Private resort on a budget (even if you’re renting)

Transforming your small space

Recently, we overhauled a 6’ x 12’ balcony space in Santa Monica, California, proving that resort-style living can be implemented for anyone with an outdoor space.

Our goal for this DIY project was to keep the budget low (within a $5,000 budget) and make sure that everything we installed could be removed with no traces left behind.

Many people shy away from doing renovations with a rental because of lease provisions that prohibit alterations. Depending on the landlord or property manager, it’s best to keep the space in its original condition and form, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the space your own. By swapping out nails, screws, and permanent fixtures for removable, damage-free alternatives you can free up your options to entirely transform your patio, balcony, or backyard.

Create Privacy with Removable Hedges

For this remodeled balcony, we put up artificial hedges using—get this—zip tiesand staples as fasteners. This extremely inexpensive option opens up your space to an overhaul that is very easy to do yourself. First, we cut plywood to size and covered it with Vigoro WeedBlock to give a more realistic look to the finished product. Then, we affixed the artificial living wall pieces to the wood using a staple gun. We drilled holes in the wood and then slipped zip ties through the slots in the balcony glass, anchoring each piece.  These hedges bring an element of privacy that emulates a resort-like feel at a fraction of the cost and commitment. You can purchase this realistic hedge from our site here.

Build a Base

A key element of totally transforming a space is to consider every inch at your disposal. Don’t ignore the floor! If you have flat, concrete ground, installing turf is straightforward and delivers a luxurious look. Artificial grass can be very inexpensive and readily available at large home improvement stores—perfect for a DIY install. 

No matter the size of the flooring, artificial grass can be cut and contoured to fit the shape of the area. Make sure that your concrete is in good condition, flat, and free of large holes or deep cracks. Precise measurements are key because if the turf fits the area, no installation is necessary. Just place it down and tuck it into the edges of your space for a completely redesigned surface that’s cozy enough to lay on but durable enough to withstand harsh weather.

Furniture as a Focal Point

No outdoor space is complete without the perfect furniture. Right now, we’re loving the outdoor collections from Ledger Lounger. They have versatile outdoor furniture that will be the perfect accent to your newly decorated space. After all, what use is a beautiful outdoor space if you can’t sit back and enjoy it?

You don’t need a pool to enjoy comfortable, quality furniture. For this balcony, we paired this dining table with these dining chairs and this side table for a casual look that is perfect for any home. The Playnk collection is great for so many outdoor spaces because of the versality of its look. The mix of materials ties the side table and lounge chairs in with the overall aesthetic of the balcony.

Click here to check out part 2!

Design Inspo

Resort Inspiration – luxury living in your backyard

Drawing Inspiration

Summer is here and we are obsessed with some of the resorts we’ve visited and some we’re still pining over. Influenced by our favorite destinations around the world, we draw inspiration for our designs from the elements we see at our favorite hotel grounds.

Even though we love exploring new spots, why not bring the vacation lifestyle to your home? Implementing a few key features can bring the resort right to your residence.

Unique Pool Shapes

If you’re opting for a pool, don’t shy away from using the negative space you have in your yard to play with the size and shape of water elements. Utilizing non-linear pool shapes yields a unique design layout that gives the illusion of a larger body of water because you create optics outside of one clear focal point. If you really want to give your home the island vibe of a vacation in paradise, shape the water in a way that wraps around a central element or object. Create your own personal peninsula and set up lounge chairs to complete the look.

If you have a smaller space or a narrower backyard, you can opt for a longer pool that imitates a lazy river. Designing a pool that crawls throughout the yard instantly imitates the most luxurious resorts. (And we all float on, alright.)

Swim-Up Bar

Nothing says resort living quite like a swim-up bar. Allowing you to sit comfortably halfway in the water, this provides the perfect spot to entertain guests or keep cool while you snack with the family. You may not have servers bringing your cocktails, but a swim-up bar is the perfect place to sip a blended drink and soak up the sun. Just don’t forget the SPF.

Featured Furniture

It is so important to choose the right kind of furniture to really capture that resort feel. By focusing on high-quality materials and unique designs, you can ensure that your pieces will complement your space. Utilize accent colors and geometric shapes that make your furniture stand out and be intentional with location and placement.

Group seating can give your backyard the same inviting impression that your favorite luxury hotels have perfected. By implementing furniture that was intended for hosting groups, you’re creating a space that mirrors the inviting nature of resort-style living. (P.S. Stay tuned to to find luxury outdoor furniture—coming soon!)

Turn your summertime fantasies into a reality year after year when you make your backyard feel like a private oasis. By applying a few key features often found at high-end resorts, your space can feel like you’re on vacation every time you step outside.

Design trends

Organic Design – what it is and how to create it

What is Organic Design?

We’re always keeping our eye on emerging trends, and right now we’re finding inspiration in a whole new design aesthetic called organic design.

This versatile design trend is equally at home in the California desert, Mexican Riviera, or the beaches of Bali, and can be achieved with just a few simple style choices. Shifting away from a streamlined, sharply modern look, organic design focuses more on earthy textures and colors that emulate nature.


Bringing this style to your backyard starts with choosing the correct materials. Swapping out polished, manufactured components for natural stone finishes quickly gives your backyard an earthy vibe, perfect for connecting with your inner hippie. Walls and seating finished with eco-friendly, earthen plaster creates a rough, untouched look. Organic design diverges away from drastic, bold finishes and instead focuses on intentionally weathered components, so, even if a structure is brand new, it looks and feels like it’s been there for decades.


Curves and one-of-a-kind structures establish the base of a natural-feeling exterior space. Arced alcoves and columns are crucial to achieving this look, while water features that emulate the natural silhouettes of riverbanks blur the distinction between raw and man-made elements. The lines are direct but soft and move away from harsh, cut edges. Similar to the rock formations we would see on a hike in Joshua Tree, delicate curves imitate wild yucca trees and palm fronds. Rounded lines mimic rolling hills, connecting the design back to nature.


Organic design utilizes a limited color palette, featuring muted colors commonly found in nature. A stark, black and white color palette is traded out for softer creams and eggshell whites and accented with shades of taupe and sand. The soft green hue of succulents completes the color palette, and bold accents of lush tropical greenery bring the entire look together.

Connecting the whole landscape together offers a resort-like feel for a backyard of any size. Function and comfort come together with the organic design movement, and offer a cozy aesthetic that is luxurious and inviting. We can’t help but love this back-to-nature vibe to embrace a timeless vacation escape.