Your home might be your castle, but having a beautiful yard will make you really feel like royalty. Whether you’re throwing backyard barbeques or just sitting around relaxing with your family, consider starting with a well-planned backyard design.
Everyone has different needs when it comes to the backyard. Will you do the design and maintenance yourself or let someone else handle the work? Do you want something that stays the same over the years or something you can change each year? In particular, you’ll want to consider the following important aspects when looking at backyard design ideas:
- Available space
- Watering, especially if you live in a draught-ridden area
- Regular upkeep, including weeding and mowing around the area
- Whether you want perennial plants that regrow each year or annual plants you will replace
The best landscape design for you is one that fits with your personal home design style. It should make you want to spend time in your backyard and fit with your lifestyle. Check out the following garden ideas to get inspired to make your backyard even better.
1. Mountains of Plants
Carving out circular areas or curved paths among the green grass is a common idea for incorporating flowers into the backyard design. Note how the homeowner has placed taller plants in the center of these areas and surrounded them with colorful flowers closer to the ground. This almost gives the areas a mountainous look, but the intent is to draw the eye upward. Having several separate but defined spaces in the garden allows you to experiment with different types of plants rather than sticking with a few favorites.
2. Wandering Paths Backyard Landscaping
Though the backyard deck shown here is relatively small, it feels big with the stone path leading you on a journey throughout the space. This would be great for taking a meditative walk to clear your mind in the morning. Using flat rocks rather than traditional pavers gives the path a more natural feel. The patio and pergola create a separate “hang out” space, and stone edging helps keep the garden design weed-free. There’s just enough green grass here to lend color to the space, but you won’t have to spend a lot of time mowing every weekend.
3. Focus on the Fire
Who doesn’t love