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How to Build a Private Exclusive Island in Your Own Backyard

Jesse Broadt:  Contributor

backyard oasis with fireplace

If you are like many people, you enjoy an outstanding vacation atmosphere with all the bells and whistles.

However, you may be concerned about being able to travel safely or simply don’t want the hassle and expense of a trip right now. The thought of a “staycation” may not seem appealing either, though. In fact, you may even consider the term synonymous with boring. This is because it probably conjures up images of sitting at home doing nothing or worse yet, filling up your free hours with mundane projects and monotonous tasks around the house.

For a moment, however, imagine you have an alternative that would give you the best of both worlds: no travel hassles, no unexpected expenses, and no safety concerns; just a vacation environment tailored to your exact taste and preference. If that sounds like an attractive option, you should begin at once to create an exclusive, private island for you and your family in your own backyard. Despite what you may be thinking, it is not as difficult as it sounds. Below are some innovative ways to transform your property from ordinary to extraordinary and design a backyard resort that will make you the envy of your neighborhood.

Endless Possibilities with Outdoor Decking

 The addition of a deck is a terrific place to begin when designing your outdoor palace. Whether you choose a conventional structure or something trendy, it is an investment you will be glad you made.

In the world of outdoor decking, both the island and the floating deck are currently competing for first place as the most popular option. The advantage of such flooring is that it can be placed anywhere. Such decks do not have to be attached to your house or any other structure. Therefore, a floating island can be used for your primary outdoor living space or you can choose a small corner of your yard to tuck away a miniature island deck for a designated purpose.

Once installed, the deck can be used as a grilling area, a fitness platform for sunrise yoga routines, a relaxation zone for mom and dad, or a play area for the little ones. The installation of an island deck is also a great way to conceal problem areas on your lawn. Any part of your property that has become a source of frustration or an eyesore can be turned into a beautiful spot that allows you to get away without ever leaving home.

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Create Your Own Lovely Pond or Other Water Feature

 A backyard pond with tranquil, moving water helps create the ideal setting in which to enjoy a morning cappuccino, view an evening sunset, indulge in some birdwatching, have a cocktail, or even meditate or pray. Whatever your preferences, this private oasis conveniently located on your own property will quickly become your personal sanctuary. A pond also attracts butterflies, birds and frogs, and these sounds of nature are guaranteed to make you feel as if you are in a faraway holiday destination.

Don’t overlook outdoor fountains when landscaping your exclusive backyard island. The serenity of a flowing fountain relaxes your mind and creates the illusion of being in a five star resort. Water features also help mute traffic noise and other sounds of neighborhood activity.

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Hardscapes Add Depth and Texture

If your property has a backyard that features various levels, don’t be afraid to get creative and hardscape. Such additions add great resort style touches to your garden areas and patio. If your landscaping is multilevel, you can add a few steps as well, as this helps to designate different, secluded areas. Combined with the appropriate greenery, a gorgeous, 5-star hotel look can be achieved in no time.

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From Trendy to Traditional, Rock Gardens Rock

 A rock garden is always a beautiful addition to any property, and virtually all classy resorts have at least one of these interesting creations on site. You can purchase rocks or literally go on a “rock hunt” to find what you want. Just make sure to vary the shape and size of the rocks, and use a mix of supportive materials, such as gravel, pebbles or small stones for the spaces in between.

Use several well positioned large rocks as main focal points to anchor the space. You should also allow room for plants to grow. Gravel or complementary stones can then be placed around the bigger rocks for design unification. Slightly varying the tone and color of supportive materials lens visual interest and contrast as well. However, you should avoid making the design look too busy by laying out the same gravel and pebbles in organized swaths, rather than mixing too many different materials together.

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Warm Up With Your Stay-at-Home Resort Fire Pit

A resort style outdoor fireplace is an easy addition to any property, and a fire pit or fireplace can be found to match any budget or preference. Modular fireplace sets made from pavers with separate, prefab pieces are available to create any heated outside living space you have in mind.

With the addition of a pit or fireplace, you can forget the hustle and bustle of everyday life and end your “staycation” days with a fireside chat, a marshmallow roast, or even an old-fashioned campfire sing-along. Nothing makes you feel more like a vacationer than one of these cozy structures. Choose from various options, such as a traditional fireplace, a circular stone-wall pit, or a square “chimney on the ground” style fire pit. You’ll be amazed at how often you use the simple structure in your outdoor palace.

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Pretty Up Your Porch

 Bring a tropical touch to your home resort with a porch swing accented by pieces in rattan and natural wood. You may also choose to decorate your porch with a small bistro set for an elegant and attractive touch. A patio carpet placed underneath the set provides a superb accent.

