The Most Creative Backyard Decorating Ideas for Any Space

canvas umbrella
Photo: Pernille Loof

A backyard is a place where memories are made, and a yard of any size holds ample potential. Armed with a sense of imagination and the right tools, you can design—or choose—backyard décor that feels welcoming and relaxing. The best backyards are multi-functional, incorporating aspects of formal outdoor gardens and dining spaces into one. Add green details wherever they can fit—whether in garden planters, garden beds, or alongside concrete walkways. Hanging plants and window boxes are other space-saving ways to add more life to your backyard, and they free up the ground for furniture and dining sets.

And don't feel like you're limited to wicker or canvas furniture, either: Some of the best pieces can come from indoors with a few DIY finishing touches. Here, we gather some of our favorite backyard decorating ideas (with pictures!) to help you realize the possibility of your outdoor space all year round.

01 of 17

Create Outdoor Seating for Two

canvas umbrella
Pernille Loof

It's nice to have a great big table that groups can gather around, but there's something equally appealing about creating quiet areas for smaller gatherings, too. Pockets of outdoor seating, either in the garden or by a pool, will serve as great conversation areas or spots where you can get away.

02 of 17

Enjoy a Fire

california backyard firepit and table
Kimber Collective

You don't need much space to enjoy a fire in your backyard. Invest in a firepit, which allows you to sit around the warm flames with friends and family in the cooler months. Just remember to practice fire safety when enjoying this space.

03 of 17

Create a Canopy

backyard canopy shade
Seth Smoot/MSLO

Is your backyard bathed in full, direct sunlight? Trees can take years to grow, but a swath of fabric can go up in minutes to provide much-needed cooling shade during the summer months. Best of all, you can easily take it down when you want the sun to shine through.

04 of 17

Smart Landscaping


This vegetable garden was designed to be both beautiful and compact. If space allows in your own backyard, work a natural garden into the setting. Visually striking, durable kales and cabbages are planted among the more traditional tomatoes, onions, and lettuces.

05 of 17

Archway Entrance

Lisa Romerein

If you want to naturally divide a larger backyard into sections while also elevating its overall aesthetic, try adding a formal archway. This one, which leads to a summer garden, is set off by neoregelia on the left and angel's trumpet on the right.

06 of 17

Fresh Tablescapes

outdoor tablescape
Kate Mathis

Even if you don't have room for planters or hanging plants, you can add live centerpieces to incorporate greenery into a tabletop in any space. Fresh tablescapes can make an open-air meal feel a bit more special, so try topping your tables with lots of natural greenery and flowers.

07 of 17

Garden Planters

california house vegetable garden bed
Kimber Collective

You don't need to be an expert gardener to successfully grow flowers, plants, and vegetables in your backyard, which is good news for families with small backyards or those living in apartment buildings or condos. There are a few ways you can optimize whatever amount of outdoor space you have, but our favorite is creating a beautiful and functional raised bed.

08 of 17

Create an Outdoor Dining Room

long island home outdoor dining area french design
William Abranowicz

Centering your backyard around a dining space is a great idea if you want to get your family outdoors more often. This open-air dining room was designed to evoke both classical architecture and Monet's home in France.

09 of 17

Swing in a Hammock

Red Hammock in the Garden
Getty Images / Jon Lovette

If you're short on space but still want a place to lounge, hanging a hammock in your backyard is manageable for most homeowners. Anchor your hammock to an exterior wall or purchase a freestanding frame.

10 of 17

Outdoor Living

back porch with sectional couch globe light
Björn Wallander

Bring your living space outside with a sectional set for all to enjoy. Here, homeowners anchored the environment with a bamboo ceiling and a Noguchi lantern that casts a warm glow at night.

11 of 17

Small-Scale Upgrades

lost creek farm wisconsin hot tub
Christopher Churchill

Everyone dreams of having a lap pool surrounded by a lush, sprawling garden in their backyard. But if space is tight, consider small-scale iterations of the features you love. A custom-built hot tub just like this on can be paired with a select few garden planters to create your own luxe retreat.

12 of 17

Window Boxes


When it comes to arranging flowers in a window box, you should aim to create a design that's full of personality. That can be achieved through the choice of flower, color, shape, size, height, or texture. A great mix can complement the rest of your backyard's décor.

13 of 17

Outdoor Pathway Perennials


This is the perfect solution for anybody who doesn't want to deal with a lawn, but also doesn't want to give up on the idea of backyard green space. There are dozens of low ground covers and creeping perennials resilient enough to withstand being walked on.

14 of 17

Build a Drop-Down Bar


Whether you're cooking outside or want to keep a pitcher of fresh lemonade at the ready, adding a surface that can easily fold out (and away) whenever you need it will make your life so much easier. A drop-down bar is the perfect solution.

15 of 17

Fresh Roses


A unique alternative to a traditional trellis, a network of eye hooks and picture wire creates the effect of a rose-covered cottage. Roses can be trained around corners or in slender columns by loosely tying stems to the wire with twine. If growing your own blooms is important to you, make them part of the actual layout in your yard.

16 of 17

Hanging Plants

hanging plants
Johnny Fogg

Like any suspended garden planter, these DIY leather holsters guarantee good drainage and keep vines and tendrils out of curious pets' and toddlers' reach. You can add one, two, or a whole slew of these hanging planters in your backyard, space permitting.

17 of 17

Exterior Lighting


Lighting is one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to cast an enchanting spell in your backyard.

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