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25 Amazing Backyard Entertainment Ideas to Transform Your Outdoor Space in 2022

#1: Build a Fire Pit

Build a Fire Pit

Fire pits make patios multi-season spaces and are one of the best small backyard ideas for entertaining because they extend indoor living outdoors. Some fire pits can accommodate grill plates, transforming humble patios into barbecue areas. Their warmth encourages outdoor living spaces socializing, even in cold weather.

#2: Include a Hammock

Bring the relaxing holiday feeling associated with tropical beach holidays into your outdoor entertainment space with a hammock. If you don’t have trees to support it, you can always opt for one with a stand, a swing chair, or a portable folding hammock.  Available in several styles, these traditional swing beds supply backyards with serenity and sophistication.

#3: Create a Games Area

With a little planning, you can transform your backyard into a game area. Classic bar games like foosball, pool and table tennis are available in outdoor versions designed to resist water and sun damage. Bigger yards might even have room for jungle gyms, treehouses, skateboarding ramps, and tennis courts. For smaller spaces, backyard bocce and cornhole work well.

#4: Enhance Privacy

 Outdoor Space

Wood fences are an outdoor privacy staple, yet there are more creative ways to keep prying eyes at bay. For instance, living walls transform dull spaces into unique gardens with the power of plants. Simple dividers made from old pallets are easy on the wallet, and boxwood hedges offer a pricier but durable option that’s attractive and easy to grow in the sun or shade and a range of soil types.

#5: Beautify the Walls

Vertical gardening is a technique whereby plants are held on a panel suspended vertically, utilizing hydroponics (it’s not the same as hanging pots on a wall.) They’re easy to maintain and take up less space than potted plants. Some areas are as big as 70 feet wide, while others are as small as a picture frame. They also help increase biodiversity in urban environments, offering shelter for birds and insects. 

#6: Add Ambience with String Lights

Backyard Lounge

Festoon and fairy string lights are an all-time favorite, home additions like soft ambiance to backyard settings. Suspended above a dining area, in tree branches, or along a trellis, string lights instantly upgrade a space with a shimmering, cascading effect. The flexibility and versatility of these lights offer unlimited design options.  Advantageously, solar-powered varieties light up yards after dark without increasing energy bulls. 

#7: Create a Living Room

Many are drawn to pared-down, relaxed outdoor lounges. Whether it's the job of a professional designer or DIY project, they create a place of relaxation within the arm’s reach of nature. Hang a few swinging chairs, or tuck in a cozy couch with some stools and a side table, and Viola! You have an outdoor living space. The furniture and design don’t have to be expensive, just comfortable enough to socialize.

#8: Put up a Projector

Level up your backyard entertainment and transform it into an outdoor home theater. A simple projector, large screen, and comfy seats are all you need to enjoy outdoor movie nights with family and friends. Portable mini projectors maintain impressive throw distances, screen sizes, and built-in speakers. As a general rule of thumb, the screen should be the same size as the projector’s maximum image size to ensure sharp and clear picture quality.

#9: Get Your Own Workshop

Kitchen Space

Convert a shed or build a workshop for family hobbies. These are perfect for kids’ arts and crafts because they keep the mess away from the inside and can double up as playrooms.  Traditional wood sheds offer easy lock-up-and-go options, while ones with glass panels possess designer appeal. Whatever your preference, a shed improves garden aesthetics, frees up space, and, if looked after, adds value to your home. 

#10: Build an Amazing Kitchen Space 

Alfresco doesn’t date. Outdoor kitchen remodeling are a worthwhile but sizable investment. So if you’re not all-in on a built-in outdoor kitchen, you can create a makeshift cooking area by curating available items like a table for prep, tiered bar cart,  grill, and cooler. Outdoor kitchen furniture on wheels is one of the best small backyard entertaining ideas because it allows you to utilize the space in different ways without permanent fixtures getting in the way.

#11: Add Shade With a Patio Umbrella

Being subject to the sun’s glare on a warm summer’s day can spoil the vibe. For a backyard entertainment area without shade sails or a pergola, this is easily resolved with a patio umbrella. Practical and versatile, cantilever umbrellas offer movable shade to maximize outdoor hours by the patio or pool. Unlike solid stand umbrellas, these umbrellas provide a solid anchor while remaining easily portable for readjustment and repositioning.

#12: DIY Outdoor Movie Nights

Outdoor Movie Nights

If you want to avoid splurging on a screen, a big white sheet is the most affordable solution that provides a decent image. Screen texture can decrease image quality, so ensure the sheet has a high cotton-thread count. Even the slightest breeze can move the sheet, so be sure to pull the material as taut as possible and secure it to a wall or a DIY frame for extra reinforcement. 

#13: Install Tiki Torches to Fend Off Annoying Bugs

Tiki torches provide atmospheric and inexpensive light for your outdoor entertainment area. Commonly used to illuminate garden paths, flowerbeds, and patios, these torches are also powerful insect repellents when filled with citronella oil. While Hawaiian-themed types spring to mind, there's a variety of modern styles available that are suited to contemporary spaces. Just bear in mind flame size is dependent on the size of the wick, not the torch.

#14: Channel a Resort Experience With a Poolside Bar

Backyard entertainment area ideas stolen from resorts and hotels like a poolside bar provide the perfect spot to entertain guests while staying cool. They’re enjoyed by the whole family, including kids. One of the major benefits of a swim-up bar is that it saves space because it connects your pool to your outdoor kitchen without having to create a separate area for seating. 

