30 beautiful backyard ideas to help you create a stunning outdoor space for entertaining, relaxing and more

Designers love these beautiful and practical backyard ideas

We love backyard ideas. Here are three of these - a white house with white outdoor furniture and an umbrella, a pink and blue striped wall with blue rattan furniture, and an outdoor pool with a swan floatie and a leafy wall behind it
(Image credit: Black and Blooms / At Home With Ashley / Serene & Co.)

Finding clever backyard ideas will help you achieve the outdoor space you've always wanted — stunning, versatile, and easy to maintain. 

Whether your focus is gorgeous flowers and trees, or if you want a more minimalist backyard that caters to your entertaining needs, putting in the time and effort to properly plan your outdoor space always pays off. We've asked designers for tips that cover all these.

No matter if you're searching for large or small backyard ideas, there are so many great ways to take outdoor areas of all shapes and sizes to the next level. 

Beautiful backyard ideas

With fire pits, vegetable gardens, and DIY additions all within the realm of possibilities, there are many budget-friendly backyard ideas to try.

Our experts have recommended useful buys throughout, which we have shopped to help you get the look.

The prices below were correct at the time of publishing this article.

1. Go for bold colors

A small backyard with a bright blue wall, a rattan chair with a blue throw pillow, planters behind it, and a green lawn

(Image credit: Carpetright)

Bold colors and maximalism work so well to exaggerate space both indoors and out. Use this technique to create a cool backdrop in a small or even balcony garden space to complement the planting you do have. 

We love how this wall has a bold splash of color, a chic place to sit down, and plants around it. These all contribute to this cute little space having style and function.

2. Grow a vegetable garden

An outdoor vegetable garden with tall plants and an arch with leaves and vines woven around it

(Image credit: Connie & Luna)

Want to make your dinners al fresco taste even better? Consider making your own produce with a vegetable garden.

Once you've figured out where you want to establish your garden, plant your favorite produce. Herbs, tomatoes, zucchini... the sky's the limit. If you want to strike a balance between form and function, add a trellis to your kitchen garden

Building a trellis is an important part of growing your greens and it will make a big difference to your vegetable yield, giving them space and support to grow vertically.

3. Build raised beds

A wooden raised bed with a collection of yellow and purple pansies planted on it, set on a green lawn

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want to keep your backyard gardening low maintenance with raised beds. You build these yourself with wooden planks and can fill them with drought-tolerant plants and herbs 

Learning how to make raised beds is easy and is suitable even for beginner gardeners. Martha Stewart is a big fan of raised planters and says she won't grow her veg any other way.

4. Use a ladder to display plants

A wooden ladder with potted plants, a wooden fence, and gray pebbles and squares of lawn on the ground

(Image credit: Sugar & Cloth)

Chances are, you want to flex your green thumb, but don't have enough room for a sprawling garden. 

If this is the case, you can simply place a few potted plants on a leaning ladder. The result? An area that oozes forest vibes.

“This is a great way to add texture and greenery without taking up valuable floor space,” says Michael Plater, interior designer and founder of Gantri. 

These can also work as subtle backyard privacy ideas when decorated with curtains or trellis plants.

5. Create a mural

A pink, yellow, and blue striped mural wall with a white and blue rattan woven table and dining chairs and a pink rug underneath

(Image credit: At Home With Ashley)

Art is a staple of every gorgeous home, so why would your backyard be any different? 

Ashley Wilson of At Home With Ashley primed her wall with a fresh coat of white paint, and then dressed it up with streaks in every color of the rainbow. 

You could paint this yourself or enlist the whole family to create a striking feature you can all be proud of this weekend.

6. Build a fire pit

A fire pit with Adirondack chairs in a large unpaved backyard patio

(Image credit: Blesser Home)

Whether you have a hankering for s'mores or are on the hunt for a way to stay warm during those cool summer nights, a fire pit is the backyard gift that keeps on giving. 

In the above picture, Robert and Lauren of Blesser Home placed layers of stone in a circular configuration, removed the grass in the center, and added some chairs so guests can enjoy that gorgeous glow. 

Don't feel like building one? You can always buy one of the best fire pits, such as the Sol Outdoor Fire Pit from Wayfair with over 900 five-star reviews.

If you want lighting but are worried about bringing fire pits into your yard, the best outdoor lanterns may come in useful, too.

