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A New Backyard Oasis Helps a Military Lawyer Cope with Her PTSD

A New Backyard Oasis Helps a Military Lawyer Cope with Her PTSD


– The house is a 1925 Craftsman home. In the ’60s the house was subdivided and it’s a fairly small,
compact, little urban house. I live here with my little dog Toffi. It’s within walking distance of downtown, and I really wanted to live
downtown or close to downtown. Ottawa’s the capital of Canada. It’s a beautiful city
with a lot of history. Parliament Hill, lots
of running and biking and walking trails, and
I’m surrounded by all this history within walking
distance from my house. One of the principle reasons I bought the house was for the yard. But when I first came to visit, you would come out the back
door and there was a small deck. The yard was in really rough shape. It wasn’t very attractive. But the size of it was
enormous for an urban yard. I’m a military lawyer. I’ve been with the military
for almost 20 years now. I’ve been overseas more
than some, you know? I live with PTSD. And so, when it came time
to start with the yard, it sort of became clear to me, I just needed to have a
space where I could feel sort of safe and grounded
and relaxed and calm. (light synthesizer music) I knew that I wanted a little seating area where I could just step
out of the house and have my coffee, read the news. And I wanted, of course, a dining area, ’cause I like to have friends over and just hang out outside in the summer. Also, I needed a play space for Toffee, so I knew that I wanted most of the yard to be free of clutter and things. So I wanted the plantings
to be near the side. And, of course, the plantings
had to be sort of nontoxic. The probably centerpiece of the yard is the artificial turf that I put down. It was important to me
to have the greenery and also to have a place where Toffi and I could play together. My favorite spot in the
whole yard is my daybed. I just love laying on the bed with my book or my houzz on my app and my dog and a cold drink. There’s been many a nap had on that bed. I don’t think I could imagine doing a project like this without houzz. You find your professionals. You have your inspirations. You use your ideabooks. The decor of the yard evolved over time. It was easy to do that with houzz. I could pick items that
I was interested in, put them into a wish
list or into my ideabook, and then start having a visual idea of how those things might work together, where it might go in the space. So I found some really beautiful cushions that had embroidered
succulents on the front. Then I went looking for
something a little more geometric and complementary
accents to go with those cushions that I
had fallen in love with. (light guitar music) I’ve always loved the effect of curtains. I’ve had them in yards before. And my neighbor wasn’t
ready to make changes to the privacy screen
between our two decks, so I hung curtains. The other favorite thing about my yard is the water feature that I
purchased for the deck. It’s small enough and
compact enough to fit on top of my deck but allows me
to get the sound of water, which I really wanted, as well. That calming, relaxing
little trickle of water, as well as some additional plantings, so I put different kinds of
papyrus and border plants. I really needed lots of
lighting so that I didn’t feel that there were dark
corners around the yard. It was a priority for me to find lighting that was ecological, but yet gave me a sense that
the yard was lit enough. Summers in Ottawa are really nice. They’re very warm and humid. We’ll see summer, sort of light
fall weather, until October. I’ll try to extend the
useful season of my garden. My most recent purchase from
houzz was a cool outdoor heater that has integrated
Bluetooth speakers. You know, we’re used to barbecuing
in the snow, so (laughs). The yard project has been very therapeutic for a number of reasons. Firstly, my hands-on participation and secondly, the end result. Toffi was an important part
of the design and he loves it. It’s just been a great place. Friends can come and relax. I’m so pleased with it. It makes me happy just to
come out and live my little outdoor life here in my
personal little urban oasis. (easy synthesizer music)


Reader Comments

  1. Beautiful yard. How do your fabrics/curtains/pillows/ cushions stand up to the weather? Do you have to bring it all indoors?

  2. Such a gorgeous and relaxing setting😍this has given me great ideas for my backyard😎thank you so much for sharing

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