#15: Add a Television Set and Snack Bar

swing backyard

Whether standalone or part of a complete kitchen, a bar is a great way to entertain and increase the value of your home. Some bars are built from repurposed objects like barrels and pallets, while others are customized and part of a permanent outdoor kitchen design. Adding a television to your bar area creates the perfect backyard for entertaining sports fans who enjoy socializing over a game.

#16: Install a Swing on Your Favorite Tree

Other outdoor entertainment ideas include investing in swing sets for kids providing kids with hours of fun while developing their motor skills. If your backyard has a strong tree, then ditch the set and opt for a DIY swing. They’re inexpensive and easy to make. Alternatively, if this idea doesn’t thrill you, you might enjoy a swing bench that can double up as comfortable patio furniture. 

#17: Put Up a Basketball Hoop

Make the most of a large yard by installing a basketball hoop. There are permanent wall-mounted hoops and in-ground ones or mobile options that are probably best unless your family is avid basketball players. Opting for a permanent approach requires a little more preparation because you have to find an area with flat ground, consider the position of the sun, and map out a suitably sized playing space.

#18: Make it Comfy with Blankets and Pillows

Make it Comfy with Blankets and Pillows

Outdoors spaces should never skimp on comfort. There are loads of ways to make natural stone seating and outdoor furniture comfortable with pillows, blankets, and custom cushioning.  Entertaining backyard ideas for smaller spaces can utilize bean bags, which roll comfort and functionality into one. Unlike an indoor throw, you’ll want to find high-quality blankets that can withstand the elements and are warm for those chilly nights. 

#19: Add a Fireplace and a Fan for Any Weather

Homes in regions with varied weather benefit from installing fireplaces and fans. These two backyard entertainment ideas ensure your outdoor space remains pleasant throughout the year. Furthermore,  a natural stone fireplace provides the opportunity to create a focal point and can turn into a grill. 

#20: Conceal Yard Tools in a Little Shed

Homeowners tend to store garden equipment in garages, but not everyone has the luxury of space. This is where garden sheds can help bulky store items like mowers, hedge trimmers, and wheelbarrows, as well as small hand-held tools. A-frame, barn, craftsman, workshop, and saltbox styles are all great options. Garden sheds come prefabricated or can be customized to accommodate your storage needs. 

#21: Add a Charming Outdoor Fountain

A fountain can add an elegant touch to any outdoor space. With a new outdoor fountain in your backyard, you can elevate your design, whether looking for a clean, sleek addition, or a more mystical design to emphasize your backyard’s aesthetic while creating a focal point in your space.

#22: Build a Simple yet Cozy Gazebo

Simple yet Cozy Gazebo

A gazebo is a beautiful place for friends and family to gather in your backyard, day or night. This addition has an elegant yet calming impact on your backyard design, adding a picturesque dimension to your yard and providing the perfect space to celebrate.

#23: Relax in an Outdoor Hot Tub

It’s not just about grand, elegant structures and expensive additions to the backyard. One of the backyard favorites is t4e outdoor hot tub, an addition that creates a new space to gather if you have a tiger, a smaller backyard that can’t accommodate all the grandeur of sprawling estates.

Whether built into the pool, sunken on the deck, or standing on their own, hot tubs are a year-round favorite.

#24: Get Closer to Nature with Potted Plants

No matter if your yard is big or small, potted plants add a welcoming, homey addition to your backyard space. As opposed to worrying about the permanence of planting in your garden, you can fill potted plants with colorful flowers or vegetables to add to the design of your backyard.  

#25: Add a DIY Stock Tank Pool

Don’t have the yard for a full-size pool? Don’t let that stop you. A stock tank pool is a great, affordable, and compact solution that allows one or two people to relax in the water - creating the perfect space for those hot summer days. Plus, with a quick look on Pinterest, you can find innovative ways to incorporate this pool into your backyard design.

Check Out Our Backyard Entertainment Projects

Our Backyard Entertainment Projects

Gena + Delena

exterior redesign

We imbued a touch of Colorado into this West Des Moines home. This entailed fixing a broken deck, adding new footings and fascia, as well as New Wesberry Rivier railings. To give the exterior a mountain feel and ensure design consistency, we used the same stone utilized throughout the house on its exterior columns. Landscaping renovations also enhanced the yard of this Colorado-inspired home. 

South of Grand Mid-Century Makeover

home design

Zenith Design + Build gave this home’s upper deck a horizontal, cost-effective railing, as well as a new patio. This complete makeover showcases how cost-effective remodeling can transform a home’s exteriors remodeling. The simple deck offers a scenic view and utilizes space efficiently by providing a roof for the patio below.

Des Moines Southside Mid-Mod Exterior Transformation

This award-winning remodel reused the home’s original California siding due to its unique look and added stainless fixtures and New Marvin Integrity Windows. We added a new back porch with a pergola and outdoor entertainment center by building out the front porch and extending the roofline. This completely transformed a standard and dull entryway into a focal point. 

The Bottom Line

Upgrading outdoor living spaces can improve mental and physical health because it encourages more time spent outdoors. Zenith Design + Build has remodeled many home exteriors and backyards in Des Moines, bringing more joy to homeowners and creating spaces they are proud to inhabit. Contact us to find out how we can reinvigorate your backyard entertainment area.

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