7. Decorate with tiles

A tiled patio with dark rug, furniture, and string lights

(Image credit: Jenna Sue)

From creating a DIY art project with the kiddos, to curling up with a good book, it's safe to say that making the most of patio ideas is a must in any backyard. 

If you want to give yours a stylish edge this summer, consider adding some pretty tiles, as demonstrated by Jenna Sue Design. 

While traditional tiles are ideal, peel-and-stick floor decals will deliver, too. The Seven Seas Marble Mosaic Tiles from Wayfair are a pretty choice.

8. Hang a hammock chair

A woven macramé swing chair seat in backyard with outdoor cushions and plants

(Image credit: Wayfair)

We can't think of any reason not to add a laidback hammock chair to your backyard to bring all the boho vibes to your space. 

Not only can it offer a relaxing place to curl up with a book, but it's also pretty easy to install.

If you want to achieve a similar look to the picture above, the Sand and Stable Hammock from Wayfair is a close match. Egg chairs are fun too.

If you’re short on space, you can hang a rain chain to add function and beauty, and even make your own unique rain chain.

9. Max out seating

A corner backyard patio with woven furniture, cushions, and a blue rug next to a white house with a lawn in front of it

(Image credit: Black and Blooms)

Since the great outdoors is a go-to destination for socially distanced hangouts, it’s important to create ample backyard seating for everyone. 

Sara Toufali of Black & Blooms doubled down on seating with a couch, two chairs, and some floor pillows. 

When it comes to buying outdoor furniture, it’s important to find items that can hold up against the elements. 

“Homeowners can sometimes be afraid of outdoor furniture as they are concerned it will clog up the small space,” says Mike Falahee, design expert and president at Marygrove. “However, I think adding bespoke pieces is excellent in bringing out the vision for your space.”

He suggests consulting local fabricators and getting the right furniture that fits your vision and budget. 

10. Bring in large lighting

A backyard area with a white house, a rattan pendant light, a black egg chair, and an L-shaped corner seat

(Image credit: New Darlings)

Once summer rolls around, you’ll be eager to spend all of your time outside — yes, even once the sun sets. This is why it's a great idea to bring in lighting to your backyard and consider patio lighting ideas.

Christina and Robert of New Darlings gave their outdoor space a homey edge with a rattan pendant light and cute, black sconce. 

11. Drape around string lights

Lovatt thatched cottage potting table

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Well-planned outdoor lighting ideas make a big difference to any backyard, large or small. 

If you want to give your backyard a serene, otherworldly glow, string lights are the way to go. We recommend going for festoon lights such as the Brightech Waterproof Lights from Amazon.

Hang these above your planters like above or even place them around your outdoor dining area for a restaurant-style finish. 

12. Add a playground

A wooden outdoor play hut with a ladder on top of a lawn, with a tree and a house behind it

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Bringing a play area into your backyard will not only create a space for your kids to play, but can also add a stylish interest point.

We love this treehouse which looks so Scandi, but you could also add beautiful swings and perhaps even a slide, if you have the space. The kids (and adults alike) will love backyard games, too.

13. Bring spa vibes with an outdoor shower

An outdoor shower area with a copper shower head, a light pink stone wall with towels hung on it, and a white long outdoor seat

(Image credit: Kyal & Kara)

Believe it or not, an outdoor shower isn't only for tropical hotels; you can easily incorporate one in your space, too. 

"This project was especially close to our hearts as it’s our family home," explains Australian design duo Kyal and Kara Demmrich. 

"A well-connected home that has plenty of room to entertain, cook, and enjoy family time. We’ve coined our style for [the] Blue Lagoon Build as ‘Australian coastal meets Mediterranean villa.'"

This backyard idea might require some time and elbow grease, but the serene results make it so worth it. 

14. Pick a pretty pool

A stock tank pool in tropical backyard

(Image credit: Serene & Co.)

Make a splash in your backyard — literally — with an outdoor swimming pool. While above-ground pools often come with an unstylish reputation, Rachel of Serene & Co.’s setup puts any skepticism to rest. 

The bamboo-inspired exterior is equal parts subtle and striking. Plus, the swan float and fringed umbrella make this backyard pool party-ready.

If you'd rather have a less permanent fixture, you could always grab a cute inflatable pool, such as The Looped Rattan Inflatable Pool from Minnidip and learn how to keep the pool clean and enjoyable all summer.

