intimate getaway. Even in a small space like the one we worked with, we flanked the sidewalk with mini boxwood parterre gardens using the Southern Living Plant Collection’s ‘Baby Gem’ Boxwood. These parterres will transition easily with the seasons when you add annual color. In order to create height in the space, we used Amistad salvia, also from the Southern Living Plant Collection, in the center. Not only do these perennials come back year after year, but the hummingbirds absolutely love them! As guests make their way into this hidden hideaway, there will be two small benches on either side ushering them in and inviting them to stay awhile. 

2.  Create an eye-catching focal point.

In a small space like this, it’s nice to give your guests a captivating scene that grabs their attention and ties the whole space together. This can easily be achieved with the help of container gardens. We grouped three containers and filled them with Queen Mum™ Agapanthus. This gave the space some additional height, while grounding the containers. For a finishing touch, we under planted with Rosemary, Angelina sedum, and Trailing Rosemary. 

3. Continuity is the key!

To help anchor the space we used four tulip poplars, which act as the garden’s bones, but also create a shady, cool area when leafed out. Under the tree, we planted the new and improved Southgate™ Grace™ Rhododendron, which are heat tolerant and thrive in the Deep South. They really come to life in the spring, growing to about 4-6 feet tall. We completely flushed the garden with these beauties, counting on their evergreen foliage to create continuity throughout the space year round.

These simple steps will help you transform any outdoor area into an oasis that will entice your guests into an extended stay!