I hate work and I love to vacation. If you can relate then you should probably keep reading. I feel like I miss out on the summer a lot of the time due to shift work. The reason I say this is because when most people are camping, walking their dogs, enjoying the sun on a beach or a patio I am usually working a night shift or the aftermath of. Sleeping and then waking up with a night shift hangover, which if there was a dictionary definition would sound something like this. A sleep deprived person who physically feels as if they have consumed alcohol without the reward of free inhibitions the night before, resulting in the forsaken bat shit nuts unreasonable post night shift brain that causes you to resort to the behaviour of a small child. Symptoms may include headaches, diarrhea, irritability, lack of shits to give, unless you have diarrhea then you have plenty, optional showers before you return to service, and the overwhelming sense that the cycle is terribly wrong. The worst part is there is nothing your tiny soul can do about it.  If it sounds terrible, that’s because it is. For anyone who works shift work you can relate. Which brings me to the reason why I think creating your own oasis at home is so invaluable. 

Creating a space to relax and unwind that is accessible is key. I have tried making plans to be productive after nights but this is usually when I have overestimated my ability to overrule the bat shit night brain. I end up waking up early to reunite with the normal day shift part of society but ultimately, I just end up being irritable and unmotivated.  The fact is I don’t want to leave my house after nights, I want to be able to relax and not think about anything. Being able to come outside into my personal outdoor escape is life changing. As a Canadian we spend a large portion of the year inside and the summer months come and go in the blink of an eye. I believe that being outdoors definitely has a positive impact on my mind-set. It makes me feel happy, stress free and content. My backyard offers a place to be outdoors without committing to leaving my house, especially when I am tired. 

Like most people, I work all year round to go on a vacation. It is always short lived and when I come home I experience post vacation depression. This is the realization that I must go back to work and join reality when I’d rather just remain sipping mojitos on a beach. That is when I decided I needed to bring the vacation to me so I could enjoy it every day and not just once a year. Creating an outdoor living room added an extension of living space to my home. A space where I can enjoy the majority of my summer improving my well-being. When I walk out of my house onto my deck I feel like I am being transported to paradise. I immediately get vacation vibes and all I had to do was open my door. I immediately feel full of glee and truly enjoy relaxing in this space. 

I had a vision of the space in my head that I wanted to create and through trial and error came up with this. I originally had an umbrella with lights mounted underneath it and in one or two crazy Alberta storms it got destroyed. I had purchased it for about $200 CAD. I ended up finding the pergola at Lowes, which in the long run will stand up to the elements far longer than a gazebo or umbrella. At least that’s how I justify the price. It was originally $599 and I waited until it went on sale, because let’s be honest stuff always goes on sale. I bought it Easter weekend when they had an additional 15% off and ended up buying it for $490. When looking at purchasing a big-ticket item I highly recommend checking weekly flyers and holiday sales. Easter weekend, May long weekend etc. tend to have additional sales on top of the already discounted prices. I did not buy everything all at once, some of the bigger items I purchased over time. Initially when starting out I planned on buying one big item a season to lessen the financial setback. I also recommend checking Amazon prior to purchasing anything in store. For example, I found the same brand name outdoor curtains for $30 cheaper on Amazon. I started out with the sectional, and slowly added everything you see to the space. I enjoy shopping, ok that is an understatement…. I live for shopping and absolutely love finding things from different places and putting it all together. I then found things that reminded me of vacation. I love Thailand and tropical getaways so I knew that I wanted the deck to resemble places I had visited. Home Sense is a great place to find outdoor décor and planters for a fraction of the cost of actual outdoor living stores. 

The next step in figuring out how to design a space is to choose your color scheme. I ended up with black, white, beige with red accents. I chose neutral colors for big items so I can change the accent color in the future if I get tired of the red. As I shopped around over many weeks I slowly found pieces that I knew would all come together. I think there is something to be said about buying items for the space over time. Not only does it allow you to budget but it also allows you to find different pieces as stores are constantly adding stock in the summer, and also sales! Wait for things to go on sale, especially at stores that produce weekly flyers. 

We are now in our forever home and I went a little crazy designing this space but I will say that no matter where I have lived, no matter how big or small, I have always created a little outdoor oasis. The time spent outside and the happiness I get from it is amazing. 

Here is a breakdown of items, prices and where I purchased them from:

Pergola-Lowes-$490

Sectional-Ashley Furniture- $950

Blankets-Amazon- $200

Pillows-Home Sense- $60

Chair-Home Sense- $130

Area rug-Wayfair- $80

Palm Tree-Home Depot- $20

Palm Tree Planter-Home Sense- $50

Water Fountain- Facebook Market Place- $70

Fire Column Patio Heater- Wayfair- $430

Patio Edison Bulb String Lights- Costco- $60

Hanging Fern- Home Depot- $30

Succulents-Enjoy Center -$100

Bowl Planter- Home Sense- $10

Violet Plant- Enjoy Center- $25

Buddha Statue- Home Sense- $75

Outdoor Sheer Curtain (6)- Amazon- $145 (Lowes had the exact same ones $175- worth checking Amazon first)

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