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A Guide to Outdoor Space Upgrades For Your Short-Term Rental

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A Guide to Outdoor Space Upgrades For Your Short-Term Rental

From fire pits to an outdoor dining area, learn how to create an outdoor oasis with greenery and landscaping that captivates guests and boosts bookings.

backyard relaxation

Enhancing your vacation rental property with a well-designed outdoor area can make a dramatic difference in attracting guests. Whether it's a stylish outdoor kitchen for al fresco dining or a porch swing where guests can enjoy fresh air, investing in outdoor space is key for successful vacation rentals. This guide offers landscape design ideas to transform your backyard into an inviting outdoor oasis. Continue reading for valuable tips on creating a captivating and functional outdoor area tailored specifically for Airbnb hosts.

Understanding the Value of Outdoor Spaces in Short-Term Rentals

In short-term rentals, the backyard often makes a lasting first impression. A well-kept backyard with inviting features like a hammock or fire pit immediately signals a welcoming and enjoyable stay. These outdoor spaces capture the attention of potential Airbnb guests, setting your property apart in the competitive rental market.

backyard with pool

A backyard with appealing amenities can significantly increase bookings. Features like outdoor dining areas, comfortable seating, and leisure elements like hot tubs or swimming pools offer guests extra space for relaxation and entertainment, enhancing their overall experience. This not only leads to more bookings but also elevates guest satisfaction, often reflected in positive reviews. A thoughtfully designed backyard not only makes your Airbnb listing more attractive but can also justify a higher rental rate, increasing your revenue potential.

Key Elements of a Successful Airbnb Outdoor Area

Ready to start planning your short-term rental outdoor oasis? Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

Landscaping and Greenery

Purposeful Planting: Use plants and flowers to create a welcoming atmosphere. Choose low-maintenance and native plants for ease of care.

Lawn Care: A well-maintained lawn is essential. Regular mowing, watering, and fertilizing can keep the grass vibrant and inviting. Be sure to negotiate with your property manager to include lawn maintenance.

well-maintained lawn

Strategic Greenery: Use shrubs and trees to provide privacy and shade, enhancing the backyard's comfort and appeal. Here are a few options of plants that make excellent choices for creating natural privacy screens and shade:

  • Bamboo
  • Arborvitae
  • Boxwood
  • Holly
  • Ficus
  • Cypress

Seating Areas and Furniture

Comfort is Key: Invest in high-quality, weather-resistant outdoor furniture. Remember, your guests won’t always remember to take the cushions inside when it starts raining. Include a variety of seating options like sofas, hammocks, and porch swings to cater to different guest preferences. Consider adding a pergola to the mix with plants and string lights to create a comfortable and relaxing sitting area with plenty of shade for hot days.

Style Matters: Choose furniture that complements the overall design of your property. Stylish furniture can elevate the aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space.

Flexible Arrangements: Consider modular furniture that can be rearranged to suit different group sizes or occasions.

Seating Area

Outdoor Lighting

Mood Lighting: Incorporate string lights or lanterns to create a warm and inviting ambiance. This is especially important for evenings and night-time enjoyment.

Safety and Functionality: Ensure pathways and dining areas are well-lit for safety and usability after dark. Consider motion sensor lighting so your guests don’t have to fumble around in the dark to turn the lights on.

Eco-friendly Options: Consider solar-powered lights for an eco-friendly and low-maintenance lighting solution.

outdoor lighting

Dining and Cooking

Al Fresco Setup: Create a dedicated outdoor dining area with a sturdy table and comfortable chairs. Add an umbrella to the setup to offer an option for shade.

Outdoor Kitchen: If space and budget allow, an outdoor kitchen with a grill or pizza oven can offer guests a unique culinary experience.

Convenience Features: Include unique amenities like a mini-fridge or a bar area to make outdoor dining more enjoyable and convenient.

outdoor dinning

Relaxation Features

Hot Tub and Fire Pit: Add a hot tub or a fire pit as a centerpiece for relaxation and socializing. They can be especially appealing for romantic getaways or cool evenings. Take a look at our hot tubs guide here.

Lounging Options: Provide various lounging options like hammocks or chaise lounges, ideal for relaxation or sunbathing.

