These best backyards ideas will assist you in creating your ideal garden, from design ideas and planting suggestions to tiny upgrades.
You’ll be looking for backyard ideas if you’re planning a garden renovation. The secret to a successful design is a thoughtful combination of planting, landscaping, and lifestyle components, regardless of whether you’re considering a comprehensive remodel or just want to enrich and improve your backyard with a few additional features.
Start by considering the architecture of your house and the surrounding neighbourhood when choosing which backyard design ideas to use.
Follow the tried-and-true garden design principles we’ve outlined below to get the backyard landscaping ideas and planting right, then add your own distinctive spin to give your place the wow factor.
REAR YARD IDEAS
Garden designer Kate Gould(opens in new tab) says there are many things to think about when selecting backyard ideas for your outside space, including: personal preferences, the location, and whether you’re searching for backyard ideas on a budget or have a little more money to spend.
Despite the fact that all garden varieties, regardless of size or shape, can benefit from the same design concepts, each garden will ultimately depend on its owner’s preferences and needs as well as the particulars of the plot.
Two little gardens side by side and facing the same direction will be noticeably different due to the preferences of their owners. Garden design is made so much more interesting by this uniqueness.
Discover some of our best backyard transformation ideas for inspiration.
1. FIX FUNCTIONAL PROBLEMS
When redesigning a garden, there is an opportunity to not only improve its aesthetic appeal but also to address any practical or functional difficulties that could later become stressful and expensive.
Any backyard landscaping suggestions that can fix problems with the garden’s natural topography should be given first priority.
In a client’s garden, Joshua Sear, an architect and landscape designer of Barlow & Barlow(opens in new tab), took on a potentially major flooding issue. In fact, the garden sloped back down toward the house, drowning the property during rainy weather.
To fix this, he thought about other sloped backyard solutions and ultimately chose to “dig down two feet altogether and level the entire garden.” According to him, the yard and house are now flood-proof because this established correct drainage.
2. ADD TEXTURE TO A BACKYARD
By carefully planting in the space, you can make a significant influence on the area and give it the appearance of greater room when it comes to tiny backyard ideas. If you’re thinking how to make my backyard more opulent, thoughtful planting is one option.
For her client’s request to create “a magnificent “green” image that would serve as the constant visual backdrop to the main family kitchen/dining area,” landscape designer Jane Brockbank(opens in new tab) had to adhere.
The area behind a terraced Victorian home was “quite a difficulty,” as Jane recalls.
Jane chose to dig out the entire garden to the new basement level, including underpinning all the walls, and then plant in newly built beds at lower levels in order to achieve her goal of filling the space with “shimmery light and texture.”
It was a pretty little site, so we had to make it appear bigger and lighter than it actually was, says Jane. The walls received a lot of consideration because they are so tall. To balance this, we selected numerous tall, contrasting evergreen plants and evergreen climbers.
3. USE SHADING AND LIGHT TO GENERATE CONTRAST
Create contrasting vegetation in regions of light and shade to create a garden of contrasts. There are numerous trees and shrubs for shade that can produce a mood that is quite different from regions of the garden that receive more sunlight.
This little garden was made by award-winning landscape designer Emily Erlam(opens in new tab) from a long, narrow space behind her house. Its location makes it naturally somewhat shaded.
“I have some quite tall buildings in there, which provides an even bigger contrast between light and shadow,” the owner said, “and a tall wall on the rear elevation makes it feel extremely private and secluded. Its success in many ways has been this, adds Emily.
Different things need to be taken into account while planning a sloping garden. In order to maximise our ability to capture sun, we built raised terraces as you move up the garden. When viewed from the basement, these also offer the impression of a cascade of planting, according to Emily.
She continues to cultivate the planting since it was renovated roughly eight years ago, embracing its shadiness and referring to it as a “garden of evolution.” “I have discovered that different treatments are needed in some regions to maximise features like sunny spots and unique spaces,” she continues.
4. INCLUDE CUSTOM GARDEN FURNITURE
Don’t undervalue the role outdoor furniture plays in your backyard design plans; custom items can help you realise your particular vision for the area.
The Rosebank Landscaping crew produced this sculptural bench totally on location in the yard (opens in new tab). According to Matt Keightley, design director at Rosebank, “We chose iroko hardwood and steam-bent it on site to ensure it fitted exactly into the space.”
