We may be compensated if you purchase through links on our website. Our Reviews Team is committed to delivering honest, objective, and independent reviews on home products and services.More

How To Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

Consider lighting, space, greenery, color scheme, shade, and more when designing your backyard space.

Author Icon By Stephanie Koncewicz Updated 01/14/2024

As the weather warms, you’re likely considering spending more time outdoors. Now is the time to start building or sprucing up your backyard oasis with new greenery or special features, such as a fountain, firepit, or outdoor kitchen space.

An outdoor space you enjoy can pay off in many ways. Aside from having a spot to enjoy with friends and family, studies show that spending time in green, natural environments helps memory and thinking. A backyard revamp can also boost your home’s value if you’re looking for a financial return on investment in the future.


8 Ways To Create Your Relaxing Backyard Oasis

You can create your backyard oasis on a budget or splurge on multiple elements. Either way, consider these eight ideas as you draft your plan.

Build a Deck or Patio Space

If you’re starting with a lawn and no space to set up chairs, you can consider adding a deck or patio space. You can set up a seating area, a grill, a fire pit, and more in a level and mud-free zone. You might add sliding patio doors to your home to make it easy to bring food in and out to the grill and picnic table. 

A deck will typically cost $5,000–$10,000 to build, but you can expect about a 70% return on investment if you eventually sell your home.*

*Project estimate from Angi

Include Outdoor Lighting

The right lighting can make your backyard oasis a place you can enjoy into the night. It can also make a vast difference near any workstation, such as an outdoor kitchen or grill you want to access after sunset.

You have many lighting options, and these don’t have to add much to your monthly costs if you consider outdoor solar lights that convert sunlight into energy.

You can add ambiance and festive sparkle to your backyard oasis by strategically hanging string lights (including solar-powered options) around the area. Flickering solar torch lamps are also great for accentuating the nearby foliage or for illuminating a path.

QUICK Tip
It is also a good idea to incorporate motion-activated lights so anyone stepping into the yard can see potential hazards.

Embrace Plants and Greenery

No backyard oasis is complete without lush, colorful plants to make you feel like you are in your own corner of paradise. Strategically placed shrubbery and tall plants can also offer privacy without relying on fencing. 

You can use a raised garden bed to get extra height for your plants and increase your privacy from nearby neighbors. And, if you don’t want to break ground for planting, you can place potted plants around your deck or patio area. 

Specific plants can also keep annoying bugs away. According to the Mississippi State University Extension Service, plants such as basil, bee balm, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, mint, and rosemary can repel mosquitoes. Catnip can, too, but it may also attract any nearby cats. 

Incorporate a Color Scheme

Make your backyard oasis your own by selecting a color scheme to create a mood. To find which shades work best together, try building on color theory. Warm colors include tones such as oranges, yellows, and reds, whereas cool ones encompass blue and green hues.

If you’re not sure what color scheme works best, you can choose earth tones, which draw from the neutral colors of the earth itself, as well as plants and water.

To enjoy your backyard oasis in style, include some seating, such as a carefree swing, hammock, or an outdoor sofa, using your selected colors. Choose fabrics that will withstand the elements, dry quickly, and clean easily. Canvas, duck cloth, vinyl, or olefin fiber are good choices.

To tie it all together, a rug incorporating the same color scheme, perhaps with an interesting pattern, can complete the look and help define the area for entertaining.

Create Shade

Shade is key for enjoying your backyard space when the heat is on during the peak of summer.

You can start with building your deck or patio on the side of the house that gets the most shade during the time of day that you typically will use it. For example, if you want to sit outside in the late afternoon or evening, place your patio on the east side of your house to get shade from the house itself. 

You can also use greenery, such as tall plants or leafy trees, to foster shade.

Depending on your budget, you can add a strategically placed umbrella or choose a retractable awning, pergola, or gazebo. You may also add outdoor shades or a removable cover to these structures for added sun protection.

If you have room for a gazebo, this can be a focal point in your backyard oasis. A gazebo isn’t a small expense, though; it will likely run you at least $3,000 to $6,000 or more for a 9-foot-diameter structure. Meanwhile, a retractable awning may be a more budget-friendly option, usually costing as little as $200 for a more basic model to $3,500 for a more elaborate one, based on our secret shopping.

Add a Water Feature

Add some serenity to your backyard oasis with a water feature. Studies show that a waterscape can improve your mental health, making it more than just a pretty addition to your backyard. 

If you’re worried about wasting resources or increasing your water bill, you can install a water feature that reuses rain water.

Create a Space for Meals

Having space to cook and enjoy meals can also enhance your outdoor oasis. A cooking space can be as elaborate or simple as you need it to be. It can range from a simple stand-alone gas grill to an outdoor kitchen with a sink, refrigerator, and maybe even a pizza oven

Of course, you’ll also want some comfortable seating to relax as you dine alfresco with your family or friends.

Build a Comfortable Fire Space

Don’t forget to include a fire feature, which can serve as a focal point for your backyard oasis. Your friends and family can gather around a firepit or a classic outdoor fireplace on chilly nights into the cooler seasons.

A firepit table is a great way to easily incorporate this feature. You can select one to suit your space and do double time as a place to rest drinks. Don’t forget to bring your marshmallows to make s’mores while swapping ghost stories.


Tips for Making a Backyard Oasis a Reality

To get your backyard oasis off the ground, you need a game plan.

1. Plan Out Your Vision

Before you begin, clarify your vision by answering a few questions:

How much space is available? 
Will you include a cooking area? 
Are you planning on entertaining? 
What kind of atmosphere are you hoping to create? 
What type of lighting do you need?
Do you need to add features for shade or privacy?

You’ll also need to consider your timeline and budget. Do you have enough time to finish before the season changes? Perhaps you choose to tackle your backyard oasis project across two years so you’re not under construction during the summer months.

If you’re on a budget, list out all the things you want for your backyard project and add cost estimates to each item. You can then prioritize at the start of your project so you’re happy with the backyard and your wallet.

2. Consider DIY or Hiring a Professional

While you may tackle some of the elements on your to-do list yourself, you may need to recruit professional help for the heavy lifting or more complicated pieces of the project. 

If hiring a professional isn’t in your budget, you can swap out items to do it all yourself. For example, you could choose solar lighting that doesn’t need an electrician to wire.


Our Conclusion

Your backyard oasis project can be as small or large as you want. Whatever the size, make sure you have a clear vision and implementation plan before getting started. And, before you know it, you will be in your backyard oasis, soaking in the serenity with a frosty drink or firepit s’mores.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.