Our backyards are some of the best places to spend the summer months, especially if you’re practicing social distancing and are tired of being cooped up indoors. Fortunately, it’s possible to transform your outdoor living space into a secluded, open-air retreat. Bring the indoors out. We often hear about bringing the outdoors inside, but the reverse is also true when designing a luxurious extension of your home. Homey, lived-in touches can take your outdoor space from sterile and unfinished to cozy and inviting. Think patterned throw pillows, fluffy blankets for chilly evenings, outdoor rugs, colorful lanterns, and decorative accessories like painted terracotta pots or metal tins. Invest in comfy furniture. What’s the best part of your living or family room? Chances are it’s your comfortable couch or recliner. To recreate the same feeling, splurge on some soft furniture that will make you want to stay outside for hours reading a book or working remotely. It doesn’t have to break the bank either – you can do it yourself (DIY) a cozy lounging bench with reclaimed wood and hand-sewn cushions with outdoor stuffing and fabric. Add a relaxing pool or spa. Water has a calming effect and is often linked to our favorite memories at the cottage or on vacation. A pool or spa can help transport you somewhere far away without leaving your home. A pool can help you and the kids get some exercise while swimming laps, while a spa can soothe tired muscles after a long day hunched over your laptop. To reduce energy costs and increase longevity, consider using insulated concrete forms, which provide superior insulation. Pools also can be custom made to accommodate any design, making them a very versatile and efficient way to build pools. Go wild with greenery. Live plants can help you feel connected with nature and tending to them can help you feel relaxed yet productive during isolation. A vertical garden can add visual interest, while trees and shrubs can provide shade and character. Aromatic herbs like lavender or rosemary offer pleasant scents and can spice up your cooking. And don’t be afraid to cut some flowers from your garden to place in vases or pots for beautiful finishing touches.