The curves of the bench’s seat are complemented by the vertical lines above it, and the tropical garden notion around it with its exotic plants creates a soothing contrast to the rougher surfaces of the wood.
Under the bench, we utilised Dryopteris wallichiana and Asplenium scolopendrium, says Matt.
It’s not necessary to buy garden furniture off the shelf. If you have the time and money, local fabricators can assist you in realising a special concept.
5. ESTABLISH A LIVING WALL.
Ideas for living walls can completely change the look of an outdoor area, especially when you’re seeking for backyard design ideas for smaller gardens.
The variety and complexity of the systems’ maintenance requirements make them appropriate for a variety of gardens.
This is one of two tall walls covered in vertical greening that Tom Massey Studio and Tapestry Vertical Gardens(opens in new tab) designed for the client’s garden in London.
“These walls evoke a sense of nature engulfing us.” According to Tom Massey, this offers a focal point for the dining area and has ambient lighting for evening gatherings.
One of the many vertical garden ideas that can maximise every growing surface is the use of living walls.
6. RIP OUT THE LAWN
Think about if your backyard needs a lawn. In family gardens, a lawn is frequently a crucial component to enable children to play; but, if it’s not, consider replacing it as part of your backyard ideas, especially if your garden is tiny or narrow.
In order to compensate their clients for giving up the lawn in this backyard, garden designers Charlotte Harris and Hugo Bugg of Harris Bugg Studio(opens in new tab) installed creative planting that adds far more ambiance than freshly cut grass ever could.
The white foxglove, Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmatian White,’ meadow cranesbill, Geranium ‘Brookside,’ and valerian, Valeriana officinalis, are abundant in the wildflower meadow-like planting as the garden opens to the sun, according to Charlotte.
The client’s love of foraging and cooking had to be reflected in the brief, which called for the creation of a sanctuary rich in nectar and foodstuffs for both people and wildlife.
There are numerous pollinator-friendly plants and tiny veggie garden ideas in the garden. Sage, thyme, fennel, and lemon verbena flourish in sunny areas, and wild strawberries and rosemary give texture and ground cover. For herb planter ideas, invasive mint species and lemon balm are cultivated in pots, and a Sichuan pepper with a high yield, Zanthoxylum simulans, is positioned toward the back.
A curving garden path design that leads to a “evening patio” in a tiny clearing at the back of the garden was created using stepping stones built from York stone paving that was rescued from the previous garden.
7. COMPOSITE MATERIALS
Consider the variety of materials you can use in your backyard design. Ideas for garden walls can mix textures and finishes.
When designing this covered resting space, which is a part of a London garden that is divided into three levels, attention to detail paid off. The exterior of this walled space was painted in a light shade to bring more light into the space, and horizontal fencing panels added another texture. Interior designers Kitesgrove(opens in new tab) collaborated with horticulturists Cameron Gardens(opens in new tab) who made the pots and planters around the outside of this walled space.
The vegetation reduces the severity of the boundary walls’ impact. Viburnum, pittosporum, camellias, and jasmine were chosen by Cameron in addition to other flowering and evergreen plants for their exquisite blossoms and all-night aroma.
The horizontal and vertical lines motif is continued by the striped outdoor rug, which also lightens and softens the appearance of the wooden decking.
The centrepiece of this courtyard garden design was selected as reclaimed stone that was salvaged from an ancient Georgian house. Pops of colour that make this a warm area for entertaining are able to stand out against the background of neutrality.
For the main terrace’s paving, Joshua Sear of Barlow & Barlow selected Trusloe limestone, and a recovered stone trough, lintel, and York stone cladding were also used to finish the area.
8. Between steps, plant
When thinking about how to landscape a backyard, the ideal strategy to lessen its impact is to include planting into the hard landscaping.
Here, a sense of natural beauty has been injected and the garden as a whole has been improved simply by placing vegetation between the steps.
The steps are constructed using concrete blocks and then covered with stone, according to landscape architect Stefano Marinaz(opens in new tab). We created a space between the stairs of around 100mm to accommodate Sarcococca hookeriana ‘Humilis’ and allow for soil and drainage. Because it remains compact, this particular evergreen sarcococca was chosen.
9. ADD DRAMA WITH EVERGREENS
You may still employ plants to add drama to a small or shaded outdoor setting.
In her own garden, landscape architect Emily Erlam has used their architectural shapes to make a noticeable green impact.
