21 Outdoor Buys to Make Your Backyard More Fun

Turn your yard into nonstop smiles all summer long with these lawn games, inflatables, party essentials and more.

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June 29, 2021

Summer means soaking up as much time as you can outdoors, and your backyard has endless opportunities for fun in the sun — no fancy deck or patio needed. We’ve rounded up the coolest outdoor buys to make your backyard the party place all summer long. There are toys for all ages, from inflatable pools large enough for the whole family to lawn games you can play with a beverage in hand. We’ve also got summer nights covered, too, with products to turn your backyard into the ultimate movie theater or campfire hangout. Check out our favorites below and outfit your backyard with one of these fun products.

Lawn Games for Backyard Entertainment

Outdoor games are a must for any backyard cookout or party. It gives your guests an activity to do while you finish grilling or setting up the spread. It’s also a great way to encourage teens to put down the phone and spend some quality time with family, screen-free. Plus, they're great for tailgating in the fall, too. For more active games, you can’t go wrong with Kan Jam or ladderball. And little ones will love this ring toss. For nostalgic yard games, we love this wooden croquet set from Anthropologie or this wooden bowling set from Amazon. If you don’t have a large yard to throw or toss, check out this towel from Sunnylife. It has two “boards” for checkers and backgammon, but unlike a board, you can roll it up for easy storage.

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Inflatables, Sprinklers + More

The easiest way to make a backyard more fun is just to add water! Inflatable pools and toys can turn your yard into a mini water park, from sprinklers to slides. We spotted this two-lane slide from Target that allows multiple people to slide at the same time and race. And how cute is this inflatable rainbow? It’s fun, but it also won’t be an eyesore all summer long. For a good old-fashioned water balloon fight, check out these reusable water balls. Unlike balloons, you don’t have to spend time filling or tying or hunting down bits of balloons in the yard later. These ThrillZoo balls are like snowball-sized sponges. Just soak, throw and repeat.

$81.99 $65

This popular top-rated pool is great for the whole family and will be an instant upgrade to your yard that you can use all summer long. After testing out this pool herself, HGTV video producer Karen Webb suggests also purchasing a pump from Intex for easier installation and setup, a cover to keep the pool clean and free of debris when not in use and this tablet dispenser for keeping the water clean. She also suggests placing tarps below the pool before install to protect it from rocks and twigs if you're installing directly on the ground.

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Outdoor Movie Night Essentials

Backyard fun doesn’t have to stop just because the sun goes down. With the right products and accessories, you can turn your backyard into an extra family room or even an outdoor kitchen. Host family movie night under the stars with a digital projector. This mini Leisure unit projects in high definition and features an LED display. You could project against a blank wall or hang up a sheet, but for the ultimate viewing experience, this outdoor screen from Pottery Barn would be perfect for backyard birthday parties and get-togethers. If you love going to summer movies-in-the-park events, you can buy your own inflatable movie screen for your own movies in the backyard. For outdoor mood lighting, these rechargeable lanterns from Food52 are much more practical than hanging or installing lights. You can clip them on trees, fencing, door handles and so much more. Plus, since they last up to 24 hours and you recharge them with a USB cable, no cord or extension cord will get in the way of your party.

MAKE IT
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How to Make Your Own Outdoor Movie Screen

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Fire Pits + S'mores Accessories

We can’t talk about summer fun without mentioning s’mores. A backyard campfire is essential, but annoying smoke is no fun. Upgrade your fire pit game with Solo Stove. The sleek design is more than just pretty. It eliminates nearly all smoke for a cleaner, more efficient campfire. The Ranger is the smallest in the backyard firepit lineup and perfect for smaller groups or bringing along for car camping, whereas the medium-sized Bonfire would be best for hosting a backyard party. And as for those s’mores, check out this roasting tool from Terrain. You can also use it for roasting vegetables and hotdogs, too, but its primary purpose is serving up s’mores fast. It perfectly roasts three s’mores at a time so you’ll never have to wait for….s’more. And if you’re hosting a Fourth of July bash and can’t shoot fireworks, there’s another way to get a flash of color. Magical Flames packets turn fire pit flames into a rainbow of mesmerizing colors — it’s definitely a fun extra for summer entertaining.

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