What makes a good book? For many readers, the literature must capture their minds and take them to distant lands. If it makes them born again into formerly unfamiliar characters and evokes gut-wrenching emotions, then it was well worth the read. There are a number of novels that elicit that highly sought-after travel-by-reading sensation, and we've listed a few noteworthy ones here to incorporate in your backyard design. By channeling themes from your favorite stories, you can create a perfect - even magical - outdoor reading space. Check out these ideas:
'The Secret Garden'
Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden" dates back to 1910, but it is still a beloved children's book read and performed on stage today. That's because its themes of wonder, curiosity and secrets are just as relevant and enchanting as they were a century ago. For homeowners aiming to channel this theme into their backyard, they can create a garden that sparks the same enchantment as this classic children's tale.
The most important part in this project is to create privacy. Surrounding the garden with retaining walls or tall plants like bamboo or hedges. Of course, a combination of the two delivers a nice variety that gives you more room for creativity. HGTV offered some suggestions for filling in the details, noting that vines, a fruit tree and cottage-type flowers are perfect for creating "The Secret Garden" ambiance.
Make this garden really spectacular by emphasizing the entryway. Whether you opt for a stone pergola or a stunning archway, drape the feature with flowers and vines and include a path for garden visitors to follow.
'Pride and Prejudice'
A romantic tale for the ages, the back-and-forth love affair between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet is enough to make any 19th century maiden swoon. And with the rolling picturesque meadows and towering stone mansions, the setting provided in "Pride and Prejudice" paints the perfect fairytale story that, as it so happens, would look great in your outdoor living space.
To channel this Jane Austen classic into your backyard design, simply pull from the same sources of inspiration the famed author used to pen her well-known novel. Wentworth Woodhouse is a great place to start. According to Forbes, the enormous country house purportedly served as the muse for Mr. Darcy's Pemberley Estate. Nestled on 85 acres of land in West Riding of Yorkshire in Northern England, Wentworth Woodhouse is nothing short of elegant. Perhaps most striking, though, is the sprawling green lawn that acts as a runway of sorts leading to the mansion. While foliage in the garden varies, Wentworth Woodhouse is known for its long-standing stone statues.
A romantic courtyard is perfect for a "Pride and Prejudice" backyard.
Incorporating hardscape features in your own backyard is a great way embody the "Pride and Prejudice" atmosphere in your outdoor design. For instance, placing a water fountain amid a bountiful garden gives the structure a hidden, secret feel that not only mimics Wentworth Woodhouse's outdoor space but also channels a bit of that Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet romance. A pergola set up over a custom patio detached from the house also gives that isolated yet idyllic ambiance.
Of course, don't forget about the lawn. The flat, lush field looks like an extension of Wentworth House, and installing artificial grass that stays green year-round can do that for your own home. It also provides the perfect place to lay out a blanket and crack open a good book.
'The Great Gatsby'
According to Houzz, when you consider the "The Great Gatsby" style, you're actually thinking of art deco - the look of sharp angles, oblong shapes and zigzags so popular during the 1920s and '30s. To create the ultimate reading space in your backyard, pick up these features in your outdoor design. For instance, if you make a reading corner on your custom patio, don't settle for just some comfy furniture and pillows. Kick the look up a notch by incorporating zigzag patterns into your stone pavers.
Remember, "The Great Gatsby," is much more than flapper dresses and utterances of "old sport." There's also the thrill of forbidden romance. Channel the Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby love affair by constructing a secret escape in your backyard where you can read your favorite bestsellers. For instance, you might drape soft white curtains around your pergola to create a little privacy with romantic flair. Opt for an outdoor chaise instead of the typical lounge chair to mimic the luxury and glamor so prevalent in "The Great Gatsby."
If you've dreamt of living at Hogwarts, now is your chance. In "Harry Potter," magic reigns supreme, and all you need is a clever imagination to channel enchantment in the backyard. For instance, wind string lighting around the rafters of a pergola or drape the chain of bulbs from the house to a tree to mimic the starry night sky in the Great Hall. Otherwise, consider what the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is made of: stone. Natural stone is best, as it delivers the same rustic vibe as the famed castle. You can incorporate this feature into just about any type of hardscape design, from water fountains to retaining walls. Perhaps most appropriate of all, though, is a stone fireplace - just like the one in the Gryffindor common room. And when you set up your reading space, deck it out in the blankets and pillows featuring the colors of your favorite house!
You can turn fiction into reality by creating these romantic and magical settings in your backyard. Not only will your outdoor living space inspire your own creativity, but it will be the talk of the neighborhood!