Elevate Your Outdoor Space With These Backyard Upgrades
Make the great outdoors even greater.
Enjoying your outdoor space has become more important than ever, whether it’s an urban balcony, suburban deck, or rural backyard. Those lucky enough to have a private outdoor sanctuary often utilized them to responsibly gather with family and friends during the pandemic, and even with travel surging and vaccinations rising, outdoor spaces will continue to be our personal Edens as we head into summer and beyond.
While HGTV-obsessed homeowners and renters alike have spearheaded the recent exterior design trend of turning backyards into what are essentially fancy living rooms, it’s not all about expensive upgrades like massive weatherproof TVs, designer furniture sets and resort-style climate control systems. Read on for a patio’s worth of quality products that are sure to enhance your everyday outdoor experience.
FINEX CAST IRON SKILLET
Heat up your grilling game with this gorgeous skillet from the cast iron obsessives at Portland, Oregon’s Finex. The heavy-gauge, pre-seasoned skillet features Finex’s signature octagonal shape, coiled stainless steel “Speed Cool” handle and looks just as good on the grill as it does as a serving platter. The skillet is an absolute workhorse for searing steaks, chops, and vegetables, and is smoothly polished enough to cook perfect eggs. (It’s also great for baking mac and cheese, cornbread, pies and cakes.)
The optional lid transforms the skillet into a steaming, simmering and braising machine. Finex’s signature skillet may be their most essential cast iron product, but they also offer grill pans, griddles, Dutch ovens, burger presses and accessories like a chain link scrubber and oak wood scraper cleaning kit to keep cast iron cookware preserved and performing well for decades to come. 12-inch Skillet with lid, $275.
BLUE SKY PEAK PATIO FIRE PIT
“Smokeless” fire pits have lately been all the rage, ignited by the stainless steel SoloStove and other enterprising pitmakers. Blue Sky’s Peak Patio Fire Pit is a fine example of the form, with a striking matte black finish that elevates the look of any patio, backyard or stretch of beach. The heavy duty steel fire pit is coated in high-temperature black paint that’s built to last, and its patent-pending design enables surprisingly hot burns of up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit using standard firewood and pellets, while producing very little smoke and embers.
Consisting of a burn chamber and an ash catch tray, the 46-pound Peak Patio Fire Pit clocks in at 24-inches wide and 16-inches high and can easily warm four to six people around the pit (with or without s’mores). Blue Sky also offers a bigger 91-pound, 32.8 inch-wide by 18-inch high Mammoth Fire Pit version, which can be tricked out with an optional spark screen and screen lift. $269.99
YELLOW LEAF SIGNATURE HAMMOCK
There’s just something inherently relaxing about stretching out in a well-made hammock. Yellow Leaf’s Signature Hammock is handwoven with supremely soft, weatherproof yarn using a triple-weave construction method of 150,000 loops to effortlessly cradle you midair during afternoon siestas. The quick-drying, mold-defying yarn can be left out in the rain and comes in a variety of vibrant colors.
YellowLeaf’s lightweight hammocks are specifically designed not to flip or leave a “waffle print” on your skin, and can hang between trees, from an overhead beam or on a separately-purchased metal stand. They’re available in two sizes: Classic (weight capacity 400 pounds) and Family-Size (weight capacity 550 pounds). Starting at $199.99
YETI ROADIE 24 HARD COOLER
YETI is beloved for their ultra-rugged coolers and tumblers, and the brand’s new limited edition “King Crab”-colored products deliver a jolt of orange pop to liven up your next boat trip, beach hang or backyard BBQ.
The lightweight Roadie 24 Hard Cooler is slim enough to fit securely behind a car seat and features a built-in carrying strap, commercial-grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid, and a one-finger quicklatch. YETI’s six-gallon Roadie can hold 18 12-ounce cans or 24 pounds of ice, and perhaps best of all, features a 13-inch internal height designed to fit standard wine bottles upright. $199.99
NAPOLEON PHANTOM ROGUE SE 425 GRILL
Luxury grillmakers Napoleon cooked up something special with this matte black propane gas stunner. Featuring glow-in-the dark control knobs for nighttime entertaining, a “Sizzle Zone” side burner for steakhouse-quality sears, wavy stainless steel cooking grids and an integrated multifunctional grilling rack, the limited edition Phantom Rogue grill is sure to turn heads at your next bbq. $1,449
SONY SRS-XB33 WIRELESS SPEAKER
Waterproof, dustproof and shockproof, Sony’s SRS-XB33 wireless speaker combines a durable design with up to 24 hours of battery life, a booming bass sound and a party-focused feature in which multi-colored lights flash in sync with the music. It’s both fresh water and salt water-resistant, and you can wash it off if it gets dirty. This gritty speaker is also dirt cheap, currently selling on Amazon for just $98.
BEST MADE PATCHED QUILT
Just because summer is here doesn’t mean you don’t need a nice blanket to curl up with outside. Best Made’s limited edition quilt collaboration with Thompson Street Studio is handstitched from 50/50 cotton/linen deadstock fabric, and is ideal for sprawling out under the stars or showcased on an outdoor couch. And if you’re in the market for a uniquely sharp design, the blanket’s red and cream-striped pattern is inspired by the handpainted handle of Best Made’s “Hushabye Baby” axe. $429.95
THE SILL PLANTS AND POTS
If you’d prefer to order outdoor plants, pots and planting supplies from a single online resource, The Sill has got you covered. They recently advised plant owners to move indoor plants outdoors in warm weather, and sell a well-curated selection of houseplants to pretty up your patio, whether you’re partial to Fiddle Leaf Figs, Majesty Palms, or the ever-popular Snake Plant. The Sill also offers stylish earthenware planters in matte black, cream, mint and classic terracotta, because even outdoor plants need a little curb appeal. TheSill.com
ELEVATED CRAFT COCKTAIL SHAKER
This rigorously designed drinks shaker is built to whip up killer cocktails without leaking or leaving you with sticky fingers the next time you mix a margarita at a backyard get-together. The Elevated Craft shaker is constructed of brushed stainless steel and has an integrated measuring top feature for easy cocktailing. Dreamed up by Arizona-based designer Adam Craft, who funded his shaker’s production through successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, it’s backed by a lifetime warranty and comes with a 50-page cocktail book. $69
MOKS (Modular Outdoor Kitchen System)
Ready to splurge on a serious grill upgrade? The striking modular outdoor kitchens from MOKS allow you to choose from various design layouts in six colors, then order, receive and assemble in about a week’s time. These backyard beauties feature stainless steel Coyote Grills and appliances, marine-grade composite cabinets designed for all-weather durability, and UV-resistant construction that thwarts color fading and won’t warp, rot or crack. Prices vary.
DAVINCI IQ2 VAPORIZER
For cannabis connoisseurs seeking a portable, dual-use luxury vaporizer to enjoy outdoors, DaVinci’s latest take on its flagship high-end vape provides a cooler vapor and more control than ever before. The sleekly ergonomic IQ2 allows enthusiasts in weed-legal states to customize their cannabis flower or wax experience through precision temperatures and adjustable airflow, as well as enabling the tracking and reporting of each draw and smoke session. $295