According to Emily, “There is a large number of evergreen sculptural plants, so it has strong structure all year round.” You may easily achieve the desired look by using a variety of fast-growing evergreen bushes.
“To liven things up and heighten the drama, I put some ornamental grasses and perennials that grow between these. She continues, “The plants’ contours hug the walls and some arch over the seating area to give it a cosy feeling.
10. ZERO DOWN YOUR backyard
Consider how you would like to utilise your outdoor area. For entertaining and impromptu barbecues, think about constructing an outside kitchen and dining space. You could also add a separate lounge room for some peace and quiet.
Another approach to increase interest in the garden is to include a hidden bench where you may sip your morning coffee or conclude the day with a G&T. The ideal way to reveal this would be as a surprise that wasn’t visible from the house. Ideas for covered patios are effective in this regard.
Garden zoning is the process of dividing an area into different zones.
It’s important to use garden screening ideas, climbers, and plants that act as veils to divide spaces rather than solid, opaque walls when attempting to create distinct zones. Adolfo Harrison, a garden designer, claims that this creates a more dynamic space without making it appear smaller (opens in new tab).
The most effective gardens disclose their nuances and inspire discovery, says garden designer Tom Massey. It’s a good idea to zone and divide gardens to draw attention to the area and attract visitors.
Tom continues, “Zoning and dividing a long, narrow garden creates a sense of intrigue, giving different areas different atmospheres and characters.”
11. PURSUE BOLD
The “inside-outside” lifestyle trend, in which the garden is viewed as an extension of the home, can be tapped into with patio design ideas.
Every tiny space must be carefully planned and contain all the elements that enable interaction between the house and garden. For entertaining and relaxing, choose hard surfaces. Add a surprising design element, like geometric tiles, for impact.
According to Kate Gould, “Making sure that your design is bold will give it longevity and make it desirable for as much of the year as possible.” “If the scheme’s foundation is sound, the planting will shine.”
12. MAKE A VISUAL LINK BETWEEN THE INSIDE AND THE OUTSIDE
Take one little thing, like a landscaping component, and use it to tie the house and garden together.
This garden’s subtle hand-thrown clay pavers give it a gentle, organic appearance that fits both modern and classic architectural schemes.
Tom Massey explains that the garden path uses the same stack bond construction as the clay pavers used on the home expansion. This establishes a visual connection between the home and garden. To fill in and soften the rigid landscaping, pockets are created by the staggered laying pattern.
Picking up a colour from the house and repeating it in the garden is another quick and easy approach to establish a connection.
Natural stone contrasts with concepts for corten steel planter boxes.
13. ELEVATE TO INTEGRATED SEATING
If you have the room, it’s a good idea to include a variety of seating spaces in your backyard design to create interest.
This would include options for eating and relaxing as well as throwing in the occasional wild card, such placing Adirondack chairs in a quiet area for browsing or reading quietly.
Think about including custom chairs made of materials like stone, brick, or wood that complement your room. Then, stylish seat pads that match your overall design can be applied.
When considering yard storage solutions for cushions, consider using a lift-up style. When you need more sitting, freestanding benches are a terrific option.
To utilise the area above your backyard garden, consider thinking vertically.
Ideas for pergolas will provide a striking architectural aspect, especially if you leave them unplanted and let their sleek lines to serve as a design element.
Pergola shade ideas are particularly helpful for sunny regions of the backyard. By providing garden privacy and protection, a pergola will open up new possibilities for entertainment in your back garden and provide a location that can be used regardless of the weather.
To increase the amount of time you spend outside when it’s chilly, simply add an outdoor rug, a backyard fire pit, or a heater.
15. BRING IN GARDEN LIGHTING
Using subtle garden lighting techniques, you may add drama to your garden at night and create a warm atmosphere. It adds a new dimension to an outdoor area and allows for year-round use of the garden.
When plants are uplit, they take on architectural characteristics and offer a dramatic dimension that is very different from during the day.
Choose uplights that can be moved to suit the mood and are either sunken into the ground or mounted on a movable spike. These are perfect for illuminating plants. As it filters up through the vegetation, the light creates sculptural shadows that are set against a wall or fence.
With their architectural features, ornamental grasses, bamboo, and palms work well with uplights to provide interesting shadow patterns.
Ideas for pool lighting can also transform your backyard space into a romantic gathering place at night.
16. ESTABLISH SECLUSION
Take into account what features can be added to make your room feel more private, especially if it is adjacent to other houses.
