The Most Creative Backyard Decorating Ideas
Whether you're on a sprawling farm like Martha's Bedford home or you have just enough space to host a few friends, a backyard of any size holds ample entertaining potential. Armed with a sense of imagination and the right tools, you can design any space to feel welcoming, and create a space for gardening, dining alfresco, or just enjoying the outdoors.
The best backyards are multi-functional, incorporating aspects of formal outdoor gardens and dining spaces into one, and serving as an extension of your indoor entertaining hubs. Accentuate your backyard with green details everywhere they can fit—whether you choose to install garden planters, mix an assortment of perennials into your garden beds, or soften concrete walkways with contrasting patches of grass. Hanging plants and window boxes are also space-saving ways to add fresh, green life to your backyard, and they free up ground space for outdoor furniture and dining sets. A curated seating area is also a must, whether you're serving a full meal outside or simply looking for a cool spot to enjoy cocktails on a warm, sunny afternoon.
Your backyard doesn't have to be exclusively furnished with wicker or canvas pieces: Some of the best pieces can come from indoors with a few DIY finishing touches. A piece of wooden furniture, like a wooden dining or side table, can be painted with exterior paint, and metal furniture can get a coat of protective spray paint as well. Keep this furniture looking good from season to season by moving it under the eaves or covering it with a protective tarp.
We gathered examples of some of the most well-designed backyards we've toured over the years, as well as projects and other design features that will help you get the most out of your backyard all year round.
Create Outdoor Seating for Two
It's nice to have a great big table that groups can gather around, but there's also something equally appealing about creating quiet areas ideal for smaller gatherings, too.
Enjoy a Fire
You don't need much space to enjoy a fire in your backyard—invest in a firepit, which allows you to sit around a the warm flames with friends and family in the cooler months. Just remember to practice fire safety when enjoying this space.
Create a Canopy
If you want to naturally divide a larger backyard, 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.
You don't need to be an expert gardener to successfully grow flowers, plants, and vegetables in your backyard, which is a good solution for those living in urban areas as well. There are a few ways you can optimize this space—including adding plants and flowers that aid declining pollinators in the wild. If you're working with space limitations, start by creating a raised bed. They can be beautiful and functional.
Create an Outdoor Dining Room
Swing in a Hammock
If you're short on space but still want a place to lounge, hanging a hammock in your backyard is manageable for most homeowners, even if there aren't any trees in sight. Anchor your hammock to an exterior wall or purchase a freestanding frame.
Bring your living space outside with a sectional set for family and guests. Here, homeowners anchored the space with a bamboo ceiling and a Noguchi lantern that casts a warm glow at night.
Small Scale Upgrades
Everyone dreams of having a lap pool surrounded by a lush, sprawling garden in their backyard. 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.
Outdoor Pathway Perennials
Build a Drop-Down Bar
If you don't entertain all the time and would rather not have to move a buffet table in and out whenever you have people over, add a surface that can easily fold up when you don't need it. A drop-down bar is the perfect solution.
A unique alternative to a traditional trellis, a network of eye hooks and picture wire was used to create 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.
Lighting is one of the easiest (and least expensive) ways to cast an enchanting spell in your backyard.