The Best Outdoor Amenities for your Short Term Rental


As you furnish your short-term rental’s outdoor space, it’s key to create an inviting environment that balances guest enjoyment with respect for neighbors.

By: Brad Greiner, CEO of Open Air Homes and OpenAiRE Brokerage

Short-term rentals have taken off in the past few years, giving homeowners the opportunity to share their beautiful spaces with guests from around the globe. One aspect that can significantly enhance a guest’s experience is a well-designed backyard. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between fun and consideration for the local neighborhood. Here are some trends and tips to keep in mind when furnishing your short-term rental’s outdoor area.

Consider Noise Levels

One of the crucial factors to consider is the potential noise level of your guests. This consideration is especially important if you live in a more densely populated area. Games like ping pong, which can easily double as beer pong tables, are known to contribute to late-night noise. 

Jacuzzis are another potential noise hotspot. While they are often an attractive feature for guests, late-night use can lead to elevated noise levels. Therefore, it’s essential to communicate with guests about maintaining a reasonable noise level, especially after dark. 

Daytime Games vs. Nighttime Quiet

Strategically selecting games that are enjoyable during the day but less so at night can also help control noise levels. For example, corn toss might work as a daytime game, but if it’s in a lit area at night, it could be a source of noise.  If you do purchase, the wood ones are often not put away by guests and can warp, so we recommend going with a plastic version

Croquet is a great choice if you have a large grassy area.  Croquet is a great family game, and marketing your home to families is definitely the route to go!  This game is enjoyable for guests of all ages and is typically not a nighttime activity, so really is the ideal game for your rental property. We recommend getting a stand with it as well, not only for convenience, but it will also look great in photos! While there are some more expensive ones available, this is a more affordable option.   

Safety should also be at the forefront of your decision-making process. While trampolines can be fun, they can also present a liability risk due to the potential for injury. If you do have one or choose to buy one, we recommend having guests fill out a liability waiver (please email us if you’d like an example for yourself of one to use)!  

Comfortable Seating and Visual Appeal

Creating ample comfortable seating areas for guests can significantly enhance their experience. When arranging these spots, consider how they’ll look in photographs. Beautiful “moments” captured in images allow potential guests to envision themselves enjoying your space. If you have room, a hammock can be a lovely addition that screams relaxation. We have purchased this one in the past. 

Our love affair with Sunbrella Fabric for STRs

We also always recommend Sunbrella fabric.  Sunbrella fabric is technically made of plastic, yet feels just as nice as fabric.  It holds up in all conditions, and is more expensive, but can easily be cleaned (even with bleach), and is a good long term investment so that you outdoor spaces feel fresh always.  Some of our sunbrella fabrics have been outside near the ocean or in the desert heat for years, and still look the same! We love this deep green, for example, and replacing your old cushions with a sunbrella fabric is a great way to make it look new. 

Speaking of Sunbrella, umbrellas with Sunbrella fabric are a great touch!  A more affordable, simple umbrella like this one will have the fabric outlasting the stand itself! However, a cantilever umbrella (with Sunbrella fabric) is definitely the most high end option and we love using these. 

For furniture, Restoration Hardware outdoor fabric is Sunbrella.  You can never go wrong with a high end teak set, and while expensive, we have homes where this furniture has remained in excellent condition for 7+ years. 

Most lower end outdoor furniture fabrics will fade, and a good strategy for this is to buy it, knowing that overtime it will need replacement, and when that happens, choose a great Sunbrella fabric online and have them recovered as a permanent solution. 

Pool Considerations

Adding a pool to your property is a significant decision that depends on the return on investment. Even though it’s an expensive addition and will require approval, it’s seldom a bad idea, even if it’s just a small dipping pool.  

Please note, we have had a number of homeowners come to us for management, saying their home will be ready in 2-3 months after the pool is in, but we find that it is at least a 5 month process, if you get a great pool builder.  The pricing on pools has also skyrocketed, and so it is completely a personal decision, and while guests will love it, if you want to get renting in short order, it’s not really a great option. 

Promoting Wellness

At Open Air Homes, we’re thinking a lot about wellness in the home. For outdoor spaces, this focus can translate into amenities such as chicken coops for fresh eggs, an infrared sauna, workout equipment, yoga mats, or even a cold plunge pool. 

We like this moveable, raised chicken coop.  For an infrared sauna, we have our eye on this one.  We have installed one in a backyard and planted beautiful vines to hang from it, it’s an idealistic option for our guests, and this home rents very well as a result. 

You can break the bank with the cold plunge from Plunge, as seen on shark tank with no ice necessary. Or the Nordic Wave Viking could be another great option. A more affordable could be The Cold Pod, but remember that you will need to provide an easy way for guests to have ice if you want it to be actually used!

You can also never go wrong with a Peleton, but you also will want to think about the $20-a-month subscription that you will probably want to provide.  It shouldn’t be kept outside truthfully, but we wanted to include it as a great luxury item for your guests!  

Being a Southern California brand, we’re interested in partnering with homeowners who believe in wellness. Offering guests these more relaxed alternatives to partying in homes gives us the ability to market to guests who appreciate these touches. These guests are often willing to pay a higher price for these types of amenities, making them a smart investment for your short-term rental. 

In conclusion, striking a balance between guest enjoyment and respect for neighbors can help create a successful short-term rental. With thoughtful planning and a focus on wellness, your rental’s outdoor space can become a highlight of your guests’ stay.



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