Turn your Backyard into “Staycation” Haven
Style to Your Favorite Destination
Let your go-to escape inspire the materials you choose for your backyard renovation. Mountain lovers, for instance, can veer toward woodsy elements and earth tones. Ryan Treadwell, owner of Kona Contractors in Littleton, Colorado, recommends including wood beams, stones and a fireplace. If the rugged coastline of Northern California is calling, bring in a mix of dark- and light-colored decking, a pine-wood horizontal fence and an inviting hot tub, as seen here. “Bringing in the right amount of rustic and contemporary features helps create a vacation-ready look,” Treadwell says. Whatever look you love, take the time to plan your design and get it right, he adds.
Bonus tip: All decks need lighting for easy navigation and safety, but keep ambiance in mind. “I like low-voltage lighting that shines down to illuminate the deck but doesn’t blind anybody,” Treadwell says. Try LED or solar-powered lighting to save energy and be earth-friendly.
Integrate Your Favorite Activities
Consider how you like to spend your time on vacation, whether it’s playing bocce on the beach or relaxing in the hotel grounds surrounded by flowers. Then design your outdoor space to include those activities. “You want to have enough hard, finished square footage for cornhole or outdoor pingpong tables,” Treadwell says. “We see a lot of stuff like bocce, horseshoes and ladder golf; there’s so much you can set up and play.” If you do go the “relax among the flowers” route, fill planters with plenty of colorful blooms and herbs.
Bonus tip: Install underdeck storage, such as storage drawers, if possible to keep equipment out of sight when not in use.
Add Fire and Water
Few things say vacation like warm flames and cool water. “Try a nice stone gas fireplace where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine,” Treadwell says. “You can also get fire features that integrate water.” As for floating around, consider a luxurious pool with a sun shelf, or a hot tub you can enjoy year-round. Whatever you choose, just make sure your deck can handle splashes and won’t splinter. Treadwell suggests a durable composite deck, such as the wood-effect one seen here, as it stands up well to moisture, is splinter-free and isn’t as slick as other products.
Bonus tip: Pair your fire feature with infrared heaters so you can enjoy your outdoor space through fall and winter.
Include Plenty of Spots for Lounging
Dreamy resorts have multiple places where guests can sunbathe, put their feet up and relax. Emulate this at home with lounge spots dotted around your backyard. Try a cushy sectional and chairs for big gatherings, a row of Adirondack chairs for stargazing or a tucked-away hammock for an afternoon read or catnap. Remember to add some shelter so you can laze away the days in comfort. “Bring in a pergola for vertical dimension or some sort of covered roof,” Treadwell says. “It creates an open-air-patio vibe.”
Bonus tip: For an elevated experience, turn your lounge spots into true outdoor living rooms. Bring in elements you’d find inside, such as rugs, coffee tables, cozy throws and plush pillows (all in outdoor-approved materials).
Cook and Dine Alfresco
Enjoying a delicious meal under a peachy-pink sky at sunset spells vacation for many. Re-create this relaxed vibe at home with an outdoor kitchen and dining area. Start with a grill and plenty of counter space for prepping and serving food. “Integrate a bar top so people can sit and chat; it adds to that resort feel,” Treadwell says. Consider fun appliances like a smoker or pizza oven too. For dining, add a big outdoor table as well as other spots where you and guests can perch for light bites and drinks. The deck seen here has a deck rail table built onto its railings — it makes for a good grill workstation or small gardening area too.
Bonus tip: Dress up your dining area with a vine-covered pergola, cafe lights or even a chandelier. “Add a big stone fireplace and all of a sudden you have an amazing indoor concept that’s outdoors,” Treadwell says.
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