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How to Create an Outdoor Oasis Right in Your Backyard

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Adobe Stock / Iriana Shiyan

Three local experts share their best tips for creating an outdoor oasis that makes your Westchester home feel like paradise.

“The sound of water brings serenity to the outdoor space; it almost creates a zone or a room in a sense. I think of the back of the house as a garden more than a backyard. I create spaces where the hardscape, the grass, and the planting beds form outdoor rooms. Falling water, flowering climbing plants, and vines (with or without grapes) are elements that add enchantment, ambience, and peace to the outdoor rooms. This is the way I add serenity to my own home and for my clients.”
—Bana Choura,
Choura Architecture PC

“As we entertain more outdoors, we’re seeing requests for adjustable lighting like what we’d include on the interior of a home. This includes sconces for soft illumination and toe lights to indicate shifts in the decking at stairs and landings, along with power outlets near seating for easy charging. [We’ve also seen demand for] rechargeable lanterns and lamps from Fermob. Available in a broad range of colors, these products offer a stylish alternative to wired lighting or candles, and they add visual interest to outdoor living spaces.”
—Scott Hirshson,
Hirshson Architecture + Design

“I like to blur the lines from indoors to outdoors. I start by laying the foundation. Whether it’s a beautifully patterned hardscape or a large-scale, colorful outdoor rug, giving your space definition allows the eye to find the focal points. Once you’ve got that, the sky’s the limit! Comfortable, easy-to-maintain seating is a must. Also, make sure you have quality shading; the latest cantilevered umbrellas really get the job done. Finally, don’t be afraid to add those layered details the same way you would inside: Lighting, art, comfy pillows, and throws will bring the whole family outdoors and encourage them to stay.”
—Elissa Grayer,
Elissa Grayer Interior Design