How to Turn Your Backyard Into a Summer Oasis

A couple of lawn chairs is a good start, but here's how to really go above and beyond.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
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Ahh summer. The brief season between mud season and frozen mud season where porch hangs and to-go cocktails aren’t just expected, they’re encouraged. After so long in quarantine, it doesn’t take much to get a party going in your backyard—setting up the space on the other hand takes some time and effort. 

A couple lawn chairs and a fire pit can always do the trick, but there’s a wide world of bougie outdoor furniture and accessories ready to transform your space. With the help of Sundays’ co-founder Noah Morse, we found the lights, furniture, and projectors that’ll take your yard from an overgrown mosquito nest to a veritable oasis. We’re talking Studio 54 circa 1979...just in terms of sheer popularity, not drug use and tax fraud.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Maui Outdoor Loveseat, Two Lounge Chairs & Coffee Table Set

Price: $1,699
“Outdoor furniture can and should still be super comfortable,” starts Morse, “look for multi-purpose furniture like side tables that can be used as extra seating.”

Most outdoor furniture lives up to the much-deserved reputation of being gaudy pieces of crap designed to be thrown out after a year. This Maui Outdoor Chair & Table Set changed my mind and will probably change yours the moment your tush hits that soft-as-a-baby’s-outdoor-patio-set couch cushion. Updating the tropical aesthetic, this outdoor set is made with a solid wood frame that puts most indoor couches to shame. Plus, you gotta love that included coffee table. Throw one of Sundays’ Afternoon Loungers in the mix and you’re sound as a pound.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Take a Way Portable Table Lamp

Price: $300.56 - $333.88
“My key to creating a summer oasis is keeping things simple,” continues Morse, “the fun doesn't need to stop once the sun starts to set. Solar powered string lights or pendant ball lights create a warm and welcoming ambiance that slowly lights up as the sun goes down.”

Does this thing have a vibe or does this thing have a vibe?! Designed by sculptor, technician, and artist, Arik Levy, this bamboo lamp utilizes the vertical lines made by the bamboo to give off a soft LED glow that instantly chills the mood a few notches.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Barbican Trolley II by Visibility

Price: $495
Nothing makes an outdoor space more inviting than booze. This 
Barbican Trolley II by Visibility bar cart takes a function-forward approach to the outdoor booze holder scene with fresh, multifunctional design. Made from durable, high-quality steel, this bar/utility cart features a wedge-shaped bottom tray for anything from extra bottles of gin to these Face Vessel glasses we all keep trying to buy.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Big Green Egg MiniMax Charcoal Kamado Grill and Smoker

Price: $628.99
Whether you consider yourself a diehard charcoal junky or believe in the clean-burning power of propane and propane accessories, this
Big Green Egg 13 in. MiniMax Charcoal Kamado Grill and Smoker does the job and looks the part. Fueled by wood (like in the olden days), this lightweight grill uses a patented air flow system for maximum temperature control over your meat of choice. Hey, it wouldn’t kill ya to stick a couple vegetables on there too.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Acadia Cornhole Boards

Price: $299.99 
When the beer runs low and the conversation lulls, a couple outdoor games should keep the party going. Constructed rich, solid mahogany and American baltic birch wood, these lightweight and portable
2x4 Acadia Cornhole Boards add a little spatial context to your yard—practically begging to be the center of attention. Choose from two sets of cornhole bags in colors and patterns like marigold yellow and gray dove herringbone.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Solo Stove Bonfire

Price: $254.99
Smoke. It’s been out-of-style longer than wide-legged skinny jeans have been in style, begging the question: why are we still making bonfires the old fashioned way?
Solo Stove Bonfire uses 60° airflow design (via strategically-placed holes) to feed heated oxygen to the flame for a smokeless bonfire that won’t leave you smelling like a Slim Jim for a week. Weighing only 20 pounds, this stainless steel solo stove can be easily moved for optimal placement around the yard. Pro-tip: wherever the stove goes, chairs should follow.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

UE Hyperboom

Price: $399.99
We’ve been fans of Ultimate Ears since the beginning and are proud to say that this thing is the real deal. Designed to deliver exceptional sound for 24 hours straight, the
UE Hyperboom is definitely the most crowd-friendly speaker to come out of their impressive lineup. So, how does such great sound come out of such an innocuous black box? You’ll just have to connect via bluetooth, play the song of the summer (permanently “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire) and hear for yourself.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Anker Nebula Capsule, Smart Wi-Fi Mini Projector

Price: $299.99
Not only can you watch White Lotus
from the comfort of your deck with this Anker Nebula Capsule, but built-in omnidirectional speakers keep you hanging onto every word coming out of Steve Zahn’s sweet, little mouth. Blasting movies, TV shows, or games up to 100 inches big, you can plug this soda can-sized projector plugs into your phone or computer or stream content via Airplay, Miracast, or Bluetooth. Perfect for camping trips, vacations, and White Lotus watch parties. Seriously, just remember to go into it with an open mind.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Glow Solar String Lights

Price: $49.99
The string light industry, as a whole, was way overdue for a makeover. Brightech is doing their part with these
Glow Solar String Lights. A 1.5-watt solar panel harnesses the glow of the sun to provide a soft light that automatically turns on once the sun goes down. A 28’ black cable accented with 12 brass-detailed sockets is a huge departure from the string lights of our childhood, adding a layer of class to the glow of LED lights.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Raised Nest Planter Trellis

Price: $60
“Keep things green,” adds Morse, “embrace vertical items as much as possible -- for example, tall plants will help the backyard feel multidimensional.” This Raised Nest Planter Trellis keeps your herbs, vegetables, and tall plants safe and on display all while softening your outdoor space.

“Plants and vegetable gardens/planters will automatically upgrade your backyard. Everyone spends their time differently in their backyard. Think about how you plan to spend your time in your backyard, then decide on how to achieve it.

Jeremy Glass is a former Thrillist employee and freelance writer living in Vacationland with his wife and daughter. He’s on Twitter as @CandyAndPizza, so go boost his serotonin levels by giving him a follow.
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