This article was co-authored by Rob Litman and by wikiHow staff writer, Hannah Madden. Rob Litman is a Landscaper, General Contractor, and the CEO of Vitoli Inc., a landscaping, hardscaping, ecoscaping, and swimming pool design company in Los Angeles, California. With over 20 years of experience in construction, Rob specializes in energy-efficient and drought-tolerant landscaping. He holds General Building Contractor (Class B) and Registered Pool/Spa Contractor Licenses. In 2007, Rob won House of the Year in Gardena, California.
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Want that dreamy, beach vacation vibe, but don’t want to leave your home? Turning your backyard into a resort-like oasis is easier than you might think—with a few upgrades, you and your guests will feel like you’ve left the country. In this article, we’ll give you all the tips and tricks you need to make your backyard look impressive and beautiful, just like a resort.
1 1 of 17:Add soft lighting.
- Candles and string lights give your backyard a dreamy glow. Get rid of your harsh outdoor lights and replace them with string lights that you install along a fence, trees, or furniture. Or, add some natural light with a few candles on your table or your patio.XResearch source The soft glow of your lighting will mimic the moon light and the stars that you’d get at a luxury resort.
- You could also try battery-powered lanterns.
- You can have directional lighting to illuminate the area.
2 2 of 17:Shade your yard with an umbrella.
- Large umbrellas give off a beachy vibe while providing shade. If you want to lounge outside but don’t want to bake in the sun all day, invest in a large umbrella to put over your seating area or pool. Go for a brightly-colored cloth umbrella to feel like you’re sitting at the beach in your own backyard.XResearch source
- Looking for a more permanent shade option? Go for a sun shade instead.
3 3 of 17:Serve drinks on a drink cart.
- Mobile bar carts add a luxurious touch to any space. If you plan on bringing out drinks for you and your guests this summer, get fancy with a rolling bar cart that you can use on your patio. Load it up with drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), ice, glasses, and tiny umbrellas for decoration to really get those resort vibes.XResearch source
- Add a cooler to the bottom of your cart to keep soft drinks and bottles chilled.
4 4 of 17:Cover your patio with a privacy screen.
- Wooden privacy screens offer solitude with a hint of oppulence. You can either cover up an existing fence, or you can create a new wall out of privacy screens. If wooden privacy screens don’t match your aesthetic, go for cloth ones instead.XResearch source The beachy, jungle vibes of a privacy screen mimic the solitude you’d find on a tropical island, so they’re the perfect addition to your backyard upgrade.
5 5 of 17:Cover your fence with a pocket planter.
- Add more tropical plants to your space to be transported to the jungle. Pocket planters offer vertical planting space. Are you tired of looking at your plain fence? Hang a pocket planter over the side, then add some vining plants, like sweet pea, climbing rose, or star jasmine. The plants will grow long and thick, covering up your fence and creating a backyard oasis.XResearch source
- You could also lean a trellis against your fence and direct a vining plant to grow up it.
6 6 of 17:Keep bugs away with tiki torches.
- Tiki torches give off a resort vibe while also warding off mosquitoes. If you tend to get mosquitoes in the summer, add a couple of tiki torches with a Citronella candle in each of them. Not only will you get to add some soft lighting at night, but the scented smoke will keep the bugs away, too.XResearch source
- If tiki torches aren’t your style, try buying plain Citronella candles and putting them in your own candle holders.
7 7 of 17:Add tropical potted plants.
- Use plant pots to add color and ambiance to your backyard. Tropical plants automatically give your yard an island look and feel. You can amp that up by putting them in large, colorful pots and arranging them around your patio or yard. This is a great way to add color and texture to a small backyard, too!XResearch source Go for plants like:
8 8 of 17:Pick a color palette for your furniture.
- A color palette gives your backyard a rich, upscale feel. Planning to invest in some new outdoor furniture? Go with furniture that follows a color scheme. If you’re going for the monochrome aesthetic, choose furniture in cream, black, or white. Or, play up the tropical resort vibes by going for furniture in bright colors, like orange, yellow, and blue.XResearch source
9 9 of 17:Decorate with fun pillows.
- Bright pillows add a pop of color while providing comfort. Does your furniture feel a little bland? Spruce it up by adding some decorative pillows. Pick ones in bright, eye-catching colors to play up the resort theme and dazzle the eye.XResearch source
- Remember to pick waterproof pillows, especially if your furniture is uncovered.
10 10 of 17:Install a patio sectional.
