15 Ways to Improve Yours This Summer

Ahhhh, summer… you’ve made it through the long, dark winter months, and now is the perfect time to spend time outdoors, relaxing, and enjoying the beautiful weather. However, you may find yourself staying at home – and probably in your backyard – more these days given the current climate of what’s happening in the world. Well, if your backyard is not yet the welcoming oasis you’d like it to be, here are 15 backyard oasis ideas to help you create your ideal summer sanctuary. 

1. Add privacy and greenery with a vertical garden

If you live in a city like Sacramento, CA, you will have neighbors. While you may be the best of friends, it’s nice to enjoy some privacy when you go out to your backyard. Even if your homes are close enough to share dinner through the window, you can create a semblance of privacy with a vertical garden. 

Vertical gardening doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as easy as putting up a trellis, fence or netting – as tall as you’d like – and growing an easy-care vine like Clematis. Clematis blooms in the spring, with large flowers in a variety of colors. You could also plant climbing roses and train them to grow up your fence or trellis. Ivy makes another great choice because it grows quickly and spreads aggressively, which is perfect for some privacy. 

2. Create your firepit and seating area

DIY fire pits and seating areas add a welcoming ambiance to your backyard oasis. Fire is a powerful symbol of togetherness and comfort. With a tabletop fire pit or decorative propane bead fire pit, you can create a safe yet beautiful seating area for your yard and deck space that you can still enjoy well into the cooler months. 

overlaid stone fire pit

3. Add shade with an awning

Introduced back in the 1860s, awnings began to pop up on private homes everywhere and remain popular today. Awnings are durable and easy to use, so they have become a backyard staple for comfort and shade. They provide protection from both sun and rain and create a pleasant sense of enclosure while still being able to enjoy the outside. 

4. Build a deck or a patio

It’s a time-honored tradition to place lawn chairs out on the grass so friends and family can gather in the warm weather. When you build a deck or patio, you extend your home and living space by adding an outdoor “room” to your backyard oasis. With weatherproof patio furniture and a table with an umbrella, you’ve created a private outdoor seating area.

A backyard oasis idea realized with outdoor patio furniture and garden

5. Create an outdoor living space by adding a kitchen and eating area

Summer weather is perfect for eating outdoors. Especially when the days are hot, it’s nice to be able to cook outdoors too. Set up a cooking area for preparing food – then consider a smoker, pizza oven, grill or even a camp stove to equip your outdoor kitchen. Create an eating area by adding comfortable seating with benches or chairs, plus a table, side table or even a TV tray or two.

6. Create a secret fairy garden for the kids

Your backyard oasis can inspire wonder and imagination among the kids when you add a fairy garden to a shady spot in the yard. You can find fairy garden sets with adorable little houses and decorations at your local home improvement or garden store. Kids will spend hours arranging the “fairies” and their cottages next to plants or under a tree to create a secret fairy garden. Fairy garden or not, add small plants, colorful rocks, pots, and other decorative pieces to enhance your backyard oasis. 

A fairy garden built into a tree is a secret way to enhance your own backyard oasis

7. Lawn games and backyard camping

For a family with kids, no backyard is complete without lawn games and a tent or two. Bocce ball, badminton, bean bag toss and other games provide a fun activity for all ages. Kids will always flock to a pick-up soccer game, a trampoline, or a swimming pool. If you like the idea of camping but don’t have time to travel to a campground, set up the tent and camp in the backyard. 

8. Add a hot tub to your deck or patio

A hot tub is always a popular addition and an excellent backyard oasis idea. Imagine being able to get away to your own personal retreat anytime. A hot tub is a place to relax, read a book, watch the sunset or sunrise, and soak in the massage jets. Build a deck, add a walkway, and plant bushes around your hot tub and you have created a relaxing backyard getaway. In addition to the other summer ideas, a hot tub is one you can enjoy year-round by yourself or with family and friends. 

9. Screen movies or host an outdoor concert or performance

Does your family love watching movies together? Bring your enjoyment outside during the summer with an outdoor movie screen. You can attach a screen to any frame, fence or wall and use it with a portable movie projector, which can be found at almost any electronics store.

Or maybe you are part of a band. Consider building a stage – with an electrical outlet and some microphones and string lights so you can put on a concert – just be sure to invite the neighbors.

An outdoor movie theater completes this backyard oasis idea

10. Add character and design with a pergola

Do you want privacy and shade but with a little more style? A pergola might be the best backyard oasis idea for you. A pergola is a freestanding structure made of wood, metal, or composite that provides shade – as much or as little as you want –  over your deck, patio or seating area. 

You might like traditional crossbeam wood planks, or prefer latticework, canvas, or interwoven fabric for more shade. A pergola in all its possible forms adds wonderful character to your backyard oasis.

A free standing pergola is another great idea for your backyard oasis

11. Create a space for yoga and meditation

What about a place in your backyard oasis to practice yoga or meditation? With privacy and a flat surface, you can create a special yoga space. Consider a pergola with curtains or a deck with a wall of greenery to make it private – you’ll have a calming and relaxing destination. 

A lady practicing yoga in her space she created as part of her backyard oasis

12. Add a water feature

Water is an ideal centerpiece for your backyard oasis. A fountain, pond, or waterfall can be made with natural or man-made elements. Stack rocks and add a pump and tubing from the home improvement store and you’ve built a pleasing backyard water feature. Choose from an array of ornamental options to bring your water feature to life. To get the plumbing set right you may want to call in the professionals. 

13. Incorporate art into your backyard

Customize your backyard oasis with weatherproof art. Sculptures, figurines, wind chimes, and other creative works that will hold up to wind and rain will add unique personality and make the time you spend in your oasis even more enjoyable. Art can motivate you, help you focus, allow you to relax, or ignite your imagination. This backyard oasis idea can be centered in one location or added throughout the yard for a relaxing stroll in your own backyard. 

Serene backyard oasis idea realized with select plants and a majestic tree surrounded by pebbles

14. Add the right plants

Plants can add beauty to any backyard. To create a low-maintenance space – one you can enjoy without too much work – you’ll want to layer your plant selections. Mix in different plants that love the shade and sun. Add colorful planters or pots with different textures. Your local lawn and garden store can help you choose the right plant for your climate and amount of sun. You’ll gain a beautiful vista to focus on while you’re relaxing and enjoying your backyard oasis. 

15. Apartment backyard oasis ideas

Even if you live in an apartment with just a deck and no yard, creating a small, budget-friendly sitting area that welcomes you outdoors can be the start of your oasis. You can transform any outdoor space into a summer oasis by adding a few features for privacy, relaxation, and entertainment. If you have an apartment with no balcony or deck area, consider creating a backyard oasis in a basket. Collect a blanket, book, or any items you’d like to look at or listen to and pack them up to find the perfect relaxation spot. Many parks have water features or a wooded area to find some shade and settle in for a little relaxation time.

As with any backyard project idea, it’s about getting out in nature and enjoying the weather and giving yourself a chance to relax. Any space, even a small backyard, can be used as a relaxing getaway if you have the right items with you. A personal, private oasis is a wonderful way to unwind in the evening or de-stress during the day.

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