Sweet summertime is finally upon us! From barbecuing and al fresco dining to outdoor games and poolside parties, upcoming warm temps mean it’s time to get your home’s outside space in order. Want to learn how to create a backyard oasis where you’ll love spending your days (and nights)? Here’s how to set the stage for the ultimate backyard space this summer.
How to Create a Backyard Oasis in 12 Steps
- Focus on privacy
The secret to a truly relaxing backyard is privacy. From high fences and large planters to green hedges and outdoor screens, there are plenty of ways to add privacy to your backyard or patio. If the only outdoor space you have is a porch, consider adding curtains around the openings for privacy. If you live in an urban environment with a patio, you’ll need to focus on adding large plants, a trellis or a privacy screen to the space.
- Eliminate (or control) any bug problems
From flying insects to creepy crawlers, bugs can really put a damper on your backyard plans. After all, there’s nothing like annoying mosquitoes and disease-carrying lizards to ruin your time outside. While eliminating bugs completely from a backyard or patio may be impossible, controlling them should be perfectly doable. Adding citronella candles throughout the space will help ward off pests. In addition, eliminating any standing water, which attracts mosquitoes, should prevent bugs from breeding. You can also hire a pest control company to spray the yard for ticks, mosquitoes and other bugs.
- Create a conversation area
When arranging furniture on a deck or patio, remember to place it in a way that supports a conversation area. You can do this in several ways, including 1) placing four chairs in a circle to create a conversation circle; and 2) placing a sofa and chairs next to or across from one another. Make sure that the furniture is close enough to encourage and support conversation.
- Build a deck or patio space
Is your backyard nothing but grass? Consider constructing a deck or patio space to plant furniture. A private hardscape area is a great space for grilling, gathering and relaxing outdoors. Adding an outdoor deck to a home is also one of the smartest investments you can make in your home, in terms of adding resale value. In fact, according to Remodeling’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, a wood deck addition yields a return of more than 75 percent. According to Money Crashers, constructing a deck will likely cost you anywhere from $1,200 to $10,000.
- Ground the space with an outdoor rug
If the outdoor space includes a deck or patio, consider adding an outdoor rug to ground the space. Putting an outdoor rug underneath a dining area or a conversation area helps to define the different spaces in your backyard. Outdoor rugs also add a pop of color to a space and infuse warmth and coziness to the backyard.
- Add a dining table and chairs
During the summertime, you’re going to want to eat outdoors as much as possible. Make sure to add an outdoor, weatherproof dining table and comfortable chairs for the perfect dining al-fresco scenario. For smaller spaces, focus on finding a weather-proof bistro set. For larger patios, you may want an outdoor table that seats at least six and/or includes an extendable leaf. For help finding outdoor dining furniture, check here.
- Use weather-proof materials
Keep in mind that outdoor furniture will take quite a beating over time. Rain, snow, ice, wind, heat and other weather-related elements are sure to affect outdoor furnishings. To ensure that your furniture holds up as long as possible, invest in items made of weather-proof materials. This includes teak, wicker, aluminum and metal constructed furniture. Make sure to purchase furniture that is specifically made for the outdoors. The same goes for pillows and cushions. Look for fabric that is weather-proof, such as one made from water-proof canvas materials.
- Add at least one comfortable, loungey piece of furniture
Lounging in the backyard during the lazy days of summer is best done in a hammock, outdoor daybed, outdoor sofa or weather-proof swing. So, don’t be afraid to add a piece of furniture specifically made for lounging to your outdoor space. After all, maximizing the comfort of your backyard is always a good idea.
- Designate a space for your grill and meal prep
You can’t have an outdoor oasis without a proper grill and meal prep area. Whether it’s a built-in grill or a stand-alone grill, make sure you have a practical outdoor kitchen set-up for entertaining at home. Of course, it also helps to invest in a few key grilling tools, such as a spatula, tongs, thermometer and kabob sticks. With the right accessories, you’ll be barbecuing in no time.
- Add outdoor lighting
To maximize time spent outdoors, make sure to add the right lights to your patio space. Good outdoor lighting options include string lights along your fence, tiki torches along the perimeter, candles on the table, outdoor sconces attached to your home’s exterior, up-lighting fixtures under trees and solar-powered landscape lighting.
- Pot seasonable and climate-appropriate plants and herbs
Whether it’s just a few potted plants or several raised garden beds, adding plants and herbs to the backyard oasis is one of the easiest and best ways to personalize your outdoor space. Not only do potted plants add a decorative, aesthetically pleasing touch to a patio, but they also help create privacy and buffer sound made from nearby neighbors. Just make sure that whatever plants you use are climate-appropriate for your locale.
- Add at least one fun feature
Want to make your backyard space truly enjoyable and comfortable? Be sure to add at least one fun feature to the yard. This could include a hot tub for the adults, a playset for the kids, a hammock for lounging, a game area (with Bocce Ball or Croquet, for example), or a firepit for roasting S’mores. Adding one of these fun touches to the backyard will make it feel like your own personal backyard oasis.