Originally Published on June 29, 2020. Last Updated on August 18, 2022.
When you find yourself needing to stay home instead of traveling for the warmer months, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun! In this post, I’m sharing seven tips for a backyard staycation that will create long-lasting memories and a sense of escape. With the right patio sets, you can increase your home’s “square footage” with additional living spaces.
Your backyard can become an extension of your home by bringing in patio sets to create spaces to dine, relax, and play.
1 — Create a Conversation Area
The first step to creating a backyard staycation that will invite everyone to stay awhile is to create conversation areas. This means having several seating options that are connected so people can sit in different areas but still see each other. It’s also a great idea to have additional chairs or benches that are easy to move.
On my patio, I have three main seating areas with a couple of different patio sets: one for dining and one for lounging.
Under the pergola, with curtains for privacy, there is a comfortable space to relax and chat. Note that the patio furniture set is arranged to face each other.
This arrangement invites conversation with patio set cushions that are deep and comfortable, encouraging everyone to stay awhile.
Off to the side, there is a bench that provides a couple of extra seats. The bench can move easily to be brought closer to the dining area if needed, but it can stay against the house and it is still connected in proximity to the patio sets.
2 — Set Out Buffet-Style Food on the Patio Table
When dining outdoors for your backyard staycation, easy and casual is best. Set out food in a buffet-style (similar to how cruise ships offer their dining experiences) on the patio dining table so you can offer more variety, and you don’t have to worry about place settings.
Put condiments and dining essentials like plates and napkins in a caddy or a tray so they can be carted outside and inside with ease. This also helps with cleanup, as you can load everything on a tray and take it inside when the evening is through.
In the past month, our family has had three birthdays celebrated on our patio and it’s been so nice having quality, durable patio furniture to use and enjoy. Since we live in a small house and don’t have much storage, we keep these sets outdoors year-round. We’ve had our sets sitting on our patio for two years, constantly exposed to the crazy Midwest weather and they haven’t shown any sign of age or wear. They wash or wipe off easily and I love having them ready to go at only a moment’s notice.
3 — Create Ambiance with Lighting
Lighting can transform any space, and your backyard is no exception! Create ambiance on your patio with lighting from different sources. String lights, candles, lanterns, outdoor chandeliers — these all add to the ambiance and give a cozy and inviting vibe that will illuminate your patio sets as the sun goes down.
Solar landscape lighting is an easy way to light up the perimeter of your outdoor space so you can spend more time enjoying your backyard staycation.
Under the pergola, I have string lights that provide most of the illumination, and an outdoor chandelier provides a moodier atmosphere if I turn off the string lights. I love how candles and lanterns next to the patio chairs and patio loveseat enhance the glow in the evening.
4 — Offer a Variety of Drinks
Parties and vacations notoriously have a variety of drinks, so for your backyard staycation, fill party tubs with bottled drinks and cans.
To chill your drinks fast, put the bottles and cans in the party tubs first, then pour the ice over them.
Alcoholic beverages can be kept in an outdoor murphy bar for the evening, which provides convenient storage and a workspace to mix drinks.
5 — Play with Yard Games & Sparklers
The best way to create memories is by playing together as a family. Bring out a variety of games and sparklers for your backyard staycation. Play board games and card games on the patio table, yard games in the grass (bocce ball, badminton, or frisbee), and bring out sparklers once it gets dark.
Something fun you can try as a family with sparklers is to set up a phone or camera, adjust the settings to a slow shutter speed, and try to spell out a word or phrase! This can be a fun challenge since you have to write the letters backward in order to appear forward in the camera.
6 — Keep Bugs Away with Citronella Candles
The one thing that can put a damper on time spent outdoors is bugs. So to make your backyard staycation memorable for something other than lots of bug bites set out citronella candles in several places around the patio furniture sets.
Citronella candles come in different sizes and shapes, so you can add them to tabletops or inside lanterns to keep the bugs at bay.
And don’t forget to put one on the patio table next to the food!
7 — Take Pictures
Lastly, capture the memories of your backyard staycation by taking pictures. Let the kids take their own pictures as well as adults, and get at least one group photo using a camera timer.
Don’t forget to also take pictures of all the effort you put into making your patio look inviting! Then, compile and print all your pictures to make a memory book.
I hope these seven tips for a backyard staycation inspire you to make the time spent staying home unique, memorable, and fun.
Meet the Author
Raised in Alaska, but living in the suburbs of St Louis with her husband, 4 children, and standard poodle, Rachel has a lifelong background in art, and a BS in Family and Consumer Sciences. Her blog, Shades of Blue Interiors, is where she shares DIY projects in and around the home, furniture makeovers, woodworking, and interior design. Her work has been featured in several national magazines, most notably when she appeared on the cover of 100 Ideas Flea Market Style. Her hobbies include genealogy, watching her kids’ soccer games, and brainstorming the next project. Rachel’s passion is using her platform to help others create a home that reflects their unique voice through collected, intentional choices.
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