BACKYARD IDEAS – Homeowners often spend the majority of their time (and budget) decorating the inside of their home, but the front and back yards are huge areas of opportunity as well. Freshening up your home’s landscaping – both the front and backyards – is beneficial to resale value.
Small DIY Backyard Landscaping Ideas
Adding value to your outdoor space involves more than just laying down a lush green lawn. A landscaped yard is more appealing than plain grass, and it’s easy to liven up the space in a weekend. Try some of these backyard landscaping ideas, and you’ll have a welcoming backyard that’s perfect for entertaining in no time.
1. English Garden
Designer Podge Bune went with traditional roses and hedges for her Hamptons cottage, but didn’t worry about a color scheme. “I thought, ‘Well, let’s just have a riot,'” she says. “I’m so bored with all white.”
2. Stone Fountain
Wendy Owen used local fieldstone and water channels to create a scenic fountain on her Sonoma property. She took inspiration from historic structures in Provence.
3. Hanging Lanterns
Enjoy your outdoor set-up morning, noon and night. To illuminate a Malibu patio, designers Todd Nickey and Amy Kehoe strung up lights in the trees.
4. Flower-Covered Pergola
The only thing more heavenly than this cottage’s pool is the wisteria growing beside it. Shading a group of bistro chairs, the pergola provides the perfect lunch spot.
5. Fire Bowl
For an Ojai vacation home, a laid-back seating area fits the no-hurries, no-worries vibe. The fire bowl warms up the courtyard during cooler weather.
6. Curtained Cabana
Thick curtains make it easy to hide away, but this California pagoda embraces days (and nights!) outdoors with big lanterns and comfy cushions.
7. String Lights
Designer Jill Sharp Weeks used string lights to make her garden feel like an extension of her home. The space even includes an outdoor privy, the only bathroom on the ground floor.
8. Roaring Hearth
A freestanding chimney permits summer parties way past Labor Day. With the table tilted at an angle, guests can arrange themselves near or far from the flames.
9. Garden Fountain
Take in a Charleston rental’s water feature from the comfort of an outdoor swing. With a weeping willow overhead, the urban home feels like a private paradise.
10. Backyard Wabi-Sabi
Rocks and stones suggest a Japanese garden in this courtyard retreat designed by Pamela Shamshiri. Amphitheater-style steps provide extra seating when the homeowners are having a party.
11. Lakeside Fire Pit
Just looking at the incredible view in Thom Filicia’s yard puts you in a more relaxing frame of mind.
12. French-Inspired Florals
In the Cloister Garden of William Christie’s 16th-century French countryside estate, the classic rose Katharina Zeimet stands out among the formal hedges.
13. Levels of Space
Topiaries bring an extra dose of greenery in Mark D. Sikes’s breezy backyard.
14. Open-Air Pavilion
A round opening in the roof offers a glimpse of the sky from the comfort of a Florida home’s daybed.
15. Shady Dining Area
Oak trees shade a round table surrounded by wicker chairs, creating a lovely setting for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
16. Backyard Fireplace
Designer Tobi Tobin used brick from an old patio to give this outdoor fireplace a more vintage look. The candlelit chandelier can be raised and lowered by a rope pulley rigged to a tree.
17. Limestone Veranda
A wall of greenery makes a lush backdrop for this elegant conversation space.
18. Garden Party Tablescape
The pizzazz of Hollywood and romance of Moroccan bring major drama to this cozy space designed by Martyn Lawrence Bullard. “Graphic patterns like this bold chevron look great against the many shades of green,” he says of the look.
19. Landscaped Terrace
A gravel courtyard defines this outdoor living room, where crepe myrtles form a “ceiling.”
20. Fire Pits: Burning Up the Charts
Fire pits — they’re so hot right now. Adaptable to any space, small or large, these firey outdoor features add a cozy element to any outdoor area. Tabletop fire pits are especially popular due to their small-space friendly design
21. Hardscapes: A Lush Landscape’s Perfect Partner
Homeowners and landscaping experts agree: work one or more of the types of hardscape into your backyard for a professionally planned look. Stacked stone retaining walls, paver patios and meandering pathways are just a few of the hottest hardscapes to try.
22. Outdoor Dining Areas: Alfresco, Elevated
Dining areas are a must-have outdoor living feature. After all, everything tastes better when enjoyed in the great outdoors. To ensure maximum comfort, choose comfortable chairs with durable cushions so dinner guests will linger for cocktails and conversation.
