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Once summer is in full swing, it’s time to ready your outdoor space for the upcoming months of enjoyment and entertainment. Beyond the typical cleaning and maintenance that your deck and yard will likely require after enduring the harsh weather of winter and spring, there are many additions and enhancements you can make to your backyard to turn it into something more than a place to unfold some lawn chairs and enjoy hotdogs on the grill.

Now more than ever, we all know the value of outdoor space and making the most of every inch of our homes. Here are eight ways to transform your backyard into the ultimate summer oasis.

1. Build a Deck

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If your backyard doesn’t already have one, a deck is a relatively simple way to start creating the ultimate outdoor paradise. One of the great things about building a deck is that it’s completely customizable to fit the wants and needs of your lifestyle.

Rebecca Hay, president and principal designer for Rebecca Hay Designs in Toronto, Canada says that “building a deck helps to define your space and give your backyard a sense of purpose,” so if your outdoor area is lacking in functionality, a deck is a great starting point in establishing this. Not only will this add to the amount of available living space within your home, but a deck offers great return on investment, so if you choose to sell your home down the line, you’ll definitely make your money back (and then some).

2. Hang String Lights

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Outdoor string lights are an easy and cost-effective way to transform your backyard space into something much dreamier and more idealistic than ever before. Not only do they bring an ethereal sense of romance to space, but by adding string lights to your backyard, you’re creating an environment conducive to entertaining even once the sun has gone down.

When searching for the right string lights for your space, consider LED options as they’ll last longer and are more energy efficient. While LED lights may cost a little bit more upfront, they could save you money and the hassle of frequent bulb replacements in the long run.

3. Install Outdoor Speakers

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Whether you plan to use your backyard for parties, movie nights, workouts or just somewhere to relax, outdoor speakers are an easy way to enhance the space. You can find outdoor speaker systems that fit into just about any budget, and you can even get ones that camouflage themselves into the space.

You can use these speakers to play soft background music during a gathering, stream the audio of a sports game or even use them to create a sense of security by playing noises that will scare away uninvited critters (or even intruders).

4. Embrace a Japanese Garden Aesthetic

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Tiffany Lei, gardener and outdoor planner with Garden Guidepost, suggests that if you’re working to create a soothing backyard environment, Japanese garden aesthetics are something to consider. Japanese gardens, Lei says, “[draw] from Buddhist and Taoist philosophies” and are “designed to inspire peaceful contemplation.”

These gardens, she continues, “[use] the concepts of asymmetry and balance to create a tranquil retreat space with natural elements, including water, rock and plants.” If you’re looking to create space for calmness and quiet, a Japanese garden could be perfect for your backyard.

5. Install a Water Feature

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Running water has an inherent way of creating a sense of serenity, especially outdoors. Whether you have a few feet of extra space, or several acres to work with, a water feature can be a great addition to any backyard space.

When it comes to water features, the only limitation is really your imagination, and you can create something as simple or complex as you’d like. From a small cement pond to an extravagant waterfall, there’s something to fit into the look and feel of the backyard escape that you’re working on designing. If you want, and the feature allows for it, you can even add fish and other underwater wildlife to these features to really bring some fun character to the space.

6. Incorporate Bug-Repelling Plants

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No matter how beautiful and well-maintained your outdoor area is, insects and other bugs can make it an undesirable place to be. Rather than spending your summer covered in bug spray, do your part in preventing bugs from invading the space in the first place by planting bug-repelling flowers and plants.

While it’s well-known that citronella grass works to keep bugs away, there are many other plants that do the job just as well. Alternative plants include chrysanthemums, bails, petunias and even lavender. Not only will this help deter insects, but planting these different herbs and flowers will add to the visual appeal of the space as well.8 Ways To Turn Your Backyard Into An Oasis

7. Be Strategic With Shade

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When designing your ideal outdoor escape, ensuring that there’s an ample amount of shaded area is important. Whether you choose to use the shade that is naturally available to you by placing some comfortable seats around the base of a tree, or you decide to create areas of shade by installing an awning or building a pergola, it’s important to have areas of refuge on extremely hot days.

If you’re taking the time to invest in this space, you’ll want to ensure that you can use it as often as possible, even during the times of peak heat in July and August. Having several shady, comfortable, furnished areas will create a better chance for this.

8. Create a Tropical Essence

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By utilizing unique plants that are typically native to the tropics, you can bring the beauty and calm of the beach right to your own backyard. Robbie Maynard, interior designer with Robbie Interiors in San Diego, California says that “large potted tropical plants will create that vacation vibe and a touch of the dramatic. [You can] bring in lots of colorful flowering plants in a variety of containers to create a dynamic focal point and lift the spirits.”

Not only will these plants look great, but they’ll help create a scenic atmosphere as well.

Bottom Line

No matter what you want to use your backyard for, there are numerous ways to transform your space into a total oasis. From adding a few plants to taking on a full-fledged renovation project, you can make a plan based on your interests and available budget. From there, you’ll create a backyard that just may become your favorite space.

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