Your backyard provides you with the perfect space to relax, enjoy a swim, cook, or entertain. If you’re ready to give your home’s outdoor space a makeover, the sky’s the limit. Whether you love to swim, eat, or simply enjoy some outdoor relaxation, it’s important to know how to style and design your backyard right. From a pond or swimming pool to new landscaping, this guide has some helpful tips and ideas to get you started. Read on to discover a few ways you can style and design a truly unique backyard for year-round enjoyment.
Unique Styles for Your Backyard Makeover
Choose your backyard style based on your home and lifestyle. Here are a few of the most popular backyard styles to consider.
- Tropical Oasis: If you live in a warm climate, consider planting beautiful tropical plants like palm trees, bamboo, and hibiscus. Add an in-ground or above-ground swimming pool and a deck to create a relaxing and fun tropical getaway.
- English Garden: A lovely pond with fish and lily pads and a small bridge can transform your backyard into a beautiful, relaxing outdoor space. Include plenty of colorful flowers and lots of hedges to recreate the calm and tranquility of an English Garden. Use pavers or stones to make a nice path or walkway through the backyard and light the way with solar path lights.
- Kids’ Paradise: Children love to have their own special place to play. If you have kids, consider installing a complete playground or a swing set where they can get outside, play, and use their imagination. A nice sandbox and an incredible treehouse are other great items to add.
- For the Foodies: Install an outdoor kitchen that includes a built-in grill and patio area with comfortable outdoor furniture. You can also install remarkable, heavy-duty cabinets that are weather-resistant to make your outdoor kitchen complete.
Backyard Design Elements
Every backyard is different, but there are some essential design elements that every beautiful backyard needs.
- Layout: Just like you’d consider the layout of the inside of your home, the same applies to your backyard. Consider the size and shape of your backyard and use it as a guide to design a layout that works for you.
- Color and Texture: Plants, furniture, and hardscaping like stones and pavers help you create a combination of color and texture. Layer textures by incorporating different types of plants and combining soft cushions on your furniture to contrast with the hardness of your patio and walkway. Add more color by using a wide variety of flowers and other plants and by adding a patio umbrella or colorful patio furniture cushions for a fun touch.
- Light: Every space needs proper lighting, including your backyard. Use overhead lights to provide more brightness in the evening and solar string lights or walkway lights for accent lighting. Wait until you’ve completed your backyard makeover and have the layout in place before installing any new outdoor lighting.
- Scale and Proportion: Make sure that everything in your backyard is to scale so that nothing overpowers anything else. Use trees and shrubs to create a nice visual look that gives the backyard an even appearance.
Outdoor Furniture Tips
Since you’ll be spending lots of time in your new backyard, you will want to add some quality outdoor furniture. Here are some tips to help you find the right furniture for you.
- Choose furniture based on functionality: If you plan to cook and serve food outside, focus on buying a beautiful outdoor dining table and chairs. If it’s the pool you’re interested in, invest in a set of nice patio lounge chairs. Picking out furniture based on its use is the best way to get the most out of your investment.
- Look for quality materials: Since your outdoor furniture will be outside most of the year, make sure it’s made of durable, weather-resistant materials. Furniture made of rattan, wicker, aluminum, or teak wood is a good choice.
- Keep it cohesive: Whether you love modern or classic designs, try to purchase outdoor furniture from the same brand or collection, so everything looks cohesive and seamless.
- Don’t forget the cushions: Outdoor cushions on chairs and sofas will add comfort, color, and style—select cushions with removable covers made of weather-resistant fabrics that won’t fade in the sun over time.
Elevate with the Right Layout and View
When designing your new backyard layout for the best view, keep these tips in mind.
- Define different spaces: Use an outdoor area rug, pavers, and plants to create different spaces. It’s also important to make sure that it’s easy to walk around, so keep furniture and features separated so that there’s plenty of room in between them for walking.
- Install glass doors: A set of sliding glass doors or French doors will improve your view of the backyard from the inside. These doors also make it easy to go in and out, and they open wider so you can bring food out without struggling. If your backyard is against the kitchen, consider upgrading your windows to a larger size so that you have a lovely view of the outside.
