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Low Cost Luxuries for Your Outdoor Oasis

A design pro’s 6 easy DIY upgrades give your backyard or patio a ritzy resort feel.

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Courtesy of IKEA
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It doesn’t matter whether we’ve got a sprawling yard, a cozy balcony, a paved patio or screened-porch she-shed. When the weather’s nice, that outdoor space is our effortless, everyday escape, isn’t it? So why not spend an hour or two elevating it from the everyday? There are certain elements that make relaxing by the pool or fountain at an upscale hotel such a delight. To bring those luxury vacation vibes right to your doorstep, Sisters turned to interior designer Yannette Lebrun, founder and owner of YL Designz ( Here are her tips for transforming our ordinary spaces into five-star oases, plus options we found for all those pretty touches. Even better, outdoor furnishings go on sale now!

Flooring: Get Decked Out

If you think you need to hire a landscaper to install an upscale-looking patio or deck surface, think again. If you can assemble Lego models with your grandbaby or niece, you can design a beautiful ground scape for far less money. Define your outdoor room using interlocking tiles made of PVC or similar materials, suggests Lebrun. Many are fabricated with drainage. And some can be used over grass, wood or soil, perfect if there’s no pre-paved patio area or if the lumber on your deck is faded or splintered. For that five-star resort feel, consider interlocking pavers with natural stone facing.

Greatmats StayLock Perforated PVC Plastic Interlocking 1-by-1-foot Outdoor Floor Tiles, 26 pack ($171.34,
Courtyard 11.8-inch-square Stone Interlocking Deck Tiles in Gray ($18.79 per square foot,

Rugs: Carpet Magic

If you do nothing else, add a rug for that rich look. “A unique pattern or pop of color will add interest,” says Lebrun. Accenting an outdoor room with an indoor/outdoor rug anchors the space and ties other décor together. Consider selecting this early in the project, or select one in colors that complement existing outdoor pieces.

Mainstays Palm Indoor/Outdoor Area Rug ($44,
Oasis Moorish Tile Outdoor Rug ($99.95,

Shade: Keep Your Cool

When midafternoon rays are strong, seek cover. Got trees? Then it’s free. If not, an umbrella, collapsible canopy or shade sail are stylish solutions.

9 foot, 10 inch Yellow Triangle Party Sail by Coolaroo ($22.64,
Coleman Instant Canopy with Sunwall 10-by-10-foot in gray ($139.99,

Seating: Sit Pretty

Weather-resistant furniture comes in endless styles. A gorgeous and comfortable floor cushion, ottoman or chairs will transform your outdoor room into a place you can spend hours relaxing. Don’t forget the throw pillows!

Better Homes & Gardens 17-inch Marina Ceramic Garden Stool ($51.00,
JUTHOLMEN Chair, outdoor, dark gray/Kuddarna beige ($80,
Christopher Knight Home Santa Monica Outdoor 3-Piece Oval Bistro Chat Set ($99.64,

Water Feature: Go With the Flow

To evoke the welcoming grace of a courtyard or plaza, bring in the tranquil beauty of a fountain or waterfall. Just don’t be surprised if your new garden feature invites a siesta. The wide frequency range that includes gentle waterfalls, calm ocean waves and steady rain is known as pink noise. Of growing interest to researchers, it’s been associated in small studies to deeper sleep. And, pink noise has similar sound-blocking benefits as white noise to help muffle your neighbor’s barking dog.

Lower Hounsley Resin Modern Sphere Zen Outdoor Floor Water Fountain with Light ($159.99,
17 Stories Concrete Three-Tiered Basin Patio Fountain with LED Light ($236.99,

Lighting: Shine On

Warm summer days are dreamy, but there’s nothing like making memories on a cool summer night. Set the mood with candles, string lights or a lantern. To cast magical shadows and create transporting ambiance, select a lantern with cutouts or filigree.

Portfolio 3.76-by-8-inch Yellow Ceramic LED Light Outdoor Decorative Lantern ($16.98,
Go2garden 2Pack Solar Garden Lanterns ($34.99,