- A large sectional is a great way to lounge around outside. If you have the space for it, invest in an outdoor sectional with waterproof and UV-resistant cushions. Put it outside in the area that you’re likely to spend the most time, like your deck or your patio.XResearch source You and your guests can relax on the couch and soak up the rays, just like on a beach vacation.
- If you have the room, you could even create a full-on outdoor living area. Add a coffee table in the center for guests to put their feet up, and place a few more chairs around the sectional for extra seating.
11 11 of 17:Install a hammock.
- Let your guests lounge in a hanging hammock. Pick a strong, sturdy location for your hammock, like in between 2 trees or fence posts. Wrap the ropes around your location tightly, and test the hammock to make sure it doesn’t drag on the ground.XResearch source Being cradled in a hammock is a great way to relax and feel rejuvenated right in your own backyard.
- If you don’t have a great outdoor location for a hammock, buy a hammock stand instead.
12 12 of 17:Invest in an outdoor dining table.
- There’s nothing more luxurious than eating outside on a dining table. Maybe you plan to grill a lot this summer, or maybe you just enjoy eating outside. Whatever the case is, you can set up a large outdoor dining area with a table and chairs for guests. This really plays up the beach resort vibe, especially if you add pops of fun color with table runners or placemats.XResearch source
- If you love the idea of an outdoor dining area and you don’t mind a larger project, consider creating an outdoor kitchen area, complete with a pizza oven and counter space.
13 13 of 17:Create a pathway with stone pavers.
- Stone pavers add a touch of luxury to an otherwise plain space. If there’s a path in your yard that you use all the time, invest in some stone pavers to mark the way. You can space them out for a minimalist look, or you can group them together for a busier look.XResearch source
- Plain stone pavers are nice, but decorative ones that are colored or have a pattern give off a more luxury vibe.
14 14 of 17:Install a fire pit.
- Let guests gather around the fire on a chilly summer night.Fire pits offer tons of comfort and warmth, and they’re a great statement piece in your yard. Buy a fire pit that fits the size of your yard, and set it up on stone pavers or a concrete patio. Just make sure the fire pit is far away from your home to avoid any accidents.XResearch source
- If you’re doing a remodel of your yard, install a permanent fire pit. These fire pits are made of either brick or stone, and they’re more substantial than the free-standing ones you can buy in the store.
15 15 of 17:Add a water feature.
- Waterfalls and fountains give your yard great background noise. You can buy free-standing waterfalls and fountains at most nurseries and home goods stores—simply fill them with water and plug them in! The ambiance will instantly become more relaxing, and you can enjoy the water features all summer long.XResearch source
16 16 of 17:Invest in an outdoor shower.
- If you have a pool, an outdoor shower is the perfect resort upgrade. Plan to add the shower in a secluded area of the yard, and offer privacy with some wooden half-walls or a few large, leafy plants. You can either hire a contractor, or you can install the shower yourself.XResearch source
- Outdoor showers do require some basic plumbing. If you aren’t familiar with a plumbing project like this, it’s probably better to leave this project to the professionals.
17 17 of 17:Put in a jacuzzi.
- A hot tub is the perfect relaxation element for your backyard. If you love a good, long soak, pick a spot in your yard to install a hot tub. Set some lounge chairs and a few tables nearby so you can dip in and out whenever the mood strikes.XResearch source Sitting in the warm bubbles of your jacuzzi, you’ll suddenly feel like you’re on vacation again!
- Hot tubs do best on level, even ground. If you have a deck or a patio already, that’s the perfect spot for your new jacuzzi.
- QuestionHow can I keep my grass green during the winter?Rob LitmanRob Litman is a Landscaper, General Contractor, and the CEO of Vitoli Inc., a landscaping, hardscaping, ecoscaping, and swimming pool design company in Los Angeles, California. With over 20 years of experience in construction, Rob specializes in energy-efficient and drought-tolerant landscaping. He holds General Building Contractor (Class B) and Registered Pool/Spa Contractor Licenses. In 2007, Rob won House of the Year in Gardena, California.
Licensed Landscaper & General ContractorLicensed Landscaper & General ContractorExpert AnswerAll grasses go dormant from October through February, so it's natural for grass to lose its color. There's only one type of grass that doesn't turn yellow in winter, and it's called marathon. It actually comes in two varieties: marathon one and marathon two. The best solution is to get a bag of winter rye from your local gardening store. Spread it out over your yard, and it'll bloom green for about 6 months. Your lawn will look green over winter, and your grass can grow back in the spring.