Transform Your Backyard into a Vacationland

eHow Home Blog

Wouldn’t it be nice to go on a summer vacation without having to spend a lot of money and deal with all those travel plans? Luckily, you can create a vacationland in your own backyard — one you can travel to anytime you want. All you need to do is transform your garden into your favorite location.

With a little imagination and a willingness to use creative materials you can put together a themed garden that gives the impression that your landscape exists in a completely different locale. Tailor your choices so that your yard appears to be transplanted from Tuscany, England, the tropics or the Far East, but select plants and building materials that will do well where you actually live. That way, you create a convincing illusion without spending a lot of time and money on your vacationland.

Check out look-alike plants by matching pictures of flowers and leaves native to the vacation destination you want to recreate to those you can find at your local garden center. Not only can you use similar looking plants, but you can also add comfortable furniture, a stylish barbecue or outdoor kitchen, and interesting décor like sculptures to punch up the theme you’ve chosen.

For example, to create a tropical paradise design a yard the incorporates large-leafed plants, a waterfall, a thatched roof shade cover and even outdoor rattan furniture. Complete the look by adding some tiki torches, a woven-twig fence and some colorful blooming plants potted in large pieces of hollow cane.


Walk out your door and  into the Far East by designing a yard with pebbled pathways, neat gardens, a bamboo fountain and a cement sculpture of a lantern. Indulge in an ornamental potted bonsai or grow a shapely dwarf mugo pine to set the mood of an Asian retreat.

Design an English cottage garden complete with a white picket fence, a decorative archway, colorful roses and flowering plants potted in big, Tudor-style pots. Ramble vines look very English when climbing up a colorful trellis. You can even plant an herb garden in a symmetrical design or place a formal fountain in your front entry to achieve the English cottage garden of your wanderlust dreams.

Travel to the American Southwest by creating a garden filled with cacti and succulents. Add a tiered fountain and walkways paved with clay tiles to give your yard an authentic Southwestern feel. Paint a stucco wall a brilliant color, add gravel ground-cover and accessorize your yard with wagon wheels or large rocks.

If you want your own Mediterranean retreat, plant palms and colorful shrubs in your garden and fill in the empty spaces around the roots with decomposed granite. An Italian fountain, terra cotta pots overflowing with trailing plants and bold sunflowers complete your Mediterranean haven.

By using look-alike techniques and the right garden accessories, you can transform your backyard into any location in the world. Then, you can just step outside whenever you want to get away and relax.

Photo credits: Jane Gates

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