3 budget-friendly ways to transform any outdoor space into a staycation oasis

This summer will be one for the history books, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a well-deserved break from the indoors.
Ah, staycation time ...
Ah, staycation time ...Getty Images
By Caroline Moss

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Summer 2020 is off to a, well, interesting start. With COVID-19 cases on the rise, many of us are looking for ways to enjoy a little getaway without risking infection. Enter the staycation.

If you have outdoor space — be it a backyard or a patio or a driveway — there are plenty of ways to spruce up your surroundings while staying safe.

Read on for easy upgrades you can make to any space to make it feel special and new.

If you have a small, narrow patio…

ToyAnimal / Etsy

1. Sarthe Outdoor Rug

Try adding rug or runner in a bright color. Target has a lot of good, inexpensive options for under $50, like this Sarthe Outdoor Rug in a pretty terra cotta.

Make sure the rug is specifically for the outdoors so it can hold up in various weather conditions. If you have a cordless vacuum, you can use it to clean your outdoor rug a few times a month to keep it looking fresh. Some options can even go in a regular washing machine!

2. Hanging Hammock Swing Chair

Match it with an outdoor chair or hammock (like this hybrid hammock chair for under $60). Just make sure you have a place to hang it! To get the macramé look of the inspiration photo above, try this handmade swing on Etsy.

3. Hanging Golden Pothos

Buy some plants from a home-improvement store or nursery. If you don’t have a green thumb, pothos are the easiest plants to care for, and they make a drab space look lush for less than $30.

4. Set of 4 Citronella Candles

Tea lights and citronella candles can add a touch of magic during nighttime hangouts.

If you have don’t have a pool but long to splash...

Dana + David

1. Hastings Steel Round Stock Tank

Stock Tank pools aren't an easy addition, but they’re a cheaper and less complicated option than putting in an actual pool or buying a jacuzzi. If you’re handy or have someone in your household who is, it may be worth trying. As seen above in the backyard of home bloggers Dana and David Morris, these trendy tubs are going big in 2020.

Don’t forget to buy chemicals: Untreated water is a party for breeding mosquitos. Chlorine and shock will help your pool stay clean, clear and bug-free. This piece does a great job of explaining how to install a filter in a galvanized pool and breaks down everything you'll need to maintain it.

If you have a big backyard but can’t fill all the space…

Sara Ligorria-Tramp for Emily Henderson Design

1. Clear Globe Lights

Make a dedicated hangout zone, like the one above designed by stylist Emily Henderson, by marking off a corner of the yard with string lights.

2. Vankyo Leisure Mini Projector

Outdoor movie nights are a cinch with a projector and screen or even a tightly stretched sheet (BYO pillow!).

3. Waterproof Outdoor Blanket

Outdoor blankets are a foolproof way to get cozy outdoors without worrying about ruining any of your good linens. Don’t forget the bug spray!

No matter what the size or shape of your outdoor space, the most important thing to remember is that you want it to be comfortable. Right in the sun? Invest in an umbrella. Just want a quiet place to read? Make sure the seating you buy isn’t just cute — it has to be comfortable, too.

This summer will be one for the history books for sure, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a little sunshine for a well-deserved break from the indoors.