How to Create an Outdoor Living Space Your Vacation Rental Guests Will Love

The Evolve Team
The Evolve Team
June 2, 2022

Travelers love a getaway that lets them enjoy the great outdoors in any season. But as the weather warms, guests get even more excited to spend time al fresco — and searches for homes with outdoor amenities start to skyrocket.

That means it’s time for vacation rental owners to spruce up their property’s outdoor living space. Giving guests the backyard haven they’re looking for can help you win more bookings from eager travelers and rack up those oh-so-valuable five-star reviews

The great news: a few key updates can make a major impact on your guests’ experience and your vacation rental’s performance. Here are 14 helpful tips for creating a can’t-resist outdoor living space that gives your home a serious advantage.

In This Article: 

Important Tips for Every Outdoor Space 

Tips for Patio and Outdoor Dining Spaces 

Tips for Outdoor Entertainment Spaces

Important Tips for Every Outdoor Space

Outdoor pool and hot tub in a desert backyard with a beautiful scenic view as the sun sets

There are a few things owners should always have in mind when creating an ideal outdoor living space. Use these tips to establish a clear baseline for a successful backyard makeover.

1. Keep It Clean

It’s natural to focus cleaning efforts on your vacation rental’s indoor spaces, but owners should zero in on outdoor areas, too. Cleanliness is often the top guest complaint about outdoor amenities, so make sure your backyard gets some love with a cleaning routine that helps you avoid negative feedback.

2. Consider Your Climate

Whether you have a snowy mountain ski home or a sunny beachfront abode, vacationers enjoy getting fresh air while staying protected from the elements. Think about how you can make time spent outdoors more comfortable and convenient for guests in your home’s environment. If you get lots of sun, avoid metals and choose lighter colors to help on hot days. In a humid area, steer clear of wooden furniture that can mold and deteriorate more quickly.

3. Put Safety First

Some outdoor amenities require more care and caution than others. If it flows (water features), glows (fire features), or grows (vegetation), you need to take extra precautions to keep your guests safe and happy. A great starting point: always include instructions for hot tubs, grills, and fire pits, and make sure all outdoor areas are well lit and meet reasonable safety standards.

4. Cater to Your Ideal Guest

Consider the guests who would be happiest in your home, and go the extra mile to meet their needs. If your home has a lot of bedrooms, for example, you might set up the backyard for families or large groups. And if you’re aiming to attract pet-friendly travelers — which recent data shows is one of the most popular types of vacation rentals — cater your outdoor living space to four-legged friends, too.

5. Plan for Maintenance

From the landscaping you choose to the amenities you offer, upkeep should always stay top of mind. It’s important to think about who will help maintain your home’s outdoor space and how often it’ll need attention, and then set clear expectations with your service crews. Avoiding any gaps in maintenance helps your home stay five-star ready even in the busiest seasons.

6. Make Your Spaces Unique

Designing one-of-a-kind areas can go a long way toward leaving a lasting impression with guests. Whether it’s the special touches you add through decor or the unique activities you provide for entertainment, look for opportunities to do something different that can create an experience to remember.

Tips for Patio and Outdoor Dining Spaces

Well-lit outdoor patio at sunset with a pool, a grill, a dining area, and a fire pit surrounded by plenty of seating.

An ideal outdoor paradise has plenty of space for relaxation and gathering, including a dining or lounge area. Here’s how to make sure your backyard area inspires a feast.

7. Choose Comfortable Furniture That Lasts

The key to pleasant backyard dining and lounging is comfy, durable furniture — think modern, weather-resistant seating (whether that be dining chair cushions or lounge area couches). Whatever you do, don’t use furniture discarded from your primary residence, as guests will notice: our guest reviews team says wear and tear and outdated furniture are among the most common outdoor complaints. 

8. Match Your Home’s Capacity

Outdoor dining spaces and lounge areas should accommodate every traveler staying in your home the same way your indoor areas do. Provide enough seating and table surface to meet the needs of your max occupancy, and make it easy for outdoor gatherings to happen without a hitch. (The same goes for outdoor wares, like plates and cups.)

