The Most Creative Backyard Decorating Ideas
A backyard, for those lucky enough to have one, is a place where memories are made. Here are some of our favorite decorating ideas to help elevate the experience of getting outdoors.
Whether you're on a sprawling property like Martha's Bedford home or you have just enough space to for an outdoor dinner table where you can gather your immediate family or al fresco meals, a backyard 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. Whether you're looking to create a spot where you can read and relax, where your kids can play, or where you can commune with nature, our creative ideas will help you maximize your yard's potential.
The best backyards are multi-functional, incorporating aspects of formal outdoor gardens and dining spaces into one. What's more, they should serve as an extension of your indoor entertaining hubs, especially now in the age of COVID-19 when outdoor gathering (at reasonable distances) is safest. 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 more life to your backyard, and they also 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, either: 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 backyard décor ideas that will help you get the most out of your space 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. 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.
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
Is your backyard bathed in full, direct sunlight? Since trees can take years to grow, provide much-needed cooling shade during the summer months with a swath of fabric that goes up in mere minutes. Best of all, you can easily take it down when you want the sun to shine through.
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. Striking, durable kales and cabbages are planted among the more traditional tomatoes, onions, and lettuces.
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.
Even if you don't have room for planters or hanging plants, you can add live centerpieces and incorporate greenery into a tabletop in any space. Even if you're not hosting outdoor dinner parties right now, you can make an open-air meal feel a bit more special for your family. To that end, be sure to top your tables with lots of natural greenery and flowers.
You don't need to be an expert gardener to successfully grow flowers, plants, and vegetables in your backyard, which is good needs 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 raised bed. They can be beautiful and functional.
Create an Outdoor Dining Room
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.
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. Anchor your hammock to an exterior wall or purchase a freestanding frame.
Bring your living space outside with a sectional set for family to enjoy. 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
This is the perfect solution for anybody who doesn't want to deal with a lawn or 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.
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.
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.