Outdoor Living Inspiration: How to Create a Mountain Retreat in Your Backyard

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Outdoor living spaces are becoming increasingly popular. The ability to spend more time outdoors in a comfortable and inviting space is attractive to homeowners. But how do you make the space feel like home? It may be easier than you think. From different backyard accessories to DIY landscape activities, a few simple projects can transform the backyard into a space that feels like a retreat.

Accessorize With a Fire Pit

Backyard accessories are easy add-ons to any yard, big or small. According to a recent survey from Pine Mountain, a fire pit is considered the number one backyard accessory, followed by water features. And if the fire pit is a trend now, I only see it becoming a larger trend in 2017. Adding a fire pit to your backyard can be as simple as purchasing one. However, if you prefer the look of a custom-made fire pit, you can hire a landscape architect or take the DIY route.

Before doing it yourself, I advise to first check your local building codes as some require that your fire pit be constructed of certain materials. Once the codes are checked, make sure you’re choosing a flat, level area to begin construction. Check out this helpful video showcasing how easy it is to start a fire at your next backyard gathering with the new Pine Mountain® ExtremeStart™ Firestarter. The ExtremeStart™ ignites the wood in your fire pit within minutes, allowing you to spend time with your friends and family instead of babysitting the fire.

Add Water Features

A backyard pond surrounded by plants and trees.

Along with a fire pit, adding nature-inspired pieces to your backyard can create the feel of a mountain retreat without leaving the comfort of your backyard. Water features such as small ponds or stone waterfalls can add a soothing element. Surprisingly, if you already know of a spot in your yard that is connected to running water, it's easier than most would expect to DIY a water feature. Ponds can be made by digging a hole and placing tarp down before adding your water and rock border. For a stone waterfall, you have free reign to choose stones that best fit the aesthetic you’re aiming for.

Another natural addition to your backyard is wooden furniture. While you want your outdoor furniture to be comfortable to escape to, I always suggest choosing pieces that blend in with your outdoor environment. Furniture that looks like it belongs in your living room tends to look out of place outdoors and is likely hard to maintain depending on weather conditions.

Landscape Upgrades

A stone walkway in a yard surrounded by flowers with a rustic birdhouse that ways "welcome."

As a last addition, you want to make sure your outdoor living space is just as inviting as the inside of your home. Simple, subtle landscape upgrades can be made to make guests feel welcome. My first suggestion is to add a walkway. Guests feel instantly greeted if there is a walkway leading into your backyard. If you do not already have one, laying down natural stone can help make it grand entrance. The walkway should lead to a gathering area, whether it's a fire pit or outdoor seating. This allows for a smooth transition into any outdoor gathering. To upgrade an existing walkway, you might be pleased to see what a power washing can do to a walkway as over time your stones can turn different colors. For a final touch, placing a trellis at the end of your walkway can act as a door that invites guests into your yard.

I recommend taking the time in late winter or early spring to complete your backyard upgrades so that your yard is ready for its debut once the hint of warmer weather hits.

Jason Cameron is a licensed home improvement contractor and host of DIY Network's "Desperate Landscapes," "Man Caves," and "Sledgehammer." Along with his passion for home improvement, Jason is an outdoorsman and sportsman. Jason has acted as a representative for many national brands and is currently a home expert for Pine Mountain.