Backyard Oasis Ideas: 16 Tips for Turning Your Yard Into a Private Paradise

With summer comes backyard barbecues, friend hangouts and enjoying the warm weather after a long time inside. Sure, you can hire a landscaping designer to turn your yard into an oasis, but it's easier than you think to do it on your own with these helpful backyard oasis ideas.

Transform your backyard into a place that you go to unwind and relax after a long day at work with these 16 backyard oasis ideas.

1. Add a hammock for lounging

Hammock.

What's the best part of a vacation? It's often getting to lay down on a hammock and read your latest book or take a nap during your time off. Well, bring this to your backyard to enjoy every day.

You can tie up the hammock to trees or get a free-standing one. Make sure you place it in the shade for a cooler nap and place a mosquito candle nearby.

2. Build a sitting area around a fire pit

Summer is synonymous with backyard fires, cool evenings and, of course, s'mores. Create a nice sitting area with a few outdoor chairs and side tables. Then place a fire pit in the middle — an in-ground fire pit or a free-standing wood one. You can also build one yourself.

Since you'll get a lot of use out of a fire pit, this backyard oasis idea will become a fixture for your outdoor experience. Just make sure you stock up on marshmallows!

3. Take a dip in a stock tank pool

Stock tank pool.

Stock tank pools have become a popular choice for those without the option of having an in-ground pool. In fact, stock tanks are one of the most popular backyard oasis ideas. You can even build a small deck around them if you need a few steps to reach the top.

During your hot days of summer, you'll be glad you have this opportunity to cool off.

4. Setup for a backyard movie night

Popcorn, lots of picnic blankets and friends — one favorite backyard oasis idea is watching a movie in the backyard. Movie nights like this are what summers are perfect for.

You can use a white sheet or inflatable screen plus a small projector to show your favorite summer flick. The best part is that you can take it down once you're done or leave it up for a weekly movie showing with your family.

5. Fire up an outdoor kitchen

Add a grill and a pizza oven to your outdoor kitchen set up for zero clean-up inside and all of the fun outside. You can have one built or you can create a setup on your own with a few carts. A nice outdoor kitchen will encourage you to spend more time outside too and having dinner while enjoying your backyard oasis.

6. String up bistro lights to create ambiance

Bistro lights on a patio.

Sure, large motion lights could provide light on your backyard as it gets dark. But bistro lights do that plus add to the ambiance. Bistro lights are easy to set up — you can add them to a trellis, use poles across your yard to hang them or attach them to your house.

For extra savings, pick up a string of lights that's solar-powered and goes on instantly at dusk. Or add a smart switch so you can control them from your phone.

7. Swing from your favorite tree

If you have a large oak tree providing shade in your backyard, it is the perfect fit for a backyard swing. First, confirm that the tree is healthy enough for a swing with your arborist. Then you can add a swing, hammock chair or a weaved chair to the tallest branch and spend the afternoon enjoying it. This is a backyard oasis idea you'll relish time and time again.

8. Get a hot tub

Hot tub.

Hot tubs have a reputation for being expensive and highly cumbersome to set up. But like everything else on the market, more options come with time. While you can still get the classic hot tub set up, you can also get a blow-up (yes, you heard it right) hot tub that looks just as fancy.

For example, there are brands that offer portable hot tubs that are easy to carry and set up. They are also more affordable if you don't want to commit to a more significant purchase.

9. Drink up at a tiki bar

If you host a lot of get-togethers with your friends, adding a backyard bar might make things a lot more seamless. Your friends can play bartender during the party without getting things dirty inside your house.

While the most popular theme for outdoor bars is tiki, you can definitely pick whatever style you choose. Have a backyard housewarming and tell your friends to stock the bar once you finish it.

10. Create a family-friendly game area

Cornhole.

Add games that the whole family can play instead to your list of backyard oasis ideas. Corn hole, a giant chess board or bocce are great additions to a family-friendly game area in your backyard. You can have a dedicated space for all the games or just take them out when needed.

11. Brighten up your concrete flooring

A concrete patio can quickly become a little drab. Luckily, these days there are many options to brighten up your concrete flooring. With your landlord's permission, you can add tile to bring some color into the space. If that's not in your budget, you can stencil the floor instead.

Creating a faux stencil pattern on the concrete brings a little more interest to the space. Depending on how complex your design is, this is an easy, weekend budget-friendly project. Here's some inspiration.

12. Get an eye-catching fountain

Fountain in a backyard.

With so many new meditation apps on the market, it's hard to find an excuse to not take 10 minutes to yourself and take a moment to tune out the outside. While the app helps, creating a space for meditating outside will help you stick to this habit and enjoy it a little more.

Add an eye-catching fountain to your garden to create the oasis you are looking for. From large to small fountains, stores sell some that you can easily set up on your own. It will help you focus on your practice and create a relaxing vibe.

13. Grow a lush vegetable garden

One of the best backyard oasis ideas will help you cultivate a green thumb. Many think that a garden should only include shrubs and flowers. However, making your landscape into an edible garden can also look beautiful. Studies have shown that gardening is good for your mental health.

Add a few garden beds where the sun shines the most and surround it with a pollinator flower garden. Add a trellis or an arch for berries to climb and adorn the space. You won't want to leave this spot as you'll spend time tending to the garden and enjoying the fruits of your labor.

14. Bring in a gazebo or awning

Having a little shade in the middle of summer can make all the difference in how often you're out in your backyard oasis. You can create some shade and have a special reading nook just for you. You can add a retractable awning to the side of your home for convenience during group parties.

Or place a little gazebo far into your backyard oasis with some flower landscaping to add a little magic to the space. Gazebos come in all different sizes and colors, so you can find one that fits your style.

15. Gather your friends together around at a dining table

Friends gathering outside.

If you have space, adding a long dining table, paired with colorful pillows and beautiful flower arrangements, can genuinely change the vibe of your backyard oasis.

Prepare a feast for your friends and invite them to lounge in your home. Exchange stories as you reach for food and add a little music via a Bluetooth speaker — all under some bistro lights.

16. Plant an herb wall for cooking

There's nothing better than fresh herbs available for your meals at all times. An herb wall can help you add visual interest to a blank wall in your backyard and give you that freshness that your food needs. Think fresh basil, thyme, rosemary and parsley — some of the easiest herbs to grow in your backyard oasis.

All you need is a vertical planter, soil and the herbs of your choice. If you'd like to make it yourself, here's a quick DIY for a wood one.

Create an oasis in your backyard

No matter the size of your backyard, it has the potential to create a space for relaxation and sharing with your family. You can add a few of these backyard oasis ideas on your own while staying true to your budget. Adding a little magic to your yard is easier than you think.

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Muriel VegaMuriel Vega is an Atlanta-based journalist and editor who writes mostly about technology and its intersection with food and culture. She’s the managing editor of tech news publication Hypepotamus, and has contributed to The Guardian, Atlanta magazine, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, VICE and more. She spends her time eating her way through Buford Highway and exploring Atlanta's arts scene.

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