A excellent approach to create a private area is to use trees, such as these finest trees for screening and privacy or best trees for tiny gardens in huge pots. Additionally, there are a variety of shrubs and privacy hedges available.
Take inspiration from Mediterranean garden ideas and choose vegetation that will flourish in a protected area like this, but keep in mind that this needs to be accounted for in your layout. Consider how big things are going to develop.
According to Adolfo Harrison, “the employment of trees in these corten planters offers a sense of enclosure for an overlooking terrace.” “Corten steel complements both old and modern designs. It’s an effective technique to incorporate contemporary content with an antique vibe. Additionally, the orange colour makes a beautiful backdrop for flora.
A garden parasol or other patio cover ideas can also be employed as standalone screening devices if your area is visible from above but planting isn’t an option. No matter if you choose a classic or cantilever umbrella, our guide to the best patio umbrellas provides some helpful choices.
17. DESIGN YOUR SPACE
With carefully picked accessories that tie the entire ensemble together, add a personal touch.
Aim for these finishing touches to coordinate with the backyard design concept, whether they are smaller items like cushions, throws, and outdoor rugs, or larger ones like furniture and garden sculpture or yard art ideas. When entertaining, it’s also a fantastic idea to pull out folding tables and patio furniture.
Dove grey accents like as rugs, pillows, and throws are both modern and timeless. Grey is a nice neutral to incorporate into your planting design because it goes well with the cool hues of the lavender and white used here. It also meshes well with landscaping supplies like stone and concrete.
18. SELECT FLEXIBILITY
As this patio shows, even the smallest backyard or patio can be transformed into a fantastic party area.
This magnificent courtyard backyard features a comfortable lounging area that is encircled by vegetation to give the impression of seclusion.
19. MAKE A CENTER OF ATTENTION
The two areas will be connected by a visible focal point in the garden from the house.
This might be a water feature, creative garden pond designs, sculpture, eye-catching planters, or architectural plants that are lit up at night to create a moody setting that can be appreciated from inside as well. As the eye is drawn outside and past the walls, the inside will feel larger as a result.
This David Harber filigree bronze water wall(opens in new tab) gives a garden motion and an artistic touch.
20. KEEP PLANTATION EASY
Stick to a palette of planting with only one or two colours in addition to green for a low maintenance solution that looks excellent.
Limit the variety of plants you have because too many might look cluttered and fussy, especially if your backyard is small.
Always combine structural and seasonal planting, such as this pool area’s attractive and convenient combination of low evergreen hedges, grasses, and perennials.
Choosing where to place structural plants is a crucial first step during a makeover or renovation because they serve as the framework for a garden and help to define the space.
21. LIMIT THE COLOR PALETTE YOU USE.
The plants may take centre stage and the area is brought together by matching the seating and walling materials in complementary tones.
According to Kate Gould, limiting your palette to a tonal range or choosing one final touch as a highlight will produce a far more relaxing impression. Pick materials that complement your property and the neighbourhood.
Keep in mind your vision for your place at all times, and stay true to it despite how alluring other possibilities may seem. Throwing the kitchen sink at your garden will just make matters more difficult. Keep to your strategy, and your garden will turn out precisely as you had envisioned.
22. FEATURE A WATER ADDITION
Soothsing water features are at the top of everyone’s wish list when it comes to ways to add a calming aspect to the landscape. They look their best when combined with lush vegetation.
According to Tom Massey, “This corten steel bowl is filled with water that has been coloured black. It’s a simple and inexpensive method to use water in your design.” Its simplicity is the secret to its success. A serene environment is created by the motionless, reflected dark water and the luxuriant green planting of bamboo.
This type of reflection pool is simple to construct and attractive if you prefer a clean, uncluttered appearance. Additionally, there is no need for a pump, electricity, or water supply, which is advantageous if you want to keep an eye on the price of your yard’s landscaping.
23. USE THE RIGHT STRUCTURE
When it comes to hard landscaping materials, fewer is better, so pick only a few possibilities.
Raised garden beds that match the patio pavers also function as a border, changing the focus and drawing attention away from the yard next door. They also aid in establishing a private seating space.
When indoor-outdoor living is combined in this way, flooring materials that are practical, easy to sweep and clean, and tonally or materially match the interior finishes of the property help connect the places.
24. Make relaxation a priority.
Your backyard is a highly private area that belongs to you. It ought to be a tranquil setting. You might even make it into your own personal spa.
