Last week I met with a client whose landscaping was recently completed. As we sat poolside in the shade of an umbrella, he told me, "this is my favorite place in the world. I just step outside and I'm on vacation." Who was I to disagree?
Even if we're not attempting to recreate Bali in our backyard, don't we landscape in hopes of making a destination for ourselves, a getaway that's more "get" than "away"? I've got kids to adore, I've got a business to run, I don't have the time or the money to hop on a plane to visit a better life. Even on the hottest days, the thought of driving to the beach gives me pause: who wants to pack, schlep, do battle with the general public on crowded freeways and busy beaches, finally arriving just in time to turn around?
But when I can step outside my back door and be transported to another place or time, now that's luxury.
When I can't wait to sit poolside in the shade of an umbrella… when my favorite childhood memories return, prompted by a scent… when I feel my pulse slow, watching clouds at sunset… I have the luxury of truly relaxing. When the fragrance of star jasmine wafts into my bedroom at night… when I can invite friends over and grill an amazing, impromptu meal in my outdoor kitchen… when the butterflies waft around my face while I enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning sun… then I've got not just a yard, but a destination.
Best of all, it's not just one destination, it's several. It's a space for my alone time. It's a space for my children and me to play. It's a space to indulge my senses, and a space to retreat to when my senses are on overload. It changes with the seasons, delighting me with surprises even as it soothes me with its predictable constants.
There are practical aspects, too. Every dollar that I invest in my yard is a dollar I don't need to spend on airfare, or room tariffs, or waitstaff gratuities. My travel time is zero. No jet lag, no language barrier, no cultural adjustments needed. Also, no chance of sellouts, blackouts, overbookings or lost reservations. In my garden, I am always welcome.
We think of a resort vacation as an indulgence. Yet the most indulgent act of all might be staying home, and taking a holiday in our very own backyard.