On a recent trip to Greece I was reminded that the little things often times have the greatest impact. While staying on the island of Naxos I had my first experience with bouzouki music. A concert was to be held at sunset in a castle high above the town. In anticipation, I hiked my way up hundreds of steps through the residential Kastro to the Tower of Sanoudos.
When I arrived I was delighted to find that the concert was on a charming outdoor patio. In the distance the Temple of Apollo was transforming with the changing colors of the sky. It was that money shot photographers dream of catching. The view was spectacular, but that’s not what made the night so magical. It was the attention to the finest details, the small touches that made the space feel whimsical.
The patio was dimly lit with various accent lights. The chairs were arranged in close proximity to the musicians, creating intimacy, and along one side was a rock wall filled with pots of lush basil and mint. As the concert was about to start, the host cupped his hands around the basil and began clapping. The scent of basil and the sound of bousouki music filled the air.
Just that one small touch changed the dynamic of the experience. As I sat there sipping a local wine during the concert, I noticed people sitting near the rock wall would reach out and jostle the basil. You could hear a communal sigh as everyone breathed in the aroma radiating throughout the patio.
I realized this was a rich experience because all the senses were engaged. It isn’t difficult. By focusing on the small things and layering in the five senses you can give your outdoor space a mini makeover. These easy, inexpensive tips are all that you need to create your own sanctuary.
Re-purpose your bling. Dig out those solo earrings, the ones you’ve been holding onto hoping you’ll find its mate. Hang it from a pot or plant. The more dangle, the better. Add a solar light to the pot and see how your bling sparkles. It will add interesting little details that will be eye catching.
Outdoor sound systems can be expensive and require installation. Instead, invest in a small bluetooth speaker that works with your phone or tablet. Some cylinder speakers change colors with the music which can add a nice visual effect. And let’s remember simplicity; a simple water feature or wind chimes can bring calm to an outdoor setting.
Clap the basil! If it’s a good idea, borrow it. Thank you Nikos from Naxos. I’m sold on this latest ‘aha, why didn’t I think of that’ idea. Go one step further by adding a fan strategically placed behind your herbs to infuse a refreshing aroma into air.
Outdoor furniture can sometimes be made of rough, sturdy fabric to withstand the elements. Wood or metal chairs can be downright uncomfortable. Toss in a few soft throw pillows and seat cushions to add color and comfort. Don’t forget the basil and mint. Touch it!
Have I mentioned basil? It happens to be one of my favorite flavors and scents. Place a variety of potted herbs and a pair of herb scissors close by for smelling, touching and tasting!