Perhaps you prefer the concept of a built-in hot tub for unwinding, desire a full-on pool for a plunge, or just need a somewhere to lay out your yoga mat and catch some sun. Whatever you decide, the design of any garden should prioritise leisure. After all, vacationing in your own backyard has become fairly popular in recent years.
Consider durable, low-maintenance deck ideas like non-slip porcelain tiles, which are useful when water is incorporated into the design and are also simple to maintain.
25. CAREFULLY DESIGN A SMALL SPACE
Balcony gardens and roof garden designs require more forethought, especially in terms of how you’ll care for the area.
Urban rooftops often appear to be cold, exposed areas, but with little professional advice, hospitable spaces can develop.
Adolfo Harrison, a reputable garden designer, was enlisted by interior designers Maddux Creative(opens in new tab) to assist with this rooftop garden. Grasses act as a screen to provide seclusion as well as weather protection for the custom seating. A table-top fire creates a captivating centre point while dual-purpose covering conceals a tall, unsightly structure and transforms it into a water feature.
Decking offers a tactile surface for walking in this instance. Real wood has grown in popularity as a design element for outdoor spaces, but it also requires ongoing maintenance and care. As a result, think about using wood-effect outdoor tiles to achieve the same attractive design without the high cost and yearly maintenance.
Due to its water and stain resistance, porcelain tiles are ideal for outdoor entertaining.
26. REPAIR YOUR LAWN
One of life’s pleasures is to stroll barefoot across a lush expanse of velvety lawn, and for many people, it’s a backyard necessity.
Learn how to aerate a lawn, how to fix bald spots, and how to plant grass seed to maintain it at its best.
The finest effects come from often mowing your lawn, but know how frequently to do it. During the summer, this typically means once a week. Leaving the grass out a little bit longer can lessen the likelihood that it will dry up and turn brown.
Learn how to fertilise a lawn and feed it a liquid feed that is high in nitrogen and designed to make things greener. Within a week, an improvement ought to be visible.
MY BACKYARD: WHAT SHOULD I PUT THERE?
Maintain simplicity. Establish your vision for your place and stay true to it. When you try to cram too much in, the finished product frequently feels rushed.
Planting is used to soften and enhance the space while hard landscaping materials form the framework of the garden. Attempt to combine the two in a more efficient manner.
Put your attention on planting that has a balance of colour, aroma, leaves, structure, and winter stems that provides interest all year long. To permanently green an area, always include some evergreens in your planting strategy.
Include a variety of seating areas, such as one for dining, one for relaxing, and one for silent reflection. Follow the sun (or shade) as it round the garden.
HOW CAN A SMALL BACKYARD BE MADE FUN?
Even though the backyard is modest, create a route through it.
Make sure to include parts of the garden that are hidden from first glance and can only be appreciated after spending time there. This increases the feeling of expectancy. It deceives the eye and gives the garden a false sense of size.
Unique elements and focus points will stimulate movement through to make the most of the space.
A striking planting scheme can draw attention away from small spaces, and contrasting textures and materials can help a room appear larger. Observe the details as well.
The addition of a chic mirror panel will affect and improve the area by diffusing light and producing eye-catching reflections.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT A BACKYARD LOOKS COZY?
Ideas for outdoor fireplaces instantly warm up a backyard. A tried-and-true method for creating a comfortable atmosphere in a backyard is to set up a seating area around a firepit, log burning brazier, or chiminea. To further the feeling of enclosure, think about a retractable roof cover or investigate pergola design options for your patio.
Another important aspect of designing a cosy space is lighting. With a variety of lighting options, you may create drama and mood for that crucial glow at night.
Start with low level recessed uplighters and battery-operated lanterns to achieve the best results before adding layers of lighting at various heights. Then add table-height hurricane lights, followed by wall-hung designs and outside string lighting strung between trees or from a pergola.
WHAT CAN I DO TO MAKE MY BACKYARD AN OASIS?
If you want to create a sense of privacy and transform your backyard into an oasis, boundaries are one of the first considerations you should make.
Fence panels with slats allow air to flow through and feel less stiff than solid blocks.
Another effective approach to block a view while increasing your own green space is using vertical living walls.
If your garden is overlooked, a row of pleached trees will serve to block out nearby residences and can be lit up at night to focus attention on your own space.
If you’re being watched, a pergola also provides seclusion from above.
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