10 Ways to Create a Backyard Oasis

0109 choiceVacations cost money, and by their very definition they must end at some point. But not if your vacation destination is in your own backyard…then you’ll have a summer resort, 365 days a year, every year—even in the snow, if you choose. Now, although Long Island is full of coastal destinations, nothing speaks vacation like an inground pool in the backyard.

“It just gives the backyard a little bit more of a home improvement [look],” says Keith Beebe of Dunrite Pools, who says inground pools are his most popular request. “It adds value to the property.”

The craziest pool Dunrite was ever asked to create? Mouse ears (three circles).

And the folks at Backyard Masters can help you combine designer outdoor  decor and kitchens with your inground masterpiece. Not sure what to do with your space?

“Let our in house designers inspire you with ideas from around the world and help you create the beautiful masterpiece you have always dreamt about,” they say.

But, whether you have a fantastic Disney-esque pool in your backyard or full-service outdoor kitchen—or neither—there are plenty of ways to make your backyard feel like a little piece of heaven.

26BckyrdOasis Hammock
XXL Hand-Woven Multi-Colored Thick String Hammock, $99.99, Hammocks.Com

HAMMOCK: Nothing says lazy days of summer like a hammock, whether it’s freestanding or tied between two trees. You can get one for as little as $40. From simple nets and parachutes to hand-woven rainbow works of art—to even upright hammock hanging chairs—you can go rustic or sophisticated, add some pillows and blankets, a book—and, of course, you.

WATER: Maybe you have a pool, or a waterfall in your backyard already, but if you don’t, no worries. From small portable waterfalls to 3-tier fountains, you can get one at any price. And guess what? They all sound the same, swinging on a hammock with your eyes closed.

FRAGRANT FLOWERS: What else does this fantasy need? The smell of fresh flowers mingled with a nice warm breeze—and not just any flowers. Some varieties are known for their fragrances, good and bad. Obviously, you want to focus on the good, the kind of flowers you just want to shove your nose in.

26BckyrdOasis FlowersDRINKS: It could be as simple as water in a frozen mug, a glass of lemonade or cocktails in a cooler, as campy as a tiki bar or as fancy as a real outdoor bar itself. But it’s hot out there. Keep something cold within reach. And, go ahead, stick an umbrella in it.

PATIO FURNITURE: Let’s fast forward to evening. The sun is in, the moon is out. There’s even a slight cool breeze in the air. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a fluffy couch and a fireplace to keep you warm? Well this is the couch part. There are plenty of outdoor furniture sets that will keep you cozy under the stars.

CHIMINEA/FIRE PIT: Now for the fireplace part of the deal. From small to large, a stone chiminea or fire pit will not only keep you warm but keep bugs away and is just as cozy as a fireplace. Now, what happens when a summer shower rolls through? You don’t have to go inside because you have a…

Torrento 6h
The Torrento, 599.99, Backyardstuff.com

GAZEBO: Some of these are so simple to use, they practically put themselves up. Pop-up gazebos come in all different sizes and materials. Put one of these bad boys up and you’ll never have to go inside.

: Yes, this is heaven. The only thing you really can’t take outside is the TV, but now you can watch movies under the stars—and in the case of rain, under a gazebo—without getting electrocuted. Couch potatoes rejoice, this flat-screen TV is water and weather-proof.

LIGHTS: Solar lights that charge in the day, and glow at night; hanging gazebo lights; candles or even tiki torches. There are so many options for outdoor lighting, it’s really up to you what kind of mood you’d like to set.

And, for those of you who may not love the intense heat of a hot summer day, fear not. You can’t bring the air conditioner outside, but you can bring out a tall standup wooden fan. All you’ll need now is someone to sit there and feed you grapes—good luck with that.