Beautiful Backyard Cabanas

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Cabanas are usually associated with vacation resorts and the neighborhood swimming pool. These poolside and seaside buildings offer folks a place to get out of the sun or to change out of wet swim clothes. You don’t need a large backyard or ocean view property to enjoy the benefits of a cabana. You don’t even need a pool! If you’re looking for a relaxing place to rest in some shade or need an extra room, consider building a cabana in your backyard.

How Can You Use A Cabana?

A cabana can be a welcome addition to any garden or poolside. Here are some other ways in which a backyard cabana can add to your existing living area:

  • If you enjoy throwing parties and having guests, a cabana can be an extension of your home and provide a fun place to have a party. Plus, a cabana will keep guests from tracking through the house. If the cabana is large enough, you can use it to create a sheltered outdoor dining room.
  • A cabana can be used as a place to store pool toys and outdoor game equipment. In addition to being a place to change clothing and get out of the sun, space in the cabana can be allotted to storage for outdoor game and pool equipment.
  • Use a cabana to give the kids a place to play on a rainy day. A cabana can become an extra room where kids can spread out their toys and make all the noise they desire.
  • Extend your living area by creating a fitness center or home office in a cabana. A cabana can give the feeling of getting away from the house to work or for a workout.

Backyard Cabana Styles

There are several different styles of cabanas. A cabana can be a large building with a party room, kitchen, changing room and bathroom. Or, a cabana can be just roomy enough for two people to sit back, relax and get out of the sun. Here are the basic types of cabanas to choose from:

  • Spa cabanas are room-size structures that are found near pools and outdoor gathering areas. These structures may resemble a giant tent with curtains that can be pulled back to let in the view. Or, the drapes can be closed to block the sun or provide privacy. Other spa cabanas have sliding doors instead of curtains. These sturdier structures can house a hot tub, kitchen or pool changing room. Spa cabanas can also be designed to function as an extra room for entertaining, playtime or work space.
  • Beach cabanas look like a small tent. These personal size cabanas are merely a canopy that is used to cover a chaise lounge or beach chair Beach cabanas can accommodate one or two people.
  • Cabana chairs are similar to a beach cabana except the chair is a bench that seats two people and the larger canopy can be moved to provide more shade or more privacy. Also, cabana chairs can be reclined and may include a foot stool.

Designing A Cabana

The size and type of cabana you choose will depend on how much space you have for a cabana and the amount of money you can afford to spend. Here are a few tips for designing a cabana:

  • Determine how much space you can devote to the cabana.
  • Select a location where the ground is level.
  • If your budget is small, build the cabana so that it can be expanded later. Start with a basic cabana consisting of poles and curtains. When there is money in the budget for an upgrade, add walls, a shower, a kitchenette or any other features to make the cabana a useable room.
  • Add an awning to create shade but to leave the side of the cabana open. Look for a retractable awning.
  • Keep guests cool by hanging a ceiling fan inside the cabana. Select a ceiling fan that is designed for outdoor use.

Customizing A Cabana

A cabana can be built to any size and can be customized in myriad ways. If your cabana will be used as an extra room (such as for an entertainment room, an office or a workout room), the cabana should be built as a permanent structure with solid walls and doors. This type of cabana can be decorated in the same way as a den or bedroom. This type of cabana can also include a small kitchenette or a bathroom. A cabana that will be used as a sun shade has a sturdy structure (made of wood or metal) and uses curtains to provide shade.

Here are some ways to decorate the structure of a cabana:

  • Get creative with paint. Paint is an inexpensive way to decorate.
  • Carved wooden posts and ornate metal posts can add a decorative flair.
  • Add lights to use the cabana in the evenings. Skylights allow the sun to shine through to the inside of a cabana for illuminated daytime use.
  • Hang colorful curtains. Look for curtains made from outdoor fabric that can withstand the harsh sun and beating rains.

Cabanas are more than just a poolside attraction. A cabana is a great way to create an outdoor living area or to add an extra room to your property without making any changes to your home. You can design and build your own cabana or do some shopping and look for a build-it-yourself kit or a contractor that can do the building for you.

Last Updated: October 8, 2012
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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