9. Offer Outdoor Plates and Cups

Stock your shelves with outdoor-friendly dishes, cups, and mugs so they aren’t easily cracked or damaged. This also helps avoid shattered porcelain or broken glass, which is especially important near pools and on lawns where bare feet are even more likely to roam.

10. Add a Few Homey Accents

Your patio and outdoor dining area should be an extension of your home’s aesthetic. Bring that cozy and inviting vibe outside with weather-friendly decor elements like a homey area rug, patterned throw pillows, potted plants, or metal wall hangings. (If you’re willing to invest a little more, you could also add a bar or cooking area to create an even more memorable experience).

🐾  Pet-friendly plus: Include a dog bed, plus food and water bowls, so furry friends can join for hangouts. 
👪  Family-friendly spin: Consider plasticware so no one worries about broken glass.
💗  Romantic twist: Add flameless candles to set the mood. (Citronella can keep bugs away, but real candles can be a hazard and look used more quickly.) 
Star booster: Install umbrellas or awnings to provide shade and shelter, no matter the weather.

Tips for Outdoor Entertainment Spaces

Two-story patio and deck outside of a wooded home with large windows - complete with a hot tub, lounge chairs, and grill - sounded by the woods of Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Our guest reviews team says the average positive review around outdoor entertainment is 4.71 stars — here’s how to create a backyard atmosphere that brings the fun.

11. Get the Grill Ready

Guests often book a home specifically for the grill, so make sure yours is always clean and ready for use. Better yet: provide all of the necessary accessories, like spatulas, tongs, and aluminum foil. Give easy-to-follow instructions for how to turn it on, install propane if necessary, and properly clean the grates between visits.

12. Warm Up the Space with a Fire Pit

Our research shows fire features are in the top five most popular outdoor amenities for travelers, so adding one can get your home more viewers and bookings. Plus, a fire pit offers light, warmth, and entertainment, all while giving your vacation rental an upscale feel. Provide instructions on how to safely use yours, then make fireside nights even more fun by having s’more ingredients and skewers at the ready.

13. Make a Splash with a Pool or Hot Tub

Pools and hot tubs are the most frequently searched outdoor amenities for travelers, meaning they can have an especially large impact on your home’s performance if maintained at high standards.

As with any amenity, guests expect water features to be clean, safe, modern, and ready for use, so keep your pool and hot tub in pristine condition for that five-star impact. Heat hot tubs in advance of guest arrival, and leave instructions nearby to guarantee the smoothest soaking experience. Offer large towels and water toys for an extra dose of poolside relaxation and fun.

14. Keep the Yard Relaxation-Ready

Even on a budget, well-mowed grass and a few reclining lawn chairs can turn a lawn into a sanctuary. Go the extra mile by hanging a hammock or adding a peaceful reading bench. Think about plants or succulents for some extra flair, too. Just remember: unless you have automatic watering systems, it’s best to choose resilient plants that won’t need as much upkeep during busy seasons.

🐾  Pet-friendly plus: Fence in your yard to make it safe for pets, and clean up any poop that may have been left behind. 
👪  Family-friendly spin:  Provide pool or yard games like corn hole, frisbee, basketball, or badminton to encourage backyard fun.
💗 Romantic twist: Leave warm blankets for the patio or make your hot tub more secluded for snuggles beneath the stars.
⭐  Star booster: Stock plenty of charcoal, propane, or firewood for easy guest use.

Take a Fresh Approach to Vacation Rental with Evolve

Revamping your home’s outdoor living space can certainly help you earn more income and five star-ratings. But keeping your vacation rental a must-book home doesn’t stop there.

Whether you’re looking to restock your inventory, refresh your interior design,  or add eco-friendly features, there are a number of important ways you can provide five-star guest experiences and boost your home’s performance. 

That’s why we’ve created our Vacation Rental Success Guide, a resource packed with industry intel to help you turn expert insights into action.

In it you’ll find tons of tips to help you embody hospitality — all while outshining your competitors. Download your copy today and take the next step toward running a successful vacation rental business.

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