8 Backyard Glamping Ideas
A semi-permanent backyard “glamp-site” will serve you all season long as a super-fun family hideout—or as the best guest suite ever.
‘Fess up: the first time you heard the term “glamping,” did you laugh—or scoff? You’d be forgiven for thinking that this buzzword, short for “glamorous camping,” sounds a little ridiculous. After all, isn’t camping all about roughing it? Getting in touch with our primeval past, slowing down, unplugging?
Those who have actually gone glamping, though, know that it’s not just tossing a few boho pillows into a tent and calling it a day. What’s more, glamping isn’t just a fad; it’s a part of outdoor living that’s here to stay. To that end, we’ve compiled a selection of accessories and supplies to help you create the coziest, most comfortable sleepover site you’ve ever snoozed in—just steps from your back door.
1. Why glamp?
Even as it has become increasingly popular, glamping gets a bit of a bum rap. People think that it’s only for spoiled divas whose idea of getting back to nature means a seaweed wrap at the spa or a sprig of rosemary atop their craft cocktail. Some cynical campers call it a commercial invention dreamed up by (m)ad men to sell more air mattresses and fairy lights.
But think of glamping as a way to create incomparable ambiance, to redefine quality time with our closest companions, to turn the ordinary into something sublime. Glamping can elevate a staycation (another initially cringeworthy term for a concept that’s nevertheless worth exploring) or lend an entire season a certain je ne sais quoi.
2. It’s glamping season, y’all.
An entire season, you say? Yep. A glamping setup, by definition, isn’t something you can throw up and then tear down on a whim, like “regular” camping tents that serve only as shelter. In order to do your glamp-site justice, you’ll need to put in a bit of work—so you might as well make it semi-permanent. For many families, that will mean that summer works best for backyard glamping season.
Setting up your outdoor accommodations is a labor of love, to be sure; the more luxurious and elaborate they are, the more “love” you’ll have to expend. Yet the reward will be exceptional. Family members can take turns spending nights or weekends in this home-not-that-far-away-from-home. That means grownups can have some alone time (as long as the kids are old enough to stay in the house unsupervised). Teenagers can host truly memorable slumber parties. The whole family can enjoy an evening of campfire cooking, storytelling and singalongs, outdoor movie viewing, and stargazing—all without having to ruin the mood by moving inside. And guess what? Your glamp-site will also serve as a superb guest suite.
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3. Plan the initial setup.
Take some time choosing your glamp-site spot. Many of the same considerations for camping apply, such as finding a level patch of land that’s not too close to a water source. Think about what distance from your home will work best for your family. It’s nice to find some natural shelter, such as a canopy-like tree, so people can seek shade outside of the tent, too. Plus, you’ll probably want a hammock.
Decide if you want to equip the site with electricity, tap into solar power, or simply use devices that are rechargeable and battery-operated. A vintage-look camping lantern that doubles as a power bank ticks all the boxes.
4. Make this the summer of your disco tent.
Next, the tent. If you really want to make a splash on your social media pages, go for a giant bell tent. This is the classic glamping shape, but of course, a wall (rectangular) tent or a cabin tent would work just as well.
Make certain you have a suitable ground tarp to go under your tent. For even more luxury, you can give your site additional shade with a tent awning; for a smidgen of privacy, add on a zippered divider to split the space into two separate sections.
5. Select comfy sleeping surfaces.
What type of sleeping surface goes inside your tent depends on your family’s needs. Younger people can make do with sleeping bags or foldable foam mattresses; one plus is that these are portable and can easily be removed or added as needed. Older glampers will probably want something more cushy. If you’ve got an extra mattress and box spring or an old futon lying around, that will work. Otherwise, a luxury air mattress will be a good compromise between high comfort and reasonable cost.
Amp up the opulence with inflatable camping pads, mattress toppers, and of course plenty of plump pillows for lounging. Choose an all-season down-alternative comforter, tucked inside a duvet cover with beaucoup boho style—think big ribbon ties, pom-pom fringe, or lace detailing. White cotton is a classic look that will keep sleepers cool, but crushed-velvet is also awfully nice. If your climate gets cool at night, a stack of cozy blankets and soft fuzzy throws will show thoughtful hospitality.
6. Add accent furnishings.
The extent to which you kit out your glamp-site is another very subjective decision, one that depends on the details of how, and how often, you’ll use your backyard digs. You may want to equip guests with nightstands, a trunk or garment rack for storing clothing, floor lamps, a coat or clothing rack, indoor seating, a fan, throw rugs, or an atmospheric mosquito net canopy. Minimalists might choose to do without those extras or substitute simpler pieces (like a wooden crate to serve as both storage and nightstand, or a versatile clip-on lamp).
Get the Odoland battery-operated combination LED lamp and camping fan at Amazon for $29.99
Get the Iris USA lightweight, portable garment rack with shelves at Amazon for $79.99
Get an EasyJoy faux-fur area rug at Amazon for $33.99
7. Light a cozy, crackling campfire.
You can’t glamp without a campfire! Or would that be a glamp-fire? Either way, you’ll definitely want someplace to build a cozy, crackling, marshmallow-charring campfire. Maybe you already have one, but if not, did you know that you can rent a fire pit? These backyard essentials are also one of the easiest, most cost-effective weekend DIY projects, too.
8. Make it yours with atmospheric decor.
Remember that ambiance we talked about earlier? This is the fun part! Here are some suggestions for glamping accessories to get you started:
- Sleeping Beauty’s got nothing on you when you snuggle under this Kelly Clarkson 100% pompom trim cotton duvet set.
- Safety first (but ambiance a close second) with this set of flameless, remote-control candles.
- Hang a super-fun tassel and pom-pom garland in on-trend colors.
- By now it’s probably against the law to go glamping without battery-operated fairy lights, right?
- Light up the night after charging these solar-powered edison bulbs all day.
- Sit in sukhasana on these colorful, comfortable corduroy floor cushions.
- Imagine how atmospheric these braided jute poofs will look on your IG.
- Scatter a couple of these darling sunflower pillows around the space and voila! instant charm.
- Who doesn’t love a snuggly, squashy bean bag, especially when it’s big enough to share?
- Here’s a reversible shag and sherpa throw for the best of both blanket worlds.
- Guide guests to your tent by hanging this gorgeous globe light wind chime as a beacon.
- Shatterproof stemless wine glasses, in a rainbow of hues to help distinguish which drink is whose, are perfect for backyard parties.
Prices accurate as of publication date July 18, 2023.