27 of the Most Creative Backyard Decorating Ideas

These outdoor décor ideas will bring your space to the next level.

backyard furniture with pillows and decor

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / GETTY IMAGES

When the weather starts to warm up, there are few places we'd rather be than outside. But if your backyard isn’t spring and summer ready, you’re likely on the hunt for ways to spruce up your space. Ultimately, the best backyards are multifunctional, striking the perfect balance between visual appeal and convenience—after all, this is a place to gather with friends and family, so you want it to look beautiful and facilitate entertaining. Luckily, with the right outdoor décor ideas and tools, you can create a backyard that feels welcoming and relaxing.

01 of 27

Create Outdoor Seating for Two

backyard chairs under umbrella

Pernille Loof

It's nice to have a big table where groups can gather, 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 sneak away.

02 of 27

Add a Fire Pit

california backyard firepit and table
Kimber Collective

You don't need much space to enjoy a fire in your backyard. Invest in a fire pit, which allows you to sit around the warm flames with friends and family on cool spring or summer nights. "A fire feature can be used to bring personality and character into your own outdoor retreat," says Kerrie Kelly, creative director of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. "There are so many different styles, colors, and finishes available, [so] the possibilities truly are endless."

03 of 27

Add an Umbrella

umbrella giving shade to beautiful backyard

HadelProductions / GETTY IMAGES

Quickly provide structure and shade in your backyard with a few aesthetically pleasing umbrellas. "It works for the cafes and restaurants and it’ll work for your backyard," says Rebekah Zaveloff from KitchenLab Interiors.

04 of 27

Exterior Lighting

lighting decor in backyard with chairs and tables


Lighting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to cast an enchanting spell in your backyard. "Even the simplest of patio lighting ideas—such as a string of twinkle lights—can create an intimate, cozy feel that will invite guests to linger at the table," says Kelly.

05 of 27

Add a Cooking Space

cooking space with grill in backyard


Whether it's an outdoor grill or an entire kitchen, adding an outdoor cooking space is a great way to elevate your space. "When dining al fresco, we continue to see a blurring of the lines where the indoors ends and the outdoors begins," says Kelly. "A meal is now an experience—by being able to cook, entertain, and relax while enjoying the calming effects of nature, you're one step closer to creating your own outdoor oasis."

06 of 27

Add a Water Feature

bird bath in backyard garden

Jacky Parker Photography / GETTY IMAGES

Water features, like bird baths and fountains, are an easy way to drown out unwanted street noise. "Running water has a soothing effect on people, so it's a great addition," says Zaveloff. "Reflecting pools are another great way to add a focal point and serenity to your back yard. "

07 of 27

Lay Down Gravel

garden path made with gravel and stones


Consider substituting some of your grass with pea gravel, crushed gravel, or stepping stones (with ground cover in between). No matter the material you choose, it's important to define your seating space with non-turf materials so you don't have to move tables and chairs to mow the lawn, says Zaveloff.

08 of 27

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 gather outdoors with your family more often. This open-air dining room is a call back to both classical architecture and Monet's home in France.

09 of 27

Add a Bistro Table

Bistro table and chairs for backyard picnic

Peerayut Aoudsuk / EyeEm / GETTY IMAGES

A bistro table and chairs provides extra seating without taking up too much room. "I love setting up a bar on an outdoor marble bistro table—it creates a festive mood and gives you a place for people to gather and congregate," says Zaveloff.

10 of 27

Add Soft Features

rattan couch with pillows and rug on backyard patio

KatarzynaBialasiewicz / GETTY IMAGES

Add comfort to your space with outdoor pillows, rugs, and throw blankets. "When it comes to styling with outdoor soft goods, pay attention to texture, size, and color palette—just as you do indoors—and don't be afraid to mix patterns, playing off the surrounding environment for the ultimate curation," says Kelly.

11 of 27

Hang 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, string it between two trees, or purchase a freestanding frame.

12 of 27

Incorporate Path Lights

pathway lights
bruev / Getty Images

Be sure to layer the lighting in your backyard when designing your outdoor space. "While outdoor string or bee lights are great, nothing is better than low-voltage path lights and discreet landscape lights that highlight the branches of trees and bushes," says Zaveloff. "It makes the yard feel like a warm hug."

13 of 27

Create Fresh Tablescapes

summer table settings
Ryan Liebe

If you don't have room for planters or hanging plants, you can incorporate greenery onto your tabletop when you entertain outdoors. Fresh tablescapes can make an open-air meal feel more special, so try topping your tables with lots of natural plants and flowers.

14 of 27

Add a Trellis

white trellis with flowers surrounding

HannamariaH / GETTY IMAGES

A trellis is an easy way to prevent intense afternoon sun from overwhelming your yard. "An added bonus is you can train flowers, plants, or vines to grow upon it, visually enhancing your outdoor space," says Kelly.

15 of 27

Bring Inside Outdoors

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 lantern that casts a warm glow at night.

16 of 27

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 condominiums. There are a few ways you can optimize whatever amount of outdoor space you have, but one of our favorites is creating a beautiful and functional raised bed.

17 of 27

Add Adirondack Chairs

adirondack chairs in backyard

annaphillipsnz / GETTY IMAGES

If you don't have enough space for a large outdoor seating arrangement, try high quality folding Adirondack chairs. These are ideal because they can be moved around when you need more space. "They also have enough space on the arm to rest a drink, so you don't even need a table," says Zaveloff.

18 of 27

Consider Small-Scale Upgrades

lost creek farm wisconsin hot tub
Christopher Churchill

Everyone dreams of having a lap pool surrounded by a lush, sprawling garden. 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 backyard retreat.

19 of 27

Add Window Boxes


Add greenery to your backyard without taking up too much space by installing window boxes that are full of personality. Use interesting flowers in a myriad of shades and be sure to vary height texture. The mix should complement the rest of your backyard's décor.

20 of 27

Outdoor Pathway Perennials


This is the perfect solution for anyone 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.

21 of 27

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.

22 of 27

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.

23 of 27

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 reach from foot traffic. You can add one, two, or a whole slew of these space-saving hanging planters to your backyard.

24 of 27

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 and provide much-needed shade during the summer months. Best of all, you can easily take it down when you want the sun to shine through.

25 of 27

Create a Vegetable Garden


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

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Plant Fragrant Flowers

fragrant magnolia blossom

Krzysztof Baranowski / GETTY IMAGES

Make your backyard smell inviting by growing fragrant flowers. "Planting colorful and fragrant flowers is the perfect way to add charm and style to any outdoor living space," says Kelly. "Whether it's a back patio, a garden, or balcony, flowers can make the area special for family gatherings, outdoor parties, and intimate dinners for two."

27 of 27

Add an Archway

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 beautiful summer garden, is set off by neoregelia on the left and angel's trumpet on the right.

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