With so many things changing because of the pandemic, creating a relaxation haven in your own home has become more important than ever. Now that warm weather has arrived and life is returning to normal, you should be able to enjoy your summer with friends and family once again. If you’re having trouble figuring out your home backyard design, there are tons of DIY hacks and must-have items that will transform an outdoor space of any size into a total oasis.
The first step is choosing a color scheme and a theme — do you prefer neutrals or a bright pop of color? Different aesthetics will create different vibes in your outdoor space. Most importantly, remember to add personal touches that are enticing to you. Ultimately, your patio is an extension of your home’s interior, so consider that when making design decisions.
To reconnect with nature and create a spa-like environment, use natural, minimalist materials like bamboo and stone. If you prefer a tropical getaway, consider adding lush plants, outdoor rugs and outdoor furniture sets with vibrant prints. Make sure to clear the space of clutter before you design it — after all, a backyard is meant to be a refuge where you can unwind and de-stress.
There are various techniques that can help you achieve a warm and inviting ambiance. Comfy (and weatherproof) seating, the right lighting, and shade are three essential factors to pay attention to. For DIY solutions, you can skip the patio furniture and make a couch out of pallets, placing cushions on top. String lights are a cheap way to spruce up an area, and if you don’t like the look of an outdoor umbrella, consider creating a homemade gazebo or pergola. Additionally, growing vines on roofs, arbors, or other structures is the perfect way to integrate greenery with a built-in shade solution.
Whether it’s a place to retreat for a silent yoga session, a reading nook, or a socializing space, making it uniquely yours will be more rewarding than going the generic route. Your home deserves better than bare grass and scattered plastic chairs. Instead, transport yourself to the far-away land of your dreams with the best backyard ideas of 2021. Even if your budget is small, we’ve selected products that will let anyone create a backyard oasis without spending too much money.
Solar LED String Lights – 2-Pack of 240 Lights
When the sun starts to go down but the barbecue is still going, you’ll need a reliable form of lighting. These waterproof LED Solar String Lights charge during the daytime so they’re always ready to illuminate your backyard come nighttime. Each order comes with two 85-foot strings with 200 LED twinkle lights. While multiple colors are available, we recommend the warm white LED lights pictured here, which add the perfect laid-back ambiance to any backyard get-together.
Wrap one string around a tree and another along your fence or deck for an elegant source of lighting that will last all summer long. To create a true backyard oasis, LED string lights are a must, which is why they’re one of our top backyard design ideas of 2021.
Best Choice Products Outdoor Rolling Wicker Bar Cart
You can’t have an oasis without hydration, right? A rolling bar cart is a must if you’re looking to elevate your backyard for socializing or some much-needed alone time with a glass of wine. This wicker cart by Best Choice comes in a demure neutral brown and features a glass countertop, a removable ice bucket, and wine glass holder, along with additional storage compartments. Even if you don’t drink, this cart provides a killer foundation for a charcuterie spread and a seafood platter on ice.
Lazy Daze Hammocks 55″ Double Quilted Fabric 2-Person Hammock
A hammock is a classic among backyard ideas for a reason. When you can’t lie on a beach in tropical paradise, recreate that utopia by swaying on a hammock. When you’re tired out from activities but still want to enjoy the warm air, there’s nothing like lounging on a hammock with a book or beverage of your choosing. This cream-colored one by Lazy Daze can hold up to two people and is double-quilted with a detachable pillow for maximum comfort, making an ideal summer snooze spot.
Goodfit Interior With Yellow Chair Puzzle
Traditional puzzles are a thing of the past — this cheery, contemporary game merges childhood fun and adult sophistication. As interpreted by Mary Finlayson, this modern jigsaw puzzle is a unique interpretation of found objects and textiles. With 1000 pieces comprised of varying shades and shapes, figuring out this puzzle is a challenge that feels more exciting than frustrating. Goodfit’s puzzles are all completely sustainable and made from recycled cardboard, with a linen-textured finish.
Anker Nebula Solar Portable 1080p Projector
Untill recently, most portable projectors were pretty weak. They either lacked strong WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity or had extremely poor illumination. However, Anker seriously impressed us with their new portable projector, the Nebula Solar. Spy’s Tech Editor Adrian Covert says that it has everything you could want for an outdoor movie night — true 1080p picture quality, easy setup, Android TV and a solid speaker. It’s not cheap, but the cheap projectors you can find for sale aren’t actually worth the money.
If you’re looking for the ultimate summer backyard ideas, this device is sure to impress your friends and family.
Olafus Outdoor Bluetooth Lantern Speakers 2-Pack
Outdoor speakers are a must for creating that oasis atmosphere. No matter what your favorite tunes are, they’ll sound better coming out of these enchanting speakers that double as backyard lighting and decor. Forgot unseemly and clunky speakers of the past – these have a prism design with rotating colors powered by LED lights that pulse to the music. This 2-pack is powered by Bluetooth and a 20-hour playtime, so you never trip over wires. Buyers who were hesitant about the price found that all their expectations were exceeded.
