Herbalist and wellness expert Kari Jansen shares low-cost and no-cost tips for how to create a serene sanctuary at home.

Backyard Spa Clawfoot Tub
Courtesy of Poppy and Someday

A backyard spa may sound like a luxury, but it doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive. Herbalist and ayurvedic practitioner Kari Jansen of the self-care brand Poppy and Someday has created an enviable outdoor oasis at the Laurel Canyon home she calls the fairy garden. Here, until the pandemic, she offered clients sound baths, Reiki, and other treatments incorporating oils, tinctures, and scrubs from her organic herbal apothecary. With its dappled canyon light, vintage clawfoot bathtub, wind chimes, and herb garden, her space is the stuff of serene Instagram dreams—and something not far out of reach for the rest of us. Here Jansen shares five tips on how to create and make the most of a restorative retreat in your own backyard.

Courtesy of Poppy and Someday

Infuse an Oil

Jansen’s oils use ingredients like sandalwood and frankincense and Hawaiian kukui nut oil, but you can use what you have on hand. “Pick a resinous herb like rosemary and put it in olive or sunflower oil and put it in the sun for a month for a solar infusion,” she says.

Courtesy of Poppy and Someday

Draw a Bath

“You can get a vintage bathtub for $200 on Craigslist,” says Jansen. Place it in a shady spot and fill it with warm water. Jansen’s tub is plumbed but you can use a mix of hose water and water you’ve heated on the stove. Only use natural ingredients while bathing and you’ll be able to drain the tub and water your garden.

Get Natural

Surround your tub with plants and crystals, and put up a birdfeeder within sight to reconnect with the rhythms of nature. “You’re reconnecting with the plant and natural world,” Jansen says. “Our bodies react to the seasons, and observing them reminds us that as the seasons change so do we.”

Give Yourself a Massage

“Apply your warmed oil before you get into the tub. Start with your lower extremities and move toward your heart to reconnect with your body.”

Ritualize It

The most important thing is there are no rules beyond making it a regular thing. “Pampering isn’t a specialty thing,” Jansen says. “Nourishing our own bodies reminds us we should nourish the Earth and other people.”