10 Ideas to Turn a Boring Backyard Into a Summer Oasis (No Pool Necessary)

These must-haves make an ordinary backyard feel like a mini vacation.

Backyard Waterpark
Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy

No pool? No problem. Create a cooling oasis with some clever water-centric activities. Amp up the joy of running through sprinklers by tossing beach balls back and forth through the spray. A water table filled with plastic bowls, measuring cups, and floating toys will keep toddlers engaged for hours (or close to it). Offer extra shade with umbrellas: If half your yard is shaded, estimate one umbrella per eight to 10 people; if you have zero coverage, go with one umbrella per five or six people. Once the shade and sprinklers are set, get ready for summer fun.

01 of 09

Enchanted Sprinkler

Unicorn Sprinkler

The only thing better than a sprinkler in the summertime? How about a sprinkler that's also a giant inflatable unicorn. Talk about magical!

02 of 09

Oversized Umbrella

Blue Striped Umbrella
World Market

As you watch your kids splash in the sprinkler, lounge under this luxurious striped umbrella. It will protect you from the sun—and make you feel like you're on a tropical island.

03 of 09

Bubble Machine

Bubble Machine

Want to really wow your kids? Order this bubble machine, which magically whips up thousands (yes, thousands!) of bubbles per minute on the highest speed setting.

04 of 09

Balloon Bunch

Water Balloon Bunches

Water balloon fights are fun, but the prep required to fill dozens of balloons is not. A quick solution? Just hook up the hose to these self-sealing balloons and turn on the water—they do the rest of the work for you.

05 of 09

Vibrant Hose

Bright Yellow Garden Hose

If you're building an at-home water park in your own backyard, you're going to want to upgrade your ugly outdoor hose. This vibrant yellow option does the trick.

06 of 09

Gas Grill

Orange Grill

This powerful gas grill heats up quickly (in just 5 minutes or less), while flame control taps let you select a precise heat setting. The fact that it comes in three stylish colors, including orange, is just an added bonus.

07 of 09

Teak Sling Chair

Striped Sling Chair
Serena & Lily

Lounge in style in a beautiful teak sling chair, available in your choice of nine fabric options to match your outdoor space.

08 of 09

Play Station

Sand and Water Table Play Station

The surefire way to have a fun summer (no vacation necessary): order this sand and water table for your kids. It will provide hours of fun, and it doesn't even require leaving the backyard.

09 of 09

Pretty Petals Sprinkler

Flower sprinkler in pink and green
Bed Bath & Beyond

This flower-themed sprinkler is a must-have on the hottest summer days. Plus, it easily connects to a garden hose and is small enough to stash away when not in use. And did we mention it's only 13 bucks?

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