Take a Walk in your Backyard... - South Lake Tahoe finish studio Skip to main content

Have you ever walked into your backyard or out the front door and stared at the scenery? Could you be surprised by what you find? OF COURSE you could! Living in Lake Tahoe, we are surrounded by Mother Nature’s beauty. There is more artistic inspiration all around us than anyone can soak in. But, with all the traveling we’ve been doing lately on Mission Inspiration, I forgot to step outside the last few days and appreciate the inspiration within steps of the nluv Studio front door. So, this week we’re headed down the street for a little backyard inspiration.

Backyard Inspiration just steps from the front door

I look for inspiration in many places. Sometimes it’s on the computer through articles and blogs or photos and videos posted but some of the best ideas come from just going outside. Mother Nature’s design-sense is raw and pure. Her colors are vibrant, textures are blended and unexpected treasures lurk in hidden places. She dares to put clashing patterns together and wild electrifying colors into a single landscape.

Let’s take a walk into a gallery of backyard inspiration…


backyard inspiration fallen leaf lake lake tahoe backcountry

Backcountry adventure above Fallen Leaf Lake & Lake Tahoe, CA

A Complex Landscape: Play with textures and mix them all up! Take this landscape photo. It’s filled with rough rocks, soft snow & billowy clouds and vibrant blue water dividing the harsh elements. Don’t be afraid to mix soft fabrics with bright colors while adding a few standout accents like stone or wood.

backyard inspiration fallen tree bark natural wood elements

Vibrant contrasting wood finishes.

The Mighty Fallen Tree: This majestic beauty demonstrates the heart of multi-dimensional. From its brittle exterior to the vibrant inner details of the trunk core, the varied pattern in the wood can be mimicked in a varied wood floor or reclaimed pallet wall design.

backyard inspiration natural stone slate

Truly natural slate!

The difference in depth from where the tree fell is the perfect touch for a wood wall treatment comprised of uneven boards. What a striking piece of perfection from accentuating its imperfection!

The Power of Stone: How many of us have colorful stones or slate in our homes? Natural stones are the cornerstones (no pun intended) of many designs today, anchoring the rooms colors, feel and decor.

To experience exquisite rock like this in its natural form is breathtaking and inspiring to say the least. The colors, the feel, the composition is not something you can ever fully replicate. The true beauty of slate is in its uneven surface and varied colors. No two pieces are alike making it a wonderful accent in any room. While many finishes can be replicated, sometimes the real thing is the only solution.


backyard inspiration towering trees black and white photography

These giants need no color!

A Classic: The timeless classic of black and white has transcended time itself. There isn’t a time in history where we haven’t seen these two colors put together in some way either through design, fashion or even food. If you don’t understand the food comment, it reminds me of an East Coast treat  – black and white cookies. Yum!

backyard inspiration fall colors truckee lake tahoe

The perfect pop of color.

Living in Tahoe, every picture has more color than you can imagine with our blue skies & water as well as vibrant forests. But even among all the color, sometimes the best detail is left to just black & white. This photo is a great example of that. These towering trees with their complicated trunks and overarching limbs only demonstrates it’s pure wonder void of all extra color. The intricate design of the trees themselves need no extra paint to show off their magnitude.

Just a Pop: Nature also has a wonderful way of demonstrating it only takes a pop of color to jazz up a space. With the popularity of wood finishes, reclaimed furniture and rustic decor, a bright pop of color is just the perfect touch. Reds, oranges and yellows make for a bold statement and as an accent piece, they’re just the right amount.

backyard inspiration eagle falls california

Eagle Falls area, CA

Jewel-tones are divine: In a world where everything seems beige to be ‘neutral’ and appeal to the masses, I say get out your box of crayons and have fun! Spice up your space with jewel tones straight out of the can – greens, blues, purples… Go WILD!

It’s all in the details

backyard inspiration gnarled tree south lake tahoe

A sculpture in its natural glory.

Gnarled in beauty: It’s one thing when a sculptor makes a beautiful statue but it’s another thing when Mother Nature made it. This gnarled wood art piece couldn’t have been more beautifully made in a studio. Wow!

backyard inspiration tree trunk

A ‘hand carved’ tree of unbelievable detail.

The angles and lines, all twisted and perfectly put together as if you walked into an outdoor gallery. Can you imagine having this in your home? How amazing would it be if a glass top was created for it? It would be the most unique and one-of-a-kind table EVER! This truly is extraordinary.

Hand carved with care: Wood carving is a talent few have. The steady hand and vision needed to see what that piece of wood will end up being is special. Nature has its own fleet of artists, carving details into trees with unimaginable precision. Just look at this tree. Adorned upon its trunk is the most intricate ‘hand carved’ detail I’ve ever seen. Each little mark is so precise in where it is placed and when you look up 50 ft. to its top, the design never seems to end. Details like this on furniture, wall finishes and even exteriors should take a note from this giant. It’s all in the details. They truly make all difference.

The unexpected

backyard inspiration eagle falls lake california

Nature’s mirror image.

Reflections: Everywhere you look, there is a mirror near by. Not many things go hidden in the world today. Nature has its own way of making sure she looks good for the occasion too. A landscape filled with wonder and colors next to a lake as still as glass will make you see double. Why is this natural mirror right in the middle of the most picturesque place? If you’re going to look at something twice, might as well make it the best view possible.

backyard inspiration snow plants lake tahoe

The forest’s unexpected pop of color.

Why do we put mirrors in our homes? Too make the space look bigger? To reflect an architectural feature? To check that our socks match in the morning? Mother Nature has a purpose too. To see a breath taking landscape is one thing… to see it twice is another!

Shhh… it’s a surprise: Just as wondrous as an outdoor mirror can be, so can a little surprise caught out of the corner of your eye. The unexpected in your backyard is just the color pop inspiration you may have been looking for.

In Tahoe, as the snow melts in Spring, these amazing vibrant little snow plants pop up all over the forest. Among a sea of pine cones, needles and other forest debris, you’ll come across a beautiful fiery specimen that will brighten your day. Hunting around for these plants in spring is a fun way to get some backyard inspiration while exploring the world around you. If you look really close in your own outdoor spaces, what little secrets do you find lurking?

Don’t try to plan your outdoor visit or schedule it on your calendar. Be spontaneous! Get up from that chair and just go outside… what do you see? Get your backyard inspiration on! Appreciate what you have steps from your front door and take advantage of your outdoor oasis, whatever it may be.

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