23. Decks: Taking Living Outdoors
To extend your home’s indoor living space into the backyard, decks are a must-have. For a low-maintenance surface that will stand the test of time, opt for composite materials over traditional wood.
24. Arbors: Stylish Structures
Arbors are looking especially attractive right now. They’re a romantic touch in gardens, and as this Going Yard example shows, excellent at providing transitions between two spaces.
25. Pergolas: Made In the Shade
Part of pergolas’ popularity is that they provide structure and shade, yet still manage to feel open and airy. Going Yard offers a triple-threat here with a pergola, outdoor dining room and fire pit — in the same yard!
26. Hot Tubs: Take a Dip
Spa features, such as hot tubs, whirlpools and saunas, are among the most popular outdoor recreation amenities. And, it’s easy to see why — who wouldn’t want to sink into this beauty at the end of a long day?
27. Play Structures: Kid Tested, Mother Approved
Backyards are a kid’s best friend. Play structures like treehouses, swing sets or this seesaw from a backyard featured on Going Yard can provide hours of fun for children.
28. Patio + Pergola: A Perfect Pair
If you want to enjoy the sunshine, with just a little shade, a patio and pergola make a perfect pair. You can opt for a pergola kit where the lumber is already pre-cut for DIY installation or hire a pro for a custom build.
29. Backyard Bars: Drink In Your Surroundings
Backyard bars, like this example from Going Yard, are a natural extension of the outdoor dining room trend. They’re great for entertaining, and the extra seating and counter space are desirable features in backyard.
30. Gazebos: Sweet for a Seat
Gazebos add charm and unction to your yard. This gazebo from Going Yard doubles as a tea room, thanks to the addition of some weatherized outdoor furniture.
31. Drape Overhead Spaces with Lights
Outdoor lights remain a perennial favorite for outdoor spaces, and there’s good reason: They’re celebratory and fun, with just enough sparkle to keep the light from being distracting. Inventive backyard options offer pretty colors and shapes; use them to wrap a tree, or drape them down a table for a twinkling centerpiece.
32. Soften the Edges with Vintage or Handmade Finds
Sweeping fabric shades — made from yardage, sheets, or other suitable material — add elegance and beauty to a backyard patio space. Plus, they can be used to shield family and friends from intense rays at key times of the day. In place of a more expensive light fixture, repurpose vintage elements into decorative backyard focal points. Here, nonworking chandeliers are outfitted with candles and trailing vines.
33. Make Your Own Accents
Looking for a simple DIY backyard idea that you can implement on a budget?There are plenty of decorative garden projects that you can create to enhance your backyard space, including casting your own stepping-stones and designing your own tabletop fountains. This pretty stepping-stone set is one of many backyard ideas that work particularly well in a cottage- or country-inspired garden.
34. Display a Collection
Collections are often thought of as high-end or expensive, but a simple gathering of plants in miniature containers can be a great focal point for a backyard. Here, this plain shelf provides a good spot for a low-cost stockpile of succulents and cactus plants. The easy backyard idea adds a fun pop of color to the outdoor area.
35. Use Remnant Stone for Hardscaping
One of the most expensive backyard ideas in any ladscape is hardscaping: walkways, retaining walls, edging. But the stone leftovers at your local landscaping, big box, or nursery supply store may be a less expensive option. Placed together in a dry stack, the stones (such as these in the elevated garden section) offer a pretty backyard element that looks as if it’s a natural, always-been-there part of the yard. Low-growing groundcovers soften the edges with charming blooms. Bonus: Those perennials can easily be divided to plant elsewhere and save even more.
36. Use Off-the-Shelf Materials
Custom elements easily increase a budget for backyard landscaping, but creative recasting can get you the same function at a much lower cost. Ordinary blocks elevate lengths of decking for a bar-meets-cooking-meets-seating backyard idea. The same materials in a different configuration can also be used to create an outdoor dining table, coffee table, or side table.
37. Go Vertical with Your Gardening
Go green with this easy and affordable backyard idea. Urban spaces or blank walls can benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. Use them for hardworking, pretty succulents or even low-growing vegetables. These simple boxes — made with found wood — hang from hooks and are big enough to serve as a focal point in a backyard.
38. Choose a Simple Plant Palette
Although including a huge range of flowers and plants in a landscape is one backyard idea, another is to keep the plant selection simple. That translates into multiple opportunities for dividing plants and covering more ground with growing material.
39. Create Low-Cost Nooks
Often the best inexpensive backyard ideas are the simplest: Create zones or separate areas with a few shifts in furniture in order to delineate eating, relaxing, cooking, and more. It doesn’t typically involve any furniture purchases; use rugs to shift traffic or styles of chairs to push people into nooks.
