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How to Create a Luxe Backyard Retreat

10 tips for turning your backyard into your own luxe resort

By Tobi Fairley
  • Consider a Cabana

    Create a cozy nook where you can hide away from the paparazzi, the sun, or the neighbors. It can be a permanent structure like the one above that I designed for clients, or it could be a fabric cabana. Both are fun and functional. 

  • Throw Some Shade

    Find umbrellas that have great shape and color like my pink parasols from to give your backyard a more upscale look. My flirty pink umbrellas are unique and fun, and they offer an escape from the rays if you want to keep your porcelain skin healthy and happy. 

  • Zone Out

    Be sure you offer zones for eating, for lounging, and for conversation. They offer inviting spaces to hang out or dine alfresco, and help your outdoor area mimic rooms in a house, which adds comfort for your guests and your family. 

  • Remember the Details

    If you have a pool, offer a towel area like a shelf or cupboard, side tables at each chair for drinks, and maybe even a relaxing water feature. Just like in a home, it’s the details that make an outdoor space special. Invest in big, fluffy towels for that hotel touch, maybe even with a monogram, and consider having a signature cocktail just for your backyard.

  • Be Entertaining

    Add an outdoor bar or kitchen so you can stay outside where the action is while preparing drinks or food. I love this space I designed for clients. It looks just like a hotel poolside café and makes me want to see the menu! 

  • Have a Little Fun

    Add fun touches like games and activities to keep all the kids (young and old) entertained. In my backyard we took advantage of the checkerboard concrete tiles by Techo-Bloc and added a large chess set. We also have our resident inflatable, Flamingo Franny, who spends her days in the pool. 

  • Fire it Up!

    Include an outdoor fireplace or fire pit for after-hours lounging and to keep your outdoor area functioning all the way through the fall. 

  • Curtain Call

    Use outdoor drapery for a super-luxe look. They’re also practical if you design them to be closed for privacy or to block the sun. My curtains outside are primarily decorative, although they do help block the sun in the adjacent sunroom on the back of my home. 

  • Plant It

    Layer in lots of lush plants and flowers to give your backyard the look of a landscaped resort. I made sure to include all my favorite plants and flowers, including hydrangeas, peonies, New Dawn roses, pink begonias, petunias, and lots of boxwood. 

  • Comfort is Key

    Just like indoor rooms, comfort is the No. 1 way you can offer a luxe feeling. Be sure you have plenty of outdoor pillows, footstools, and even blankets for you and your guests. But beware, they may cozy up and never want to leave. 

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