15. Create an outdoor cinema

Outdoor cinema with projector and green garden chair with moody lighting

(Image credit: Cuprinol)

Looking for a backyard idea the entire family can enjoy? Create an outdoor movie theater. 

All you need is a white sheet, some wooden dowels, and a pretty ribbon. Oh, and one of the best outdoor projectors, of course, such as the Happrun Projector from Amazon. Lights, camera, action!

16. Bring in a chalkboard

A backyard with a wooden fence with a black and white chalkboard on it, and four chairs around a black fire pit

(Image credit: George Barberis)

Think of a chalk wall as sidewalk art 2.0. Framing a chalkboard, as seen in this space by Hawkins Interiors, will give your kids full permission to get creative while keeping in theme with your outdoor decor. 

Bonus points: Their masterpieces can serve as great conversation-starters the next time you have guests over. You can also Uno-Reverse it, and pop your BBQ and drinks menu on it during gatherings.

17. Pick a wildlife-friendly pond

A small dark gray wooden pond in a backyard covered in greenery

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you prefer your backyard to look more natural, or if you want to attract more wildlife, consider building a garden pond. A pond is an easy DIY project that can be tackled in a weekend, but the positives for your backyard are plentiful and long-lasting.

Ponds not only increase micro-habitats and attract wildlife, but also improve drainage and make your backyard less vulnerable to floods. Position yours next to a seating area to maximize on the natural ambiance. Learn how to care for ferns to add lots of greenery.

18. Pitch up a pergola

A distressed wooden pergola with purple flowers around one pillar with a white iron bistro set beneath it with a teapot and teacups on the table and light green trees and bushes around the scene

(Image credit: OKA US)

A pergola can transform your backyard in several ways. First, it can help create a cozy, enclosed seating area, especially if you train some climbing plants to grow up it. It can also improve privacy if your backyard is more open concept, overlooked by neighbours or faces a road. 

You can learn how to build a pergola on a DIY basis — just make sure you invest in sturdy, quality wood. Ideally, building a pergola is a two-person job. Once yours is up and running, accent your pergola area with the best outdoor furniture for a polished look.

19. Work with your landscape

A backyard area with a brick patio with a wooden sunlounger with lime green cushions and different sized green bushes and trees around it with red, white, and yellow flowers

Garden design by @picturereadygardens

(Image credit: HannamariaH / Getty)

Whether you are exploring sloping garden ideas or if your backyard is positioned on a steep incline, try to work with what you have rather than trying to change the landscape or work against it. Whatever your terrain, it's always better (and cheaper) to work around it. This is also a great technique to implement when planning cottage gardens.

If you are dead-set on changing it, consider learning how to level a yard yourself and spent the savings on furnishing it. 

20. Plant ornamental grasses

Rows of feather reed grass with pnk fluffy tops and dark green stems

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you want a low-maintenance backyard landscaping idea that delivers on visual impact, planting ornamental grasses will be your best friend.

Grasses grow quickly, add texture and dimension to your backyard planting, and look stunning at sunset. You can't go wrong with these plants, and they look amazing with virtually any backyard design style. 

Some flowers also provide beautiful blooms annually so learning how to care for hydrangeas will stand you (and your outdoor space) in good stead in the long run.

21. Add a few planters

patio lighting ideas, purpose built outdoor fireplace with lantern style sconces, white rattan couch and chairs, planters, coffee table, candlelight

(Image credit: Pooky)

Garden borders present many opportunities to get imaginative with your backyard design. 

One of the easiest things you can do to instantly add more interest is to create the illusion of more height with a large, tall planter. Choose a mixture of upright-growing and trailing plants for even more effect. 

22. Break up the space with a garden path

Garden path with stone stepping stones and plantings of Bearded Iris to the right

(Image credit: Avalon.red / Alamy Stock Photo)

Exploring backyard path ideas is a must if yours is all lawn and doesn't have distinct zones. 

Laying down a garden path will instantly break up the space visually. It will also make walking around the backyard much easier and more pleasurable. 

A garden path doesn't have to be expensive or installed professionally — many designs, including those with pavers, can be installed on a DIY basis (the Worth Garden Wooden Pathway is Amazon's Choice). 

