backyard happy place

Upgrade your backyard to ultimate happy place

For years, the backyard was at the back of homeowners’ minds. The outdoor space was primarily associated with sending the kids out to play or the occasional need for maintenance. Mowing the lawn, raking leaves. It existed, but it wasn’t a place where you actively wanted to spend your time.

All of that has changed, though. Homeowners no longer want just a utilitarian space. They want to create a backyard that doubles as their happy place. 

And according to the 2023 Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, outdoor additions can be an investment not only in your home but happiness. Fire pits, lighting, outdoor kitchens, and landscaping can help increase the sense of enjoyment you have in the space.  

As you plan your backyard projects for 2024, you have to consider what brings you joy and the features that will help you create your own happy place in your backyard. 

backyard additions

The joy of outdoor features

“Homeowners have embraced their outdoor spaces — transforming them into oases with pools, patios, plants and greenery,”  says Dr. Jessica Lautz, National Association of REALTORS deputy chief economist and vice president of research.

Among the backyard projects with the highest joy scores were landscape lighting, new patios, and lawn care service. 

But some homeowners want to do more than increase the curb appeal of their property. They want to design a space that helps improve their physical and mental health. 

A backyard pool can offer a space for low-impact exercise and relaxation. It’s also a space to hang out with family and entertain friends.

Indeed, according to the report, homeowners who added a pool to their property reported high levels of satisfaction. In fact, 89% of people who added a pool said they had a greater desire to be home since completing the project. Nine out of 10 people said they have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are at home.

swim spa pool alternative

A pool alternative with added benefits

Background pools come in all shapes and sizes, with a variety of amenities from the most basic (diving board) to the extravagant. 

But in the report from the National Association of REALTORS and National Association of Landscape Professionals, the pool cited was an 18-foot-by-36-foot in-ground pool. It varied in depth from 3 feet to 7 feet, and it featured gunite walls. The price tag for the in-ground pool? It was about $90,000. 

For many homeowners, this “standard” doesn’t fit their lifestyle, backyard space, or budget. They might not have a big enough backyard to accommodate a pool. Or, they might not want to make such a significant investment in a backyard feature that brings joy just a few months out of the year. 

A swim spa, a compact and versatile water feature, is gaining popularity as a more cost-effective alternative to a traditional pool. 

Year-round retreat: Combining the benefits of both a pool and a hot tub, swim spas can be enjoyed year-round. The temperature control feature allows you to soak in warm water during the colder months and cool off in the summer. 

Space-saving design: H2X Fitness Swim Spas come in a range of sizes, making them an ideal pool option for small backyards. Choose from a swim spa that’s 11 feet long to a 19-foot pool-spa combo. The popular H2X Trainer 15D is a comfortable swim spa that can elevate most any outdoor space.

At-home aquatic exercise: Swim spas provide an excellent platform for both relaxation and exercise. While many in-ground pools are not long enough for lap swimming, swim spas have an adjustable current for water exercise. H2X Trainer and Challenger swim spas are the ideal spot for swimming at home, whether you are just learning the front crawl or training for a full-distance triathlon. 

Cost-effective investment: With costs often half that of a traditional pool, a swim spa represents a more affordable option without compromising on the joy it brings to your backyard.

backyard happy place

Transforming your backyard into a happy place

Your backyard has the potential to be more than just a swath of grass behind your house. It can be your sanctuary, your happy place. 

The key is to personalize your outdoor space to reflect your lifestyle and bring you joy. An H2X Fitness Swim Spa by Master Spas, landscaping, lighting, and other outdoor features can help you by investing in your backyard, you’re not just enhancing your home; you’re creating a retreat that adds immeasurable value to your well-being. 


Landscaping isn’t just about plants and flowers — it’s about creating an outdoor space that you love. Picture this: Vibrant flowers, shady trees that offer a cozy spot to relax, and winding pathways leading to your secret outdoor reading nook. 

If you are starting a new landscaping project or want to revamp your current space so it can become your at-home happy place, there are a few backyard additions that are proven to boost that joy factor. A study from Rutgers University found that being in the presence of flowers can lift your mood. Consider planting annuals for bright pops of color or adding perennials that have emotional significance.

Winding paths, with their gentle curves, are often considered more welcoming and inviting. Plus, they can enhance the functionality and curb appeal of your space. An easygoing walkway can lead people to your swim spa, while preventing grass clippings from getting into the water. You can pour concrete or update an existing path with a unique material, such as natural stone epoxy.

And while landscaping requires maintenance, research shows that gardening makes you happier. According to a Princeton study, gardeners reported high levels of happiness when gardening was measured against other daily activities. 

outdoor dining ideas

Comfortable seating 

Getting outside can do wonders for your mental health. Not only does soaking up some sun trigger the release of serotonin (aka the “feel-good hormone”), being in nature can reduce stress and promote relaxation.

But to fully embrace the benefits of outdoor living, you need a space that invites you to linger and unwind. This is where thoughtful outdoor furniture comes into play. Imagine sinking into a plush lounge chair, feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin as you sip your morning coffee. Picture yourself gathering around a large patio table with friends, enjoying a delicious meal cooked on the grill. And there’s not much that can beat the gentle sway of a hammock as you read a book. 

Whether you have a large backyard or a cozy patio, there are outdoor furniture options to suit your style and preference. Investing in comfortable seating, durable tables, and cozy accessories can transform your outdoor area into your happy place.

Outdoor lighting

Illuminate your backyard with soft and warm lighting to create a magical ambiance in the evenings. String lights, lanterns, and solar-powered fixtures can enhance the overall appeal of your outdoor space.

backyard kitchen

Entertainment areas

One of the most popular backyard additions, a gas fire pit, does more than a place to warm your hands. It increases the livability of your space while adding personality, according to the report from the National Association of REALTORS.

And the joy factor? The gas fire pit has a score of 9.7 out of 10. 

But how does an outdoor fire pit help homeowners create a backyard happy place? It’s the perfect spot for cozy gatherings or to extend your outdoor living season. Go for an evening swim in November? Dry off by the fire as you chat with family. Sip a cup of hot chocolate as the flames crackle.

But there are other entertainment features that you can add to your backyard that will increase your happiness and create destination spaces. An outdoor kitchen is ideal for people who want to hone their culinary skills. Set up an outdoor movie theater with a projector, screen, and comfortable seating for a fun and memorable movie night experience. You can even watch the movie from the comfort of your swim spa. 

Whether it’s installing a cozy fire pit, creating a beautifully landscaped garden, or investing in a versatile swim spa, you can create your very own happy place in your backyard.

swim spa benefits

Invest in a backyard pool alternative

Do you want to be able to swim, exercise, and relax at home? Having an H2X Fitness Swim Spa by Master Spas allows you to swim on your schedule while adding a fun factor to your backyard. You can click here to find out more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and relaxing in a swim spa. Or, contact your local Master Spas retailer to learn more about swim spa ownership. Wondering how much a swim spa costs? You can request a quote here.