Summer will be here before you know it, which begs the question: Does your existing outdoor space live up to your plans for relaxing, recreating, and entertaining?
It’s never too early to start planning how to maximize enjoyment in your backyard. And you’ve come to the right place for ideas and inspiration. Read on for a roundup of seven ways to transform your backyard into a true outdoor oasis.
1. Put in a Pool
When thoughts turn to summertime recreation at home, pools are at the top of the list. Whether you’re seeking a solitudinous sanctuary or a place for family and friends to gather, backyard pools provide restorative and refreshing respite on sweltering summer days.
Depending on your plans and budget, in-ground and above-ground pools each offer unique pros and cons as do saltwater and chlorine pools. Many features are also available with the potential to turn ordinary pools into resort-worthy attractions. Infinity edges, tanning ledges, bubbler fountains, waterfalls, grottos, swim-up bars, and integrated rock slides are just a few popular swimming pool design trends.
And be sure to enhance your pool area with inviting features, such as comfortable poolside loungers, colorful landscaping, and ample shade. Planning to keep the party going after dark? Thoughtful lighting is also essential, such as underwater LED lights, which create a captivating glow at night.
2. Enhance the Ambiance with Landscape Lighting
Speaking of lighting, outdoor lighting is a critical part of any outdoor space. In addition to improving safety and security in and around your home by illuminating pathways and driveways, outdoor light fixtures also help to beautify your environment, enhance the ambiance, and showcase stonework and other architectural elements.
All effective indoor and outdoor lighting plans comprise a mix of the three main lighting types: ambient, task, and accent. Some popular examples of outdoor lighting include hanging chandeliers and pendants, wall sconces, spotlights, path and area lights, post lights, floodlights, bollard lights, string lights, and others.
Additionally, landscape lighting techniques like uplighting, moonlighting, silhouetting, shadowing, and path lighting can all be utilized to elevate your outdoor space.
3. Get Cooking with an Outdoor Kitchen
Outdoor kitchens continue to have a major moment. In fact, outdoor cooking and entertaining spaces are one of the most sought-after home features thanks to their capacity to fuse cooking, dining, and socializing into one enjoyable open-air experience.
To upgrade your al fresco area with an outdoor kitchen, you’ll need quality appliances such as a grill, a refrigerator, a sink, and ample storage for handling the full range of culinary tasks on the menu. Outdoor countertops in durable and weather-resistant materials are trending, as are bar areas for serving and entertaining.
Outdoor kitchens and outdoor dining areas for al fresco meals go hand in hand. Start with a dining table and comfortable seating, including weather-resistant chairs and cushions. While a picnic table will suffice in a pinch, more and more homeowners are turning to sophisticated outdoor furniture that rivals their indoor furniture in terms of design and function. Before purchasing an outdoor dining set, key considerations include size, shape, and style.
Other common outdoor kitchen and dining room elements include umbrellas and other types of shade, decorative accessories, and plenty of lush greenery for color and ambiance.
4. Install a Sliding Glass Door for Seamless Indoor-Outdoor Transitions
Indoor-outdoor living claimed the top spot on Fixr’s Outdoor Living Trends Report 2023 with a whopping 85 percent of homeowners saying they plan to devote a quarter of their remodeling budgets to outdoor living in the next year. In particular, breaking down the barriers between interior and exterior spaces is a top priority.
One of the most impactful ways to facilitate indoor-outdoor flow is with sliding glass doors. By providing unobstructed views of your surroundings, sliding doors create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces.
In addition to making it easy to access outdoor areas, they also offer many other benefits including letting in abundant natural light, providing adjustable ventilation, safety and security, and energy efficiency. Sliding glass doors are also ideal for smaller spaces because of their unobtrusive footprint.
Worried about bugs or privacy with your sliding glass doors? Adding window treatments or a screen for patio sliding doors is a best-of-both-worlds solution.
5. Incorporate Water Features
Not only do water features have a tranquil and soothing effect, but the pleasant sound of trickling or flowing water can also mask unwanted noise.
Whether you choose a small tabletop fountain or a larger, more elaborate waterfall, a water feature has the potential to become a calming focal point.
6. Focus on Functionality with Zones
If you’re working with a large backyard or other spacious outdoor area, functional zones can help create a feeling of intimacy.
To begin thinking about your functional zones, consider your plans for using the space based on your activities and interests. For instance, homeowners with children or pets may include a recreation area with play structures and plenty of room for running around.
Other possibilities include relaxation zones with hammocks and lounge chairs, gardening zones, kitchen and dining zones, service and work zones, and entertainment zones with everything from fire pits to outdoor televisions.
Once you’ve conceptualized your zones, it’s time to think about space planning. Just like floor plans for interior design, floor plans for outdoor areas let you design and lay out the space in the most logical way.
Beautiful backyards don’t happen on their own. They require mindful design, high-quality materials, and functional and aesthetically pleasing components. By considering these ideas alongside your unique needs and preferences, you can create a backyard that not only adds value to your property, but also to your everyday life at home.