23. Wow with a water feature

A brown circle water feature with a light brown stone path around it and tall green shrubbery on the borders

(Image credit: Karen Darlow)

The easiest way to add a dose of serene sophistication to your backyard? A water feature! Whether your space is sprawling or you have a postage-stamp-sized outdoor space, a water feature is quick to install and instantly makes your space feel and sound more relaxing.

24. Reach for a retaining wall

A backyard with tall purple, blue, and pink flowers and large green leaves next to a light wooden fence with brick pillars with trees behind it

(Image credit: capdesign / Getty)

Not only does a retaining wall look aesthetically pleasing and elegant, it actually comes with a handful of practical benefits as well, including flood control, slowing down soil erosion, and even creating an attractive property boundary marker should that be a sticking point with a neighbour.

25. Decorate with succulents

A dark brown wooden planter with lots of green succulents in it

(Image credit: @ Frances Lincoln)

We are big fans of east to care for plants that you can't kill, which is why succulents are a no-brainer for every type of backyard or balcony space. Whichever type you choose, their cool colors, shapes, and textures will bring a modern feel to your outdoor space. 

Just pop them in coarse, gritty soil in a pot with drainage, set them up in a sunny spot, and let nature do the rest. 

26. Play with contrasting patterns

An outdoor dining area with a colorful patterned tablecloth, wooden chairs with peach and blue throw pillows, and a pergola with green vines above it

(Image credit: Vanessa Arbuthnott)

Not all beautiful backyard ideas have to be labor-intensive or expensive. You can add softness, color, and design interest with printed cushions and a tablecloth. The bright soft furnishings used in this idea are made with stunning fabrics from Vanessa Arbuthnott.

27. Fake foliage on a balcony

Ikea gardening hacks

(Image credit: Ikea)

If you want a good outdoor space, but have zero space (and zero green thumbs), then this DIY idea is for you. 

Build a green wall for your balcony, patio or other outdoor space using fake flowers. This one, pictured above, has been made using a combination of artificial lilies, monstera leaves, and IKEA's very handy faux plant wall panels. 

28. Try floor paint

Garden transformed with paint

(Image credit: Emily Smith)

Getting artsy in a small backyard goes a long way, and the proof is in this stunning patio floor. The terrazzo print was simply created using masonry paint, and toothbrushes, but the effect is second to none. 

Despite it being such a simple painting hack, it adds instant color, energy, and interest, and is much more affordable than pulling up old patio tiles and replacing them. 

29. Throw down a rug

gorgeous garden party setting ideas

(Image credit: Chris Court (Photography) & Ingrid Weir (Styling) for Ikea)

Bring your living room outdoors by adding a jazzy rug and creating a centerpiece-worthy backyard ideas.

Use throws and small rugs for more cozy vibes, which will take a more modern setting from day to night. For example, we love the Outdoor Filifera Palm Pink Rug from Ruggable.

30. Create an outdoor room

Wildflower Summer House by Lights4fun

(Image credit: Lights4fun)

Whether you have a small greenhouse, tiny balcony, or a super modern backyard with a couple of areas, make the most of it by setting up a lush lounging spot with shelter from the elements. 

This is on of those lovely backyard ideas that speaks to us both on a visual and practical level.


How can I make my backyard more attractive?

Patios are your best bet where it comes to backyard ideas that really make a difference to the overall look of your space.

The other aspect to always keep in mind is maintenance. "Mow your lawn frequently to keep it short and neat, remove weeds, prune your plants, and keep everything well-watered so your yard and plants stay green and healthy," says Jeremy Yamaguchi, the CEO of Lawn Love.

Learn when to start mowing a lawn, and how to mow a lawn without killing off your grass.

What is the cheapest way to landscape a backyard?

If your backyard ideas have a fixed budget, there are a few areas you can tackle for big design returns with a relatively small spend. A paver patio will cost around $5,000. A patio can naturally serve as an entertainment space but can also function as a meditation or yoga area for relaxation and exercise.'

If your budget is significantly smaller, Yamaguchi recommends trees and shrubs. A young tree will only cost $100-200 and will look better with each passing year.

By bringing a mixture of flowers, furniture, and clever decor into your backyard, you can create a stunning area that you and your guests can enjoy lounging.

Once you've got the basics down, you might also find backyard privacy ideas handy for creating a secluded space.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.

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