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Everything You Need to Make Your Backyard Staycation-Ready

Condé Nast Traveler logo Condé Nast Traveler 6/24/2020 Madison Flager
a couple of lawn chairs sitting on top of a grass covered field: Summer swimming pool backyard slide © Getty Summer swimming pool backyard slide

As summer travel starts to feel feasible, perhaps in the form of a road trip to reunite with immediate family or a week at a lakeside Airbnb, the reality remains that most of us will be spending a lot of time at home this summer. And since we are all for continuing to take days off, even when you're not going anywhere, the task at hand becomes making your space staycation-ready. To help make your backyard (or balcony, or fire escape) feel more like a getaway, we've rounded up all the supplies you need—from the best outdoor games to patio furniture designed for losing track of time in. Read on for a dozen backyard ideas to use at home this summer.

All products featured in this story are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

a green bowl on a table © Condé Nast Traveler

A pool

There are few backyard ideas more enjoyable on a hot summer day than lounging in a cold pool. If you don't have one in your backyard, or aren't thrilled at the thought of visiting a community pool, you still have options: Break out your HGTV skills and fit out a stock tank, or buy an inflatable pool. The latter has been selling fast, but Funboy has some back in stock.

Buy now: Funboy mini inflatable pool, $59,

© Condé Nast Traveler

Pool floats

If you do have your own pool, you're going to want some floats to lounge on. These are also a hot commodity this summer, but you may have luck finding them at places like Target or Home Depot. Online we again look to Funboy which has a handful back in stock, including this pale pink, palm-frond covered tube. Another great option: This Margaritaville pool lounger, which keeps you high enough above the water to read a book without fear of getting you—or your paperback—wet. (It also has a cupholder to hold whatever you're sipping on).

Buy now: Funboy tube float, $39,

a close up of electronics © Condé Nast Traveler

A portable speaker

If your summer plans usually involve lounging by a hotel pool, recreate some of that ambiance with a good playlist and a portable speaker. Anker makes a waterproof option that can withstand splashes, connects to your phone via Bluetooth or an auxiliary cord, and lasts for up to 24 hours on one charge. It also weighs less than two pounds and is only six inches long, so it's easy to pack when you do leave home.

Buy now: Anker Bluetooth speaker, $40,

© Condé Nast Traveler


Games like Giant Jenga, bocce ball, croquet, and badminton are often found at hotels and resorts, but they're just as fun at home. Add a game set or two to your backyard and give your family something new to try on lazy Sunday afternoons.

Buy now: Sunnylife Malibu badminton set, $35,

a close up of a tent © Condé Nast Traveler

A tent and sleeping bags

Summer reservations at national parks are filling up fast. If you'd prefer to skip the crowds (and stick within walking distance of your own shower), camping out in your backyard can be just as fun. Get a big, family-size tent like this one from REI, grab a few pillows and sleeping bags (the duo behind Clever Hiker recommends REI's Magma 15 bags), and enjoy the great outdoors without sacrificing creature comforts.

Buy now: REI Kingdom 4 tent, $429,

© Condé Nast Traveler

A fire pit

Roasting s'mores is more fun over an actual fire—and you can easily cue up an open flame in your own backyard. This weather-resistant steel pit can take the place of your beach- or lakeside bonfire this summer, and will help you make use of your backyard into the fall and early winter (or even year-round, depending on where you live).

Buy now: Endless Summer fire pit, $227,

a wooden table © Condé Nast Traveler


If you can't swing on a hammock in the tropics this summer, you can at least bring that energy to your backyard. We've rounded up our favorite hammocks, suited to different spaces, but if you have a good amount of grass at your disposal we recommend splurging on an Outsunny hammock, which sits in an arched wooden frame and promises to mentally transport you.

Buy now: Outsunny wooden hammock, $500,

a close up of a chair © Condé Nast Traveler

Comfortable chairs

One of the luxuries of vacation is having no set schedule: You are free to plop down and watch the sunset, flip through your favorite magazine, or sip a glass of wine whenever you want. Create a space for doing all the above at home, with folding Adirondack chairs (a staple in the South), which are easy to tuck away when you're short on space. Also worth considering is this foldable rocking chair, from Amazon Basics, or a reclining chair that you can nap in, like this zero-gravity chair from Caravan Canopy.

Buy now: Folding Adirondack chair, $186,

a group of lawn chairs sitting on top of a table © Condé Nast Traveler

Bistro set

Staying home in a city usually requires getting creative with limited outdoor space, and bistro sets have possibly the smallest footprint of any table-and-chair set-up. This sturdy Canora Grey set from Wayfair is best for balconies or small backyards, while this fold-up set works as a temporary option fit for a fire escape (just be sure to place something solid underneath, like a bamboo bath mat).

Buy now: Hazelden three-piece bistro set, $426,

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Beach towels

Whether you're using them to dry off after the pool or drape over your chair, a few plush towels will get plenty of use this summer. Serena & Lily's Mallorca towel is ultra-soft, thick, and ideal for at-home use (especially since it's a little too bulky to pack in a suitcase). For more space to spread out, we love Matouk's Tulum Pom Trim towel, which measures an extra-wide 60" by 70". Pro tip: If you're laying out on the grass or beside the pool, put a yoga mat beneath your towel for some added cushion.

Buy now: Mallorca towel, $58,

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Outdoor blankets

Picnics, like camping, are way easier when they're done right in your own backyard. Spread out an outdoor blanket like this easy-to-clean fold-up blanket from Nordstrom, or Snowe Home's outdoor throw. With your kitchen close by, bringing out your elaborate spread—and restocking as needed—will be a breeze.

Buy now: Snowe outdoor throw, $35,

a vase sitting on top of a wooden chair © Condé Nast Traveler


Regardless of the size of your outdoor space, lighting helps for obvious practical reasons, while also delivering a bit of ambiance. Loop some string lights around your balcony, or pick out a cool lantern to hang—Jungalow makes gorgeous rattan lanterns that you can place candles in, while this Carrie portable LED lantern looks just as good indoors as it does outside. If you live somewhere buggy, consider one that'll keep insects away, like this Flowtron light.

Buy now: Large rattan lantern set, $190,

© Condé Nast Traveler

A grill

If months of cooking at home has you bored in the kitchen, it's time to start grilling. While we have a handful of recommended grills that work for all needs (and budgets), the all-purpose Kamado Joe Classic is among our favorites. Use it to grill, smoke, and sear, but also to make pizza, bread, or desserts, and you'll hardly be bored of cooking any longer.

Buy now: Kamodo Joe Classic III, $1,700,

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A cooler

Ordering cocktails by the pool may not be an option this summer, but you can keep your drinks and snacks cold in this stainless steel rolling ice chest, which has a bottle opener on one side and a shelf below for storage. It can also keep contents cold for a whopping 48 hours. For even more outdoor storage, this Fuori serving trolley is an investment piece that you'll be happy to roll out year after year.

Buy now: Rolling ice chest, $130,

© Condé Nast Traveler

Wine chiller

Ideal for picnics, dinners al fresco, or lazy afternoons poolside, Vinglacé's double-walled, vacuum-insulated wine chiller will keep your bottle of white wine, rosé, or Champagne cold for up to four hours (you could put a bottle of water or seltzer inside, too). It's the kind of thing you probably didn't know existed, but will be happy to have when the temperatures start to creep up. Pair it with Corksicle's insulated stemless wine glasses, which keep everything from iced coffee to that crisp Sancerre chilled in the sun (plus, going glass-free is always safer, should you knock it over poolside).

Buy now: Vinglacé wine bottle chiller, $90,

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