In some ways a resort is the pinnacle of all vacation lodgings. They invoke feelings of exclusivity, luxury, opulence, and ultimate relaxation, where all your needs are anticipated and met. While I can’t promise a dedicated wait staff serving daiquiris out of coconut cups, these tips will have your backyard at least looking like an exclusive resort.
Tip #1: Matching
When going for a resort look you want every seat in the house to feel the same. That’s why resorts stick to the same pieces over and over. No matter what pool lounge or deck chair you pick, you should be getting the same experience as every other guest. Choose one lounger, one chair style, one table, etc. and then repeat it. Everywhere.
Tip #2: Light, Soothing, or Simple Colors
This is not the place to go bold. Choose a two or three-color palette. I prefer to stick to two colors but whatever you choose, keep it simple. White and black, white and any shade of blue, cream, pink, or soft green, are all great choices for a resort look.
Tip #3: Solids and Subtleties
Just like you’re going to keep your colors and forms the same, you’re also going to keep your patterns the same. Solids or simple patterns are your friend. Stripes are always nice but you can mix other patterns as well. Maintain the color scheme and stick to two patterns at most for the entire space.
Pro Tip: If you are using more than one pattern, don’t mix them within a single area. Keep patterns far enough apart to avoid making the space look too busy.
Tip #4: Symmetry
Symmetry is always key but in a resort it’s the key. Symmetry creates a sense of order and calm, and a resort is all about relaxation. Place chaises and umbrellas in a straight line parallel to the pool. You can angle or offset conversation areas but keep the seating symmetrical and structured. Think square, rectangle, or circle. We’re not going for anything organic here.
Tip #5 Multiple Matching Seating Areas
Have multiple types of seating areas- you want plenty of places for people to sit. You can have a section with chaises (maybe by the pool), another with a conversation area with cushioned arm chairs, and another with a dining table. This gives each mini-space its own unique purpose within the larger area.
Tip #6: Self-Serve Bar
Okay, at a resort there would typically be a bartender but this is the backyard. When having guests over make sure they know it’s ok to help themselves to the bar. Keep the area shaded, plenty of ice on hand, store glasses in a cabinet to keep dirt and dust off, and keep a small towel on the bar to take care of any spills.
Tip #7: Towel Pagoda
Any place meant for storing extra towels will work but not only are towel pagodas really cute, they are a quintessential staple of a resort pool. Make sure you include a hamper or basket for used towels.
Tip #8: Place Towels on Chaises
A towel at the end of a chaise longue is just the detail you need to make your pool feel like a resort. A folded towel will do but rolled looks classier. Maybe this isn’t something you want to do everyday but I would certainly do it before having guests over. What better way to show off your hospitality skills than by making your guests feel welcome?
Tip #9: Always Have a Place to Set a Drink
I like to take a page out of Bunny Williams’s book here. You should always have somewhere to set your drink. The same holds true for the outdoors. No one wants to set their drink (or food) on the ground where dirt, grass, and other objects can get into it. Make sure every seat has a place to set drinks or food.
Tip #10: Soft Lighting at Night
Don’t forget the space once the sun goes down. Create a soothing atmosphere by setting up multiple subdued light sources. Think ground up. Yes, you should have lights in the pool but also use solar lights along paths or the perimeter of the yard for defining the space. Add candles, tabletop lanterns, or even a fire table for eye-level lighting. And lastly, don’t forget about “overhead” lights. Add lighting to trees to give the space some height, and place gentle light sources on any structures like the pool house, cabanas, or other buildings.
Follow these ten tips and your own backyard will become your new favorite resort.