Consider Privacy: Ensure these relaxation areas are positioned for maximum privacy, making them more appealing to guests seeking a tranquil experience.

hot tub

Lawn Games

Selection of Games: Introduce lawn games that cater to all ages and interests. Classic options like cornhole, bocce ball, or horseshoes are easy to set up and popular among guests. For families with children, consider games like lawn bowling or giant Jenga. Make sure to include these details in your property description/amenities to ensure your property shows up when someone searches for these types of amenities. Learn how to update these details in OwnerRez here.

Storage and Maintenance: Ensure these games are easily accessible and well-maintained. Store them in a weatherproof container or dedicated area to keep them in good condition.

Safety Considerations: Place the games in a flat, open area of the lawn to avoid accidents and ensure they don't interfere with other backyard activities.

Lawn Games


Ease of Movement: Ensure that paths and walkways in your outdoor area are wide and clear, accommodating guests with mobility challenges. Avoid uneven surfaces and provide ramps where necessary.

Seating Adaptations: Include seating options of varying heights and support levels. Consider having at least one area with armrests and back support suitable for elderly guests or those with mobility issues.

Accessible Amenities: If your budget allows, consider installing an accessible hot tub or pool with steps and handrails. For dining areas, ensure there’s enough space around the table for a wheelchair or a walker.

Signage and Lighting: Clearly mark any potential hazards with signage and ensure that the outdoor area is well-lit for safety and ease of navigation.

Each of these elements contributes to creating a backyard that not only looks attractive in Airbnb listings but also delivers on guest expectations for comfort, relaxation, and functionality. Make sure to list your accessibility amenities inside OwnerRez so your property shows up in search on Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, etc. 

Accessibility Amenities in OwnerRez

Creative Design Ideas for Airbnb Backyards

Let’s take a look at some creative DIY design ideas for your outdoor space:

DIY Projects for Outdoor Spaces

Tapping into DIY projects can be a cost-effective way to elevate your Airbnb's backyard. For instance, building a simple fire pit can become a focal point for evening gatherings. It's a project that requires minimal materials and can be completed over a weekend. Another DIY favorite is installing a hammock. It's straightforward and instantly adds a relaxed vibe to the space. Such DIY additions not only improve the aesthetic appeal but also provide functional elements that guests can enjoy.

outdoor theater

When it comes to landscaping, Airbnb hosts face the decision between professional services and DIY efforts. A professional landscaper can transform a backyard into a well-orchestrated outdoor space, considering aspects like climate-appropriate plants and irrigation systems. However, for those on a budget, DIY landscaping can also be effective. Simple tasks like adding potted plants, creating flower beds, or installing a small water feature can significantly enhance the backyard's charm. The key is to assess your skill level and budget and choose an approach that aligns with your property’s needs.

Themed Backyards for a Unique Guest Experience

Creating a themed backyard can set your Airbnb listing apart. For instance, a tropical oasis theme, complete with bamboo fencing, tropical plants, and a small sandpit, can transport guests to a beach-like setting. Alternatively, a modern retreat theme with minimalist furniture, geometric patterns, and a sleek fire pit can appeal to guests who appreciate contemporary design. These themes can create immersive experiences, making your property memorable and more likely to attract repeat bookings. Learn more about themed vacation rentals by reading out guide here.

Maximizing Limited Spaces with Smart Design

Not all properties boast spacious backyards, but even small outdoor areas can be turned into inviting spaces. The key is to focus on multi-functional furniture, such as benches that double as storage or foldable chairs and tables. Vertical gardening is another space-saving strategy that adds greenery without occupying much ground area. For tiny spaces, a focus on details like decorative cushions, hanging lights, or a small water feature can make a significant impact. By smartly utilizing the available space, you can create a cozy and attractive backyard area that delights guests.

Limited Spaces with Smart Design backyard

Seasonal Adaptations and Maintenance for Your Airbnb Outdoor Space

Creating a welcoming outdoor area for your Airbnb involves thoughtful adaptations for each season. In the summer, the focus should be on providing ample shade and cooling options. Installing umbrellas or a retractable awning can make the outdoor area comfortable even during the hottest days. Consider a misting system for an added cooling effect. As autumn approaches, the introduction of outdoor heaters or a cozy fire pit can transform your space into a warm retreat, perfect for crisp evenings. Adding blankets and seasonal throw pillows enhances this ambiance.

