An urban oasis is a rejuvenating retreat that promotes a sense of inner peace, even in the midst of the city’s bustle. It might be a park surrounded by buildings or an open space that provides a break from the routines of daily life. Today’s post is dedicated to the art of creating your own little urban oasis at home. Perhaps you live in a city like New York, where yards and gardens are the exception, not the rule. Or maybe you’re in an apartment building, and you need to make the most of your little balcony. Here are a few ways to celebrate nature in any space…
Bring on the Vines
Vines create a cooling effect, and they breathe life into an outdoor space. Below we see a seating area from the Hotel San Jose in Austin, Texas. The grounds of this hotel create a true urban oasis in the middle of South Congress Avenue, a popular Austin shopping and dining area. Even on the hottest of days, it seems 10 degrees cooler when you set foot onto the grounds of the San Jose:
If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor area at home (such as a patio, deck or balcony), try introducing some vines into the mix. If you don’t want the vines to climb the walls, you can always add a small trellis to your outdoor vignette! [from New Eco Landscape Design & Build]
Don’t have a yard? You can always find interesting ways to add grass to any outdoor area. The patio below features an abundance of rock and stone, yet little clusters of Scleranthus Biflorus add mossy texture and a vibrant dose of green. [from Aloe Designs]
Have you ever considered adding grass to modern planters for a look that’s both manicured and wild? The rooftop garden in the next image features a variety of interesting selections, including Zoysia grass in a planter box under a small tree. [from Secret Gardens]
Trees Take Center Stage
Architects are increasingly choosing to incorporate trees into home design, whether it means preserving existing trees by building interior courtyards around them or planting new trees that become focal points of the home. Below we see a modern outdoor vignette through the window of the OM House, a Brazilian condo by Studio Guilherme Torres. [from Arch Daily, photo by MCA Studio]
A rooftop lily pond is a true highlight of Singapore’s Chiltern House, pictured below. In addition to the pond, a lovely tree rests just outside the home office, neatly incorporated into the clean-lined design of the outdoor landscape.
If you live in a home that lacks outdoor space, don’t fret. You can turn your indoor space into an urban oasis with the addition of striking plants. A large planter provides the perfect spot for bold greenery statements, such as palms and other tropical foliage. [photo from CSS Architecture]
Even a grouping of small plants can make a big impact, as seen in this eclectic industrial dining room featuring a vintage sign. Succulents are a fresh focal point. [from Red]
The Intrigue of Terrariums
We end by shining the spotlight on the allure of beautifully designed terrariums. If your living room doesn’t wrap around a window-framed courtyard, bring a miniature “courtyard” to your coffee table by purchasing a terrarium. Below we see the Brass Cage Terrarium from West Elm, among other modern selections:
Here’s one more view of the Chiltern House, which boasts a lily pond among other design delights. The large geo terrarium near the window is a true standout feature of this space. Keep that in mind if a lily pond isn’t in your immediate future…
Remember that there are plenty of little ways to create an urban oasis at home. A few “green” choices can make all the difference, even if you’re on a budget!