‘Travel’ to Italy with a DIY staycation in your own backyard

Ciao from my backyard!

Like it or not, staycations are positioned to be the biggest “travel” trend of summer 2020. Tighter budgets and lingering health concerns are forcing people across the country to scrap their standard vacation plans — but that doesn’t mean the D in vitamin D has to stand for “depressing.”

As the weather’s warmed up, my family’s been spending more and more time on our back deck, and the novelty has already worn off. (What doesn’t feel repetitive these days?) Eager to try out an inexpensive re-vamp project, I turned to Michaels for inspiration. The arts & crafts retailer is offering both curbside pickup and same-day delivery options, so it’s a super low-risk option.

After mapping out a few different visions, I ultimately decided I’d try to transform the deck into a mini Italian villa. It only required a few simple materials, and it could easily be recreated on a patio, a front porch, a driveway, or in your backyard.

To make my Italian villa, I opted for just three key items. First, I grabbed two sets of these long, leafy garlands adorned with twinkle lights. The leaves look realistic enough — they’re a nice shade of dark green. I ran both garlands across the length of a rectangular table, a technique I’ve seen at many weddings. This could also be done atop a tablecloth, though I left my table bare.

I knew the little bulbs would look especially cute in the evening, so I also picked up two sets of these copper string lights. I wrapped them around the banister of my deck, but they could also go across chairs or even on the ground (just be sure you don’t trip over ’em!).

Most crucial to the Italian-inspired vibe were these bouquets of faux lemons. Michaels has a ton of faux lemon options, including wreaths and loose lemons that would be perfect inside a big bowl. I wanted to recreate the feeling of sitting under a big tree blooming with fresh lemons. (I’ve never actually done this, but I have seen many Instagrams.)

Big helpings of pasta, bruschetta and wine helped round out the whole staycation dinner. To see how it all turned out, watch the video above.

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If you’re feeling some major wanderlust, you might also like reading about this Instagram-famous lagoon that was dyed black.

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