5 ways to bump up the romance in your backyard
Even if Valentine's Day isn't for a while, that doesn't mean you should forget about the romance. In fact, it's such a wonderful surprise for partners to up the ante with no reason other than to show appreciation for their loved ones. Why not spruce up your outdoor space and then have your partner go on a scavenger hunt to enjoy all your hard work? Here are five ways to bump up the romance in your backyard and then spend time basking in the beauty:
1. Start with the patio
Do you have a patio? These outdoor escapes provide the perfect backdrop for barbecues, cozy reading nights and hanging out together. If you don't have one, consider adding a patio to your backyard that is attached to the house. Or, suspend this fun area in a different area of the yard and use pavers to lead the way from the house to the patio. You can use the same stones for the walkway design and destination, or vary them for a different look. Plant flowers and herbs on the sides of the path to really make it stand out and add some flair and style. Wrought iron furniture is especially elegant as it often features curls and fleur de lis. Add seating to provide the perfect spot for an outdoor dinner for two.
2. Add some ambiance
Eating dinner in the dark is not an option - you'll need to see one another's faces to know that your hard work has paid off! Light the path to your patio with solar lights for easy transit from inside to out. Consider adding a pergola to cover the patio area. In the hot summer months you can add curtains for shade, but for this romantic scavenger hunt it's more appropriate to weave colorful tulle into the ceiling. Then, leave the ends hanging down to the ground on one or two walls. Hang twinkling lights to turn your yard into a fairy garden fit for a king or queen. Landscape lighting can also brighten up your driveway, or highlight your favorite spots in your yard like a gorgeous tree or a water feature. Placing a natural stone water feature near your patio is a perfect way to drown out any nearby noise and promote relaxation and romance.
3. Bring in some warmth
With an outdoor fireplace you can make use of your new backyard space at any time of year, even as the weather gets chillier. Installing a fireplace at the edge of a patio provides a perfect focal point for your furniture. Make sure you stock up on wood, like cedar, which offers a great romantic scent. Have kindling ready and set up your fire, but don't light it until your loved one makes his or her way to the new patio. This will be like putting the icing on the cake before digging into your delicious dinner! If your partner is a fan of s'mores, have the ingredients and poker sticks on hand to make some for dessert!
4. Don't forget the food
The end of this scavenger hunt should feature a delicious meal. If you can cook, consider making your loved one's favorite dishes. If not, order in from a restaurant you both love. Be sure to toss the takeout containers and move everything into fancy dishes. Set the table complete with silverware, water glasses, napkins and plates or bowls so everything looks professionally done and ready for a great meal. Do this all before your partner returns home so you can take a deep breath and welcome him or her in!
5. Add plants
Romance is alive, and you can use this as a theme for your scavenger hunt by sprucing up your outdoor space with plants. Lining the edges of a pathway with flowers is a great place to start, but don't stop there. Add potted plants to the edges of your custom patio, bringing in the beautiful scents of herbs like lemongrass and lavender. Also consider planting some raised garden beds to feature veggies and fruits. Then you can really amp up your special dinner with fresh picked herbs, tomatoes, citrus fruits and other produce that grows well in your area.
The scavenger hunt
Using pavers to lead your partner from one part of the yard to the next is a great way to make the romantic scavenger hunt easy. Start with a small gift and a map in the house and then lead your loved one into the backyard. Provide clues that bring your partner to all the new parts of your outdoor landscape. Mention the beautiful new plants, festive furniture and even the fireplace. The final clue should send him or her to take a seat to enjoy the outdoor space and your company for this surprise occasion.