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An Attractive Gazebo Retreat

 A gazebo is that quintessential item that can instantly transform your backyard into your own personal sanctuary. Models of all shapes and sizes are available, and you can choose from open air designs to those with mosquito netting or screens. For a tropical resort appearance, add bamboo or wood outdoor furniture and Tiki lights.

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A Well-Placed Garden Arbor Adds Beauty and Charm

Adding a garden arboror even more than onehelps create a cozy, resort style look. Select wood, bamboo, metal, or even wrought iron, or add more than one in different materials for variety.

Choose a simple square design, a round top, or a gazebo with a fancy peak. You can opt for a natural look or paint the gazebo a bright color to create a light, whimsical appearance. Consider allowing vines to grow up the sides of the arbor for an attractive finishing touch.

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Create Moments in Your Outdoor Space

 Many resorts have numerous seating areas around the property to let various groups of guests enjoy a certain level of privacy. If your property is large enough, consider creating such areas for distinct uses.

This is easy to accomplish by using things like a square patio rug on which you can place a table and several chairs. You can then use an additional rug or floor covering on which to place loungers or even ultra-casual seating, such as bean bag chairs or cubes. Areas can be divided further by shrubs or small trees.

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No Wrong Place for a Bench

 Stone or wooden benches are always a nice addition to any property, but they are definitely a staple for a backyard resort.

Rarely do you see hotel property without strategically placed benches for guests to take a break from a walk or simply relax and take in the sights.

Depending on the size of your property, you can invest in one or several and add throw pillows, cushions or other accessories to make them a bit fancier.

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Hang a Hammock or Two

Enjoy your summer reading list in a comfortable hammock.

A staple of many wellness resorts, a hammock creates calming brain waves due to its motion and texture.

If you are planning to unwind and relax during your “staycation,” a hammock is a must-have.

There is a virtually unlimited number of styles from which to choose, so take your time and pick the best hammock for your outdoor palace.

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Backyard Daybeds for a Touch of Luxury

Consider adding a luxurious backyard daybed to your personal island retreat. Not only will this enhance the decor of your outdoor living area, it will give you a posh, comfortable place to crash that mimics the ultimate luxury resort experience.

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Pond-Side Dining in Your Personal Outdoor Kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is an outstanding option if you enjoy eating in the open air. You can use a simple, portable grill with a rolling cart that features shelves or opt for a prefab, drop-in gas grill that includes a tile counter, stucco clad island and bar size refrigerator.

You also have the option of designing a custom kitchen and having it installed with full-size appliances, counter space and a roof. Larger layouts often include in-ground utilities and extensive lighting.

If you really want to feel like you’ve gone five-star all the way, erect a proper table to dine alfresco. Ditch the plastic cups and paper plates and create a fancy table with placemats, flatware, cloth napkins, candles and a vase of flowers just like resort restaurants do for their guests.

Use comfortable, padded chairs and lounge furniture to complete the look of your outdoor dining area. Don’t forget to position an appropriate number of side tables and loungers for your friends to use while sipping cocktails and umbrella drinks.

Be cautious, however: your guests may choose your backyard for their next getaway.

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Get Vacation Festive with an Outdoor Bar

Just as outdoor dining is a must-do when vacationing, an outdoor bar is an essential part of your staycation resort.

Outdoor bars can include keg taps, sinks, and insulated wine refrigerators.

You may also opt for an outdoor bar cart that can be easily wheeled from one space to the next.

Outdoor bar supplies and how tos at

Float in Your Backyard Sanctuary with Palm Pool Floats and Underwater Chairs

 If you have your own pool, don’t forget to spice up the poolside area with new loungers, and extra tables and chairs. However, remember to think outside the box when creating a vacation style pool. 

For example, don’t just set up loungers outside of the pool, use underwater chairs, which have taken the market by storm, and invest in some palm pool floats as well. 

They not only give you something comfortable to lounge on, they also enhance the space in a fun and trendy way.

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Enjoy a Backyard Movie Theater

 One surefire way to feel like you are on vacation is to design your own outdoor movie theater.

This is as simple as adding a projection screen and playing your favorites in the open air. Have friends and relatives over for “dinner and a movie” and be the toast of the town.

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Time for a She Shed

Man caves are talked about all the time, but she sheds are a necessity as well.

While the men are arguing over who’s the best chef at the barbecue pit, the gals can design a she shed for a place to escape and have some girl talk or to hide out in an exclusive mini resort of their own.

These structures can be designed from prefab kits, or you can even create your own with simple items such as a canopy and an eclectic array of furnishings.

You can also repurpose an existing shed merely by adding a feminine touch on the inside.

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Before you complete your backyard resort, remember to add lighting and stock up on necessary accessories such as outdoor blankets, beach towels, cushions, cocktail glasses, beach umbrellas and sunscreen.

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