Transform your backyard into a vacation oasis.

By Alisha Prakash
May 04, 2020
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Close your eyes and imagine yourself on vacation. What do you see? Perhaps you picture a blissed-out beach scene, where deep blue waves gently lap against the soft, white sand, creating a comforting, predictable rhythm. Or, maybe you’re sitting around a crackling campfire — hands sticky from s’mores and feet throbbing from a rewarding hike — while the soothing sounds of nature provide the soundtrack. Either way, the image is likely filled with relaxation — and lots of it.

While it might be a while before those fantasies can become realities, due to social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders in place because of the coronavirus pandemic, we at home can take advantage of the next best thing: a staycation.

Jeremy Samuelson/Getty Images

And there are plenty of ways to bring the vacation vibes to you: Transform your home into a hotel, deck out your space with travel-inspired décor, whip up a meal or cocktail from your favorite destination, or even give your bathroom a spa upgrade. For those fortunate enough to have a backyard, it can be even easier to create the feel of a trip right on your own turf.

To help you turn your backyard into a vacation oasis, we're sharing some of the tried-and-tested items we've purchased to have the ultimate staycation at home.

Inflatable Pool

Courtesy of Maisonette

“I’ve been quarantined at my sister’s house in Palm Springs, where the temperature has already hit over 100 degrees, but community pools are closed due to COVID-19. The ‘pool party in a box’ from Minidip arrived just in time with this cute inflatable pool and easy-to-use air pump (and lots of fun accessories, like confetti, beach balls, and koozies). It keeps us cool and makes us feel like we’re on vacation, even when we can’t leave the backyard.” Nina Ruggiero, Deputy Digital Editor

To buy: maisonette.com, $80

Outdoor Fire Pit

Courtesy of Bed Bath and Beyond

“Nothing screams ‘summer’ like gathering around a fire, especially on the beach after dark. The combined sounds of crashing waves and crackling flames is the essence of vacation. It’s a scene that unfortunately can’t be recreated right now, but lighting up this stylish little fire pit is the next best thing. It’s perfect for backyards, decks, and patios on these cooler nights when summer is not quite here yet. My family likes to sit around the pit with snacks and drinks while we laugh and relive some of our favorite memories of doing the same thing on the shore.” Hillary Maglin, Assistant Digital Editor

To buy: bedbathandbeyond.com, $240

Trampoline

Courtesy of Walmart

“One of the best backyard purchases I’ve ever made was a trampoline. It is single-handedly the best way to tire kids out as well as keep them preoccupied outside while I’m on conference calls inside. Safety was a concern, so I found one with a tall net, and we used sandbags around the bottom legs to keep them firmly planted on the ground (although you don’t need them because it’s quite heavy — I’m just a worrywart). It has helped create a fun staycation atmosphere by keeping the kids outside on nice days (even not so nice days) rather than have them zoned out in front of the TV or video games. It’s great exercise for me, too – 10 minutes jumping around and I’ll feel it in the morning. Next up: an above-ground pool to add to the resort-vibe we’re creating in our backyard.” Deanne Kaczerski, Executive Digital Editor

To buy: walmart.com, $426

Outdoor Hanging Chair

Courtesy of Serena & Lily

“We have this hanging chair on our front porch, and it’s my go-to spot when I want to read or get some sun. I’ve come to appreciate every moment spent outside these days, so having a cozy spot to lounge is key. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I feel like I’m perched in a tree house whenever I sit in this chair.” Madeline Diamond, Associate Digital Editor

To buy: serenaandlily.com, $698

Outdoor Seating

Courtesy of Wayfair

“We have a small wicker conversation set on our balcony in downtown Austin, which has made a world of a difference during quarantine in an apartment. I like to head out with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning and pretend I’m looking out over the Pacific from the lanai of a suite in Hawaii. My brother and I have also been enjoying happy hour al fresco. I’m grateful to have a balcony at all, but it’s amazing what this cute table-and-chairs set has done for the energy of our small apartment in the city.” Kendall Cornish, Associate Digital Editor

To buy: wayfair.com, $300 (originally, $524)

String Lights

Courtesy of Wayfair

“Upgrade your backyard, deck, or patio with outdoor string lights. These lights give your outdoor space a festive and romantic ambiance, perfect for al fresco meals once the weather heats up. Make a summer cocktail like an Aperol Spritz and pretend you're somewhere beautiful and beachy (even if you're just steps from your kitchen).” — Elizabeth Rhodes, Associate Digital Editor

To buy: wayfair.com, $73

Backyard Sauna

Courtesy of The Home Depot

“My little yard in Venice, California, has always provided me with just the right amount of sunshine and fresh air each day. However, during this time of quarantine, I wanted to up the ante on my space to make it as tranquil as possible. Not only did this transformation involve planting all new flowers and purchasing a fresh sectional couch, but it also included finally ordering the sauna of my dreams. Its space is all set up under my overhang to protect it from the elements and provide me with the perfect sweat session, as well as just the right amount of private space I need to be alone, even for a few minutes, away from my partner. (Sorry honey, I love you, but this spot is just for me.)” Stacey Leasca, Contributor

To buy: wayfair.com, $1,500 (originally, $1,877)