How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Summer Oasis

The products that will help you optimize your outdoor space this season

June 11, 2020 9:37 am
Best backyard products 2020
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If you’re anything like me — a person who starts counting down the days till Memorial Day weekend as soon as Labor Day is over — you’re probably feeling pretty bummed right now. I love summer. The beach is my “happy place,” which I realize is a total cliché, but the fact remains that if I could spend every day on the hot sand, drinking cold White Claws and listening to music with good people while my skin burns off, I undoubtedly would. 

Obviously our summers got kind of wrecked thanks to COVID-19. Yes, a majority of beaches across the country are currently open to the public for exercise and even long-term lounging. But COVID is still lurking out there, folks, and for those at risk, those living with someone at risk, or those who simply don’t want to contract the virus and spread it around, the beach, vacation rentals and the usual summer activities are far from guarantees this year. 

This is no excuse, however, to stay inside and waste away for the next three months, especially if you are lucky enough to have a backyard or any semblance of an outdoor space. It’s time to turn whatever you’ve got into a private summer oasis, a “backyard beach” if you will. 

Below are a few items that will aid you in this tropical transformation, and even come in handy for future warm-weather outings. But really the best part is that now you’ll have a relaxing, convenient hideaway for summers and global pandemics to come. 

Minnidip Inflatable Pool

You’re looking at the item that is single-handedly saving my summer in quarantine. Minnidip makes “designer inflatable pools” — pools with uniquely fun designs that can fit up to three full-grown adults and that make cooling off easy and affordable. Currently, their entire stock is pretty much sold out, but if you don’t feel like waiting for the restock, you can snag one of three patterned pools from QVC, including this exclusive Berry Gingham one.

Caelan Outdoor MgO Concrete Propane Gas Fire Pit Table

Sure, gas fire pits take the fun out of building and lighting a real fire. But they also offer quite a bit in terms of convenience. With this lightweight, weather-resistant fire pit table, you can easily adjust the flame to get that ideal, relaxing fire every time. Plus the sleek, contemporary design makes for a pretty hot centerpiece.

Milos Acacia Bar Table

This bar table from Christopher Knight Home is great because it’s completely weather-resistant, includes two shelves to keep barware stored and liquor easily accessible, and it’s crafted with acacia wood and a powder-coated iron frame construction for a sturdy, stylish entertainment piece. If you’re looking for something a little more minimalistic, this white and grey 3-piece Outdoor Bar set is pricey, but includes seating and gives off some major beach bar vibes. 

Outer Outdoor Sofa

Whether you’re in the market for outdoor chairs, a loveseat or a full-blown sectional, Outer has got you (and your cushions) covered. Each piece of furniture is made from eco-friendly materials and includes an integrated cover that quickly rolls out and over the cushions, protecting them from dirt, morning dew, and other disgusting stuff that lives outside. The multi-layer foam cushions offer the same comfort and support your premium mattress provides for some serious outdoor lounging.

Sunthin 48-Foot LED String of Lights

Tiki torches are tacky and have been co-opted by white supremacists. Consider lighting your outdoor area with these energy-efficient, long-lasting string lights instead. They’ll make your backyard feel ten times cozier, and thanks to their heavy-duty commercial grade wire and weatherproof sockets, they won’t sustain any damage. You can even keep them up all winter, by proof of one Minnesotan who claimed the lights still worked in -40 weather

Nike Paradise Bucket Hat

Protect your head while indulging in the summer’s hottest trend: bucket hats, baby. This Paradise Bucket Hat from Nike is the fun pop of color you should be sporting in your own paradise.

YETI Can Insulators

When YETI released their new and improved line of Rambler can insulators, including one to keep our slimline spiked seltzer cans at the perfect temp, we couldn’t wait to haul them to the beach. Oh if we only knew. Still, the sleek, heavy-duty insulators make for a great outdoor drinking companion just about anywhere, including six feet from your house.

Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

Just ’cause you’re not baking out on the sand doesn’t mean you can forgo your sunscreen application. My go-to is Supergoop’s Unseen Sunscreen, a completely weightless and unscented sunscreen that’ll keep you protected without making you feel like a sticky, goopy mess.


You can still bring the Cornhole and SpikeBall to the backyard, but if you’re looking for an easy, fun and portable game you can get hammered while playing, meet Beeropoly. Players take turns rolling dice and moving around the handmade pinewood board completing a series of beer challenges. All directions and gameplay are laid out on the block, so you only need to bring the beer.

Napoleon Travel Q Portable Propane Grill

While the Napoleon Travel Q is a small grill that’s primed for portability, it can still fit up to 18 burgers and allows for thicker cuts of meat to be cooked due to its dome shape. Featuring sturdy wheels, compact storage and super easy folding, you can set up and start grilling for the entire family without taking up essential outdoor space.

Soleil Beach Umbrella

A delightfully designed beach umbrella that’ll shield you from UV rays and seamlessly tie together your beachside-inspired setting.

Helinox Chair One XL

If you’re looking for a more portable seating option that doesn’t sacrifice comfort, look no further than Helinox’s Chair One XL. The lightweight, fold-up chair features premium 1200-denier polyester — a comfortable woven fabric that not only looks good, but will last for years, thanks to its weather-resistant construction.

Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

Yeah, we’re recommending two pieces of YETI gear because listen, we only want the finest for your oasis. As you may have already heard, YETI recently replaced their Roadie 20 with a new and improved version of the cooler called the Roadie 24. It’s taller than the original Roadie, 10 percent lighter, and it holds 18 cans of beer. And it can fit a bottle of wine.

Prodyne Flip-Lid Appetizers on Ice Tray

This chic, 4-compartment appetizer tray keeps your dips, sauces and favorite hors d’oeuvres chilled for hours.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 3 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

You can’t very well sit outside all afternoon without music, and no, phone is not going to cut it. Invest in a portable, waterproof bluetooth speaker like this one, which looks good and sounds way better than a speaker this size has any business sounding.

Fixed Frame Projection Screen

Movie theaters closed? No problem. This widescreen self-inflates in seconds, making outdoor movie night a breeze.

Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle

Protect your outdoor space from those blood-sucking mosquitos with Murphy’s Naturals Mosquito Repellent Candle. The high concentrations of citronella, cedar wood, rosemary and other oils naturally combat mosquitoes and leave your backyard smelling good and not like a chemical-infused mosquito death trap.

Banach Chair Hammock

Because what’s a backyard beach without a hammock? 

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