14 Backyard Oasis Ideas to Create an Outdoor Space for Relaxation

beautiful backyard
Photo: Ed Gohlich

Transform your backyard into a place of escape where you can unwind, enjoy some fresh air, and have fun with friends and family. To foster an inviting atmosphere, combine outdoor furniture, decor, landscaping, and other elements that suit your style and needs. Try these ideas to turn your backyard into a relaxing outdoor oasis.

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Incorporate Colors and Patterns with Textiles

brick patio various colored throw pillows
Edmund Barr

Personalize a deck or patio with weather-resistant textiles that add softness and style. First, decide on a color scheme, then gather outdoor pillows in different sizes and patterns. Opt for fabrics that dry quickly, resist UV rays, and are easy to clean. To add a larger dose of colors and patterns, anchor your seating area with a stylish outdoor rug.

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Provide Spots for Lounging

hammock surrounded by plants
Jay Wilde

In addition to areas for outdoor dining and entertaining, a place to relax is key. A hammock provides a snug spot for an afternoon nap when strung up between two trees or deck posts. A chaise longue is ideal for sunbathing or lounging with a book. Add plenty of outdoor pillows or cushions to boost comfort. These relaxing backyard ideas will transform your backyard into a place you'll never want to leave.

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Add Lushness with Plants

outdoor sofa on deck
David Patterson

Surround your outdoor space with lush greenery. Plant containers with eye-catching varieties and arrange them near the seating area to provide living decor. A shallow planter filled with succulents can serve as a beautiful centerpiece for an outdoor table. Plants with tall stems and full leaves double as privacy screens with strategic placement.

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Plan Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor structure string lights
Ann VanderWiel Wilde

Backyard oasis ideas for after sunset must include outdoor lighting. At its most basic, this consists of porch lights that illuminate access to the house and provide ambient lighting. You'll need good task lighting over the grill and work areas for outdoor kitchens. Candlelight, wall-mounted downlights, or dimmable electric lamps work well in dining and conversation areas. Steps and walkways should also be illuminated for safety. You can also use solar-powered accent lights or low-voltage lights to add drama and interest to the landscape and highlight paths. Combine a mix of lighting sources to make your backyard getaway a magical place after dark.

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Create Shady Spots

backyard deck orange umbrellas
Bob Stefko

Even sun-worshippers will welcome a little shade in the heat of summer. On days when it's bright and hot outside, you and your guests will enjoy your deck or patio more if you can provide relief from the sun. Choices for shade include patio umbrellas, mature trees, retractable awnings, or even arbors and pergolas planted with vines. Choose the option that best suits your space and budget.

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Define Your Outdoor Space

beautiful backyard
Ed Gohlich

Make your backyard a versatile destination by defining different activity zones within the space. Multiple outdoor furniture arrangements carve out spaces for dining and relaxing on this patio. A pergola covered with luxurious vines and an abundance of plants in containers augment the surrounding garden and help blend the structure into the landscape.

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Create a Picture-Perfect Patio

picture-perfect backyard patio
Michael Partenio

A patio should be a welcoming extension of the house, calling you outdoors to enjoy cool breezes and fresh air. You can make your patio a comfortable seasonal room with some planning. Patios are usually surfaced with brick or stone. If you opt for concrete, consider adding texture and color to imitate stone for a more natural look. Use planting beds, container gardens, and weatherproof furniture to decorate the outdoor space.

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Add an Outdoor Kitchen

outdoor kitchen
Jamie Hadley

Consider an outdoor kitchen if you love grilling and eating outdoors from spring through fall. You don't need a fancy grill for your outdoor kitchen. Still, a countertop for food prep and conveniences like closed storage and a separate side burner will greatly enhance your outdoor cooking experience. Add a refrigerator to keep food fresh on hot days and a sink to make cleanup easy.

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Ensure Privacy

white pergola
James Yochum

Your outdoor room will feel more like an oasis if it has a sense of enclosure. Fences and garden walls ensure privacy for patios and decks. You can also use lattice, pergolas, and landscaping to define outdoor spaces and screen views of neighboring houses. Hanging outdoor curtains is another easy, inexpensive way to boost privacy.

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Furnish for Comfort and Durability

red and black patio furniture
Marty Baldwin

You have more choices than ever when considering backyard oasis ideas for furnishing your outdoor rooms. Wrought iron and cast iron, wrought or cast aluminum, and traditional wood are classic options for outdoor furniture. Synthetic, weatherproof patio furniture and fabrics are also available, offering similar styles and comfort as interior furnishings. Even weatherproof floor lamps and table lamps combine stylish lighting with durability.

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Define Spaces with Outdoor Structures

white and brown shingled gazebo
Bob Stefko

A gazebo adds another level of luxury to your backyard oasis. Whether attached to the deck, set near a pool, or placed in the landscape, a gazebo is an outdoor room in its own right and offers a protected spot for dining, cooking, or relaxing. Pergolas, trellises, and arbors can also be used to define activity zones in your outdoor paradise. Use them to create focal points, separate areas according to function, or provide transitions from one place to another.

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Add a Hot Tub or Spa

pergola covered raised hot tub
Kritsada Panichgul

A hot tub or spa on the deck is the ultimate luxury for long, relaxing soaks at the end of the day. To determine the best location for the spa, consider privacy, access to the house, and whether you want the tub in sunshine or shade. A typical round hot tub is 6 feet in diameter and takes up about 30 square feet. A rectangular tub requires about 48 square feet. You'll also need additional room for sitting and walking around the tub.

Bear in mind that a hot tub full of water could weigh 2 tons, so it will need a foundation independent of the deck's foundation.

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Create Cozy Warmth with a Fire

outdoor fireplace
Ed Gohlich

Fireplaces make a natural focal point that can help define space and provide privacy for an outdoor room. They're also a good starting point for an outdoor kitchen. Firepits, whether built-in or moveable, also serve to draw people together and can extend the usefulness of an outdoor living area into cooler weather.

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Bring in Artistic Elements

flower garden water fountain
Peter Krumhardt

Fountains, statues, and art enhance the beauty of your outdoor rooms. If you enjoy the soothing sound of trickling water, consider installing a fountain to serve as the focal point of your yard. Or accessorize the space with garden sculptures or weatherproof art, such as plates, garden plaques, or decorative wrought iron. These ornamental touches help create a welcoming, personalized space for outdoor living.

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