- Draw your layout: Part of any outdoor design includes planning ahead. Write down the size and shape of your backyard on paper, then try a few different layout options before installing features, planting plants, or adding furniture, so everything is in its place the way you want it to be.
Picking Landscaping and Plants
Every good backyard starts with the landscaping, so keep these tips in mind when making your new backyard design.
- Go native: Look for plants that will survive and thrive based on your location and climate. Drought-tolerant plants are best if you live in a dry environment and help to save water. Native plants are also easier to care for, saving you money and time.
- Use trees for shade: Beautiful, tall trees not only make your backyard look beautiful but also serve as a source for shade and an excellent place for some tire swings for the kids. Trees also provide a haven for birds and other wildlife.
- Know your zone: Look into buying plants that will do well in your specific hardiness zone so that they survive through the winter.
- Mix and match: Incorporate as many different plants as possible to give your backyard design a unique look. Various trees, flowers, and hedges will add height, texture, and color.
The sun can make your backyard get hot and uncomfortable, so consider these items to add cooling shade.
- Patio umbrellas: A large patio umbrella is a perfect choice by the pool or over a backyard dining table to keep your guests nice and cool.
- Pergolas: Not only do pergolas add beautiful visual appeal to your home, but they also offer additional shade. You can build a pergola DIY, hire a contractor, or look for a kit for easy installation.
- Sunshades: This inexpensive solution will add lots of shade to your backyard. Make sure you choose a material that’s wind and weather-resistant and attach it to your house or some posts using durable hardware.
Have Fun with Water and Fire Features
Water and fire features make your backyard more attractive and appealing, so keep these ideas in mind.
- Pond: A pond adds natural beauty, but it does require a good amount of effort and maintenance. Fill your pond with aquatic plants and colorful fish, and ensure you have the right equipment, including a quality pump, filter, and cleaning tools.
- Fountain: Install a gorgeous outdoor fountain to add a tranquil touch to your backyard. Some fountains are solar-powered, while others require attaching them to an electrical source. Either way, a fountain is always a beautiful, welcome addition to a backyard.
- Firepit: A beautiful firepit is terrific to gather around, make s’mores, and have some fun conversations. You can choose a stand-alone firepit to move around or dig one in the ground and surround it with bricks or pavers for a permanent fire feature.
More Fun Outdoor Features
Here are a few more ideas to inspire you to add some unique features to the backyard.
- Grill: If you enjoy cooking outdoors, don’t forget to add a grill to the backyard. Whether it’s gas or charcoal, a grill is a must-have if you’re planning to host a few cookouts.
- Swimming pool: A new pool is a significant investment, but it can provide you and your family with years of enjoyment outside. Consider whether you want an in-ground or above-ground pool, and don’t forget to include a nice deck or concrete patio around it.
- Kid’s playground: Keep the kids entertained with swings, a treehouse, or a complete playset. Depending on your needs, you can add this to one corner of the yard or make it the main feature.
- Hammock: Relax and take a nap outside with an awesome hammock. You can find hammocks that attach to a stand or choose one that goes between two trees or poles attached to a rope. This is an excellent choice for a yard with a beautiful garden or swimming pool.
- Garden: A lovely vegetable garden can add beauty to your backyard while also giving you delicious foods you grow at home. You can also plant a flower garden or design a beautiful xeriscape if you live in a desert climate.
If you plan to spend time outside at night, remember these lighting tips.
- Light the way: Focus on adding lighting that will illuminate the walkways and areas leading in and out of your backyard first.
- Accent it: From string lights to small garden lights, some accent lighting will highlight the many beautiful features of your garden and home.
- Go solar: If you want to save on energy, consider using solar outdoor lighting instead of hardwired lighting.
Whether you love to go swimming or cook outside, it’s easy to design the ultimate backyard oasis. Keep these tips in mind as you choose a layout, plants, lighting, and fun features. With the right backyard design, you’ll have a place to enjoy and entertain your guests for many years to come.
Guest Writer: Alejandra Orozco
Originally published on porch.com.