Skip the trip to the cottage. When your backyard looks like a lush country oasis, there’s no need to endure the two-hour commute up North. Learn how to transform your suburban backyard into the outdoor cottage space of your dreams with expert design tips from landscape architect Joel Loblaw.

To give a Markham, Ont., backyard a Muskoka vibe, Joel divided the space into outdoor rooms, including a dining area, sunk-in patio, lounge, backyard pool and fire pit. Owners can enjoy all the benefits of a weekend cottage right outside their door. Rustic details like twinkle lights and wild flowers invite relaxed summer living. Get decorating tips to create your own enchanting outdoor escape. Plus, find out which plants were used for year-round visual interest and low-maintenance care.