40. Find Ways to Do It Yourself
Get creative with your backyard ideas to minimize costs and materials; just be willing to invest time and effort. A slatted fence — with the boards spaced a bit wider than normal — helps to reduce wood costs. Big concrete pavers take the place of pricey stone for a patio, while building materials help create the containers and outdoor table base.
41. Build Color with Containers
Annuals can be less expensive than perennials and shrubs, and they’re a great way to add color and impact to a backyard, especially when arranged in containers. Here, matching vessels offer design cohesion, as does a similar color palette for the plants. Another backyard idea: A stone slab on top of a lumber scrap makes for a casual outdoor side table.
42. Add a Backyard Fire Pit Area
A fire pit is a great place to gather around during any season of the year (weather permitting, of course). Fire pit ideas range from simple metal styles you can buy at most home and garden stores, to more elaborate custom styles. To decide which style is best for you figure out what you’ll be using it for. If you’re looking for a fire for roasting s’mores, then a cheaper, metal bowl will do. However, if you’re looking to create a stylish, focal point then custom is the way to go.
43. Add Backyard Privacy With Plants
Are your neighbors a bit too close for comfort? If you’re looking for the benefits of a privacy fence without actually installing a fence, use plants instead. You can use tall shrubs, small trees or even large plants to obscure the view into your yard from neighboring lawns and porches. Boxwood shrubs, cypress trees and bamboo are all great options that grow quickly.
44. Create a Backyard Dining Area
If you want to get more use out of your backyard, try adding a dining area for al fresco lunches and dinners. This can range from something as simple as a picnic table, to something as elaborate as an outdoor kitchen. For a simple backyard landscaping project, create a patio by using large paving stones or a slab of concrete. Add a table, chairs and some colorful decorations for a cozy feel. Place a grill nearby, and you’re ready for BBQs, Sunday brunch and more.
45. Add a Backyard Water Feature
Water features are a great way to bring calmness and serenity to your backyard, and they’re also fairly simple to install. You can buy ready-made kits for ponds and waterfalls, or you can make it a DIY project. This is also a great way to take care of any drainage problems you may have during wet weather. Add a few goldfish and a few small plants to create your own personal outdoor oasis.
46. Cover Up Any Eyesores
If you have anything particularly unappealing in your backyard-such as outdoor air conditioning units, utility meters, or old buildings-add landscaping around them. For example, you can place a lattice fence around an outdoor A/C unit (as long as it still has plenty of ventilation). You can essentially fix any eyesore you have in your backyard by adding tall or bushy potted plants.
47. Make Your Own Pergola
A pretty pergola seems like an expensive endeavor, but you can easily build one on a budget. The size of your backyard will determine how big (or small) it will be, but this design’s dimensions can be altered to fit any space.
48. Create an Outdoor Lounge
This lounge is a combination of new and reused: The gazebo from Home Depot helped anchor this small back patio, and a couch and thrift store chairs were given a DIY makeover to create a cozy outdoor seating area. And how cute is that coffee table made from a galvanized tub and a wire spool?
49. Hang String Lights without a Pergola
If you don’t have an existing structure to hang string lights from, anchor poles into planters with cement, then add plants (this blogger used lemongrass and citronella to ward off bugs).
50. Go Green
Want to add a splash of green to a brick patio? Follow blogger Liz Marie’s cue and snag a faux grass rug to jazz up the space.
51. Hang a Hammock
Is there anything more soothing than a hammock gently swinging under string lights? This easy-to-pull-off setup is guaranteed to be your favorite spot to relax.
52. Hang String Lights
String lights are an easy, affordable way to turn your porch into an enchanting oasis. Let string lights drape from the ceiling or a railing, or hang them from a wall.
53. Paint a Picnic Table
Add pops of color to a plain wood picnic table by painting the benches and tabletop with a bright hue.
54. Build a Tea Pot Fountain
Add a piece of DIY decor to your garden or backyard with this fountain made from an iron tea pot and an old whiskey barrel.
55. Build a Shutter Fence
If you’ve ever wanted to do try unexpected and creative in your backyard, use old shutters to build a “fence.” Paint a vibrant color, too, for a pretty backdrop.
56. Set Up the Ultimate Outdoor Dining Table
Create an intimate tented space with bamboo poles secured in planters. (Surround poles with bricks or rocks to stabilize; top with moss or pea gravel.)