Weber 2-Burner Propane Grill
No patio or backyard is complete without a BBQ. Whether you like a char on meat, fish, or veggies, there’s no limit to what you can barbecue. Throwing something on the grill is the best way to infuse more flavor, and a gas grill will help you do that with ease. Powered by propane, this Weber model has 2 burners and caster wheels that allow for better mobility. Buyers call it a great deal for the price, with one pointing out the fat drip system, which allows a mess-free cleanup.
UpBlend Bamboo/Aluminum Wind Chimes
Some wind chimes can be annoying and incessant rather than bringing tranquility, which they’re supposed to do. This bamboo and aluminum chine byUpBlend is hilariously marketed as “wind chimes for people who like their neighbors.” These chimes add a peaceful nature to your space and can even soothe barking dogs who are easily set off by new noises. Its tune is melodious and creates a serene environment when you need to de-stress most.
Bamboo Fence Panel
Wooden fences can be chic in a streamlined kind of way, but this sturdy bamboo fence provides more than privacy. It exudes the feeling that you’ve escaped into some wellness retreat far, far away, and while it does give off a bit of an island vibe, it doesn’t do so in an overly kitschy way. They also make a lovely backdrop for growing plants and any greenery in your backyard. Pro tip: install it just above the ground to allow for more air circulation.
Whitfield Round Galvanized Steel Wood-Burning Fire Pit Table
Building a bonfire in your backyard can be time-consuming, messy, and in some cities, it’s not exactly legal. That’s why this wood burning fire pit that doubles as a table is the ultimate backyard choice for city and suburban areas. With a sleek, galvanized steel base and a stone-look tile table, this round fire pit can multitask, holding your drinks while it keeps you cozy or helps you cooks up some delicious s’mores.
City Bonfires S’mores Night Pack
If you can’t keep a fire pit in your backyard, the next best way to get that soul-warming flame is with this adorable City Bonfires kit, which only requires a torch or candlestick lighter. Created by two dads during COVID, City Bonfires creates a mini bonfire thanks to a metal tin that’s filled with non-toxic, food grade soy wax. That wax then turns into a flame for a mini fire or marshmallow roasting sesh. They even sell a night pack, which comes with s’mores ingredients, reusable skewers, and a lighter.
The Wand Wine Purifier
Do you live for wine, minus the headaches that come with it? This wand wine purifier pack accomplishes the impossible — it lets you get your Malbec or Pino Grigio on, without deal with the usual repercussions. Headaches, stuffiness, and stomach aches from wine are usually caused by histamines and sulfites, with these purifying wands remove. They can also restore open wine that’s been left out to their original state. Aerating your vino just got a whole lot simpler.
Press & Infuse Bottle
Making manually infused water is a messy process that takes some time – for single serving bliss while you sit in the sun, consider this Press & Infuse bottle which presses fruit in real time, creating tasty infused waters and teas. You can experiment with different flavors and ingredients like herbs and fruit without worrying you’ll gulp down a leaf or seed. Go ahead and buy one for your whole household, because you won’t want to share this zero-waste hydration hack with anyone.
Extra Large Citronella Incense & Holder
No matter how decadent your patio setup is, mosquitos have a tendency sneak their way into your sanctuary and ruin that serenity. The solution? Citronella incense. A serious upgrade from citronella candles, these XL incense sticks are customer-approved when it comes to scent, and they’re effective at keeping those pesky bugs away. Each pack of sticks comes with a handmade earthenware dish engraved with a butterfly, holding incense in place and catching ash.
Bearaby Cotton Napper Weighted Throw Blanket
Upgrade your ratty old throw blankets with this luxurious macro-knit weighted blanket, which will make chilly mornings and star-gazing nights way cozier. Suitable for all skin types with its long-staple GOTS-certified organic cotton, Bearaby’s Cotton Napper comes in assorted colors and weights – we suggest going with the lightest option, which is 15 lbs. More than 1600 reviewers (including very satisfied Spy editors) love how this weighted throw blanket is machine-washable and has a more high-end look than other weighted blankets.
Allmodern Houten Southwestern Outdoor Area Rug
Opting for a bohemian rug is a great way to add some character and personality to your backyard retreat. Overly colorful rugs can be distracting, but neutral tones get boring quickly, which is why we love this bohemian-meets-Southwestern print. It’s durable, thanks to jute backing, and resists bacteria, stains, and fading, making it the perfect backyard staple that will last through the years. Prefer to sit on the floor? Skip the patio furniture and place floor cushions on this rug instead.
Hi-Line Gift Ltd. Fiber and Resin Bowl Fountain with Light
A water feature in any yard adds a relaxing spa atmosphere, but it’s also a useful hack for drowning out loud street noises. Surrender to the white noise from this fiber and resin floor fountain, which features a classy, cascading bowl design on a rustic faux stone finish. With three tiers of bowls, this fountain makes any space look more expensive. Although it looks like a high-end sculpture, it’s surprisingly lightweight and easy to move around. If your backyard ideas mood board is missing a water feature, this is a great option to consider.