Winter demands more robust adaptations, especially in colder climates. Protect your outdoor furniture with weather-resistant covers and provide snow removal tools for guests. Heated lamps can be a great addition to encourage outdoor lounging even in chilly weather. With the arrival of spring, it’s time to rejuvenate your outdoor space. Planting seasonal flowers, cleaning up any leftover debris from winter, and preparing your garden for summer are key steps to ensure your backyard is spring-ready.

backyard cozy space

Regular Maintenance for an Inviting Outdoor Area

Maintaining an attractive and functional outdoor space requires regular care. This includes frequent inspections for any wear and tear, especially on outdoor furniture and play equipment. Cleanliness is crucial – keeping furniture, grills, and decorative elements clean not only makes the space more inviting but also prolongs the lifespan of these items. Your greenery needs regular attention too; ensure your lawn is mowed, plants are watered, and the garden is free from pests. Don't forget to check electronic and cooking equipment to ensure everything is in working order.

Marketing Your Airbnb's Outdoor Space

When marketing your Airbnb, the presentation of your outdoor space can make a significant difference. High-quality photographs that capture the essence and beauty of your outdoor area are essential. These photos should represent the space in various lights – from the warm glow of a morning to the serene ambiance of an evening setting. In your listing’s description, use vivid and engaging language to describe the outdoor area. Highlight its best features, like a sun-drenched patio, a tranquil garden, or a fire pit that’s perfect for social evenings.

couple enjoying the backyard

Guest reviews are a powerful tool for showcasing the real-world appeal of your outdoor space. Encourage guests to mention their favorite outdoor features in their reviews. Feature these testimonials prominently in your listing to give potential guests a glimpse into the experiences your space can offer. Regularly update your listing with the latest positive comments, focusing on those that highlight unique and enjoyable experiences like family barbecues or peaceful afternoons in the hammock. Learn how to manage reviews within OwnerRez here.

Legal and Safety Considerations for Airbnb Outdoor Spaces

When setting up your Airbnb’s outdoor space, it’s crucial to adhere to Airbnb’s policies, especially concerning security and privacy. If you're considering installing security cameras or other surveillance devices in outdoor areas, you must fully comply with Airbnb's rules. This includes:

  • Transparency: Clearly disclose the presence and location of all security cameras or other recording devices in your listing description.
  • Privacy: Ensure that these devices are not placed in private areas where guests expect privacy, like swimming pool areas or inside any rental spaces.

It's important to be transparent with guests about any security measures to maintain trust and avoid any privacy concerns.

Safety Tips for Outdoor Features

Safety is paramount when offering amenities like swimming pools and fire pits. Here are some key considerations:

Swimming Pools: Ensure your pool area is secured, preferably with a locked gate, to prevent unsupervised access, especially by children. Regularly check and maintain pool safety equipment, including life rings and pool alarms. Post safety instructions and depth markers clearly. Consider providing information about the nearest emergency services.

Fire Pits: Fire pits should be positioned away from flammable materials and overhanging trees. Provide a fire extinguisher or bucket of water nearby for emergencies. Clearly instruct guests on how to safely use and extinguish the fire pit. It’s also advisable to establish and communicate rules, such as no unattended fires and a cut-off time for use to prevent late-night disturbances.

Fire Pit

By ensuring compliance with legal requirements and prioritizing the safety of your guests, you not only protect yourself and your property but also provide a secure and enjoyable experience for your visitors. This attention to legal and safety details is essential for maintaining a high standard of hospitality and ensuring the well-being of all guests during their stay.

Ready to Elevate Your Outdoor Space?

Transforming your Airbnb's outdoor area can significantly boost your rental's appeal and guest satisfaction. We hope this guide inspires you to create an inviting and functional backyard oasis for your guests. Remember, even small changes can make a big difference!

OwnerRez has a wealth of guides and resources tailored specifically for short-term property owners like you. Dive into our collection for more insights and strategies to maximize your rental’s potential!