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20 Shady and Serene Backyard Retreats

March 23, 2021

Can’t take the heat? Throw some shade. Cultivate cool this summer with inspiration from these breezy outdoor spaces.

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Photo: McDugald Steele. From: McDugald Steele.

Secluded Swim

Emerge from this placid pool, cross a lawn dappled with shade from a stately array of mature trees along the edge of the property, and climb a wide set of steps to settle into a handsomely outfitted outdoor room. Why choose between a tea party and a pool party when you can split the difference?

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Photo: Mason Summers, Anchor Pictures. From: D. A. Dunlevy.

Terraced Tranquility

A tall, sculptural pine presides over this multi-level courtyard, where shapely shrubs and flowerbeds create a series of areas to explore and relax. Trees both on the property and arching over from a neighboring yard give the space the feel of a private arbor.

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Photo: Anthony Crisafulli. From: LaGuardia Design Group.

Hamptons Hideaway

Landscaped from two acres of a former horse farm, this minimalistic design offers laps and lounging space in the middle of what feels like a verdant meadow. A trio of umbrellas stand at the ready over a line of chaises, but an assortment of gorgeous trees cast the longest shadows here.

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Photo: Anthony Crisafulli. From: LaGuardia Design Group.


Wide pavers lead visitors to an outdoor kitchen and dining area behind this crisp, white farmhouse. Tall trees with lush foliage produce a natural pergola for both the spacious, waterfall-edge prep area and umbrella-shaded seating. This summery space will look even lovelier when all that gorgeous foliage turns fiery in the fall.

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