Hampton Bay 11 ft. Aluminum Cantilever Solar LED Offset Outdoor Patio Umbrella
If a pergola is too space-consuming or costly to invest in this year, consider an oversized hanging cantilever umbrella. It provides a cool and shady canopy to spend time under when the sun is beating down. Unlike other umbrellas that feature an awkward pole in the middle, this one has an offset style that seamlessly blends in. It’s easy to assemble, but you do need an additional base to weigh it down, like an external base, sandbags, or bricks.
Yescom 20X20 97% UV Block Sun Shade
This awning is a chic and effective alternative to an umbrella, with a modern style. It creates a shady canopy over your desired area, providing some relief from those unforgiving rays. With 97% UV protection, this isn’t just a must for your backyard — if you park in a carport rather than a garage, it’s also a summer essential. The square-shaped cover is made from a breathable knitted fabric which is proven to reduce heat and the likelihood of getting a sunburn.
Intex 4-Person 140-Jet Inflatable Hot Tub
When an actual hot tub is too expensive, consider this invention, which is a fraction of the price and can be stored away in colder seasons. This four-person inflatable hot tub contains an LED light and 140+ massaging bubble jets activated via a wireless touch panel control. There are even foam headrests for maximum comfort. While it can’t be used in less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s perfect for those cool summer nights with a drink in hand.
Fredericks & Mae Citronella Hanging Coil
These citronella hanging coils by Fredericks & Mae add an effortless sense of decor to any backyard — while keeping mosquitos away from your oasis. While there’s nothing more enjoyable than a balmy evening hang on the patio, vicious mosquito bites are hard to ignore. These come in black and natural tones, providing a hanging lantern aesthetic while warding pests off with a slow burn time. Unfortunately, the hanger is not included and needs to be purchased separately.
Banana Leaf Foam Placemat
Placemats are a must for anyone dining alfresco, but woven indoor mats are hard to clean, and can get wet if rain starts to come down or spills happen. Instead, opt for a foam option, like this whimsical (and affordable) banana leaf that everyone will get a kick out of. Another bonus: they’re way easier to clean off. According to one reviewer, “These placemats were the perfect addition to a tropical dinnerware pattern I used all summer when we dined outdoors. They are sturdy and just wipe clean with a sponge.”
Gentle Monster Giant Timber Tower Stacking Game
Take the fun of Jenga and supersize it with this giant timber tower, made up of 56 monstrous pieces. The jumbo block game, complete with dice and a game board, will entertain you for hours on end — especially if you turn it into a drinking game. If you’re a fan of board games and puzzles, you’ll love this larger-than-life product which even comes complete with a case, scoreboard, and dry erase marker. Get ready to bring out your inner competitor!
Ooni Karu 12 Multi Fuel Pizza Oven
Outdoor pizza ovens are often picturesque, but bulky. That’s why we recommend the Ooni Pizza Oven, which is compact and comes in sleek stainless steel. It takes multiple kinds of fuels (both wood and charcoal) and can cook in any outdoor space — in just 60 seconds. The unique fuel tray blasts a stream of searing flame to your pizza, getting to 932 degrees Fahrenheit in only 15 minutes. With the right attachment, you can even cook it with gas. At only 26 and a half pounds this is a backyard cooking device that packs a serious punch.
Personalized Slate/Acacia Wall Mount Bottle Opener with Magnetic Cap Catcher
Bottle openers are one of those pesky things that are always lying around when you never need them, yet always disappearing when you need to open a cold one. To stop that from ever happening again, install a mountable bottle opener. This one takes things a step further with a magnetic cap catcher and a personalized slate. It has a subtly rustic look and comes on an attractive acacia base that will fit into any backyard setup.
Ceramic & Glass Drink Dispenser
From infused water and lemonade to fresh cocktails, a glass dispenser is key to staying hydrated (and sufficiently buzzed) for your time on the deck. It’s also more sustainable than drinking from plastic cups or bottles.
This one is made of Portuguese ceramic and glass and can hold over two and a half gallons of whatever drink you choose. The clean look is akin to a spa or retreat, making your backyard design instantly impressive. To impress guests, just slice up some citrus fruits or add some sprigs of mint.
Duraclear Tritan Multicolor High Ball Glasses, Set of 6
Using your regular dishes outside can be risky. Especially if you have a pool. Instead, invest in a vibrant and nearly indestructible set like this one from Williams Sonoma. It’s made of DuraClear Titan, a material that looks just like glass but is completely crack-proof and dishwasher safe. This set of highball glasses comes in a colorful set of six. One reviewer loves that the bottoms aren’t concave, and hence don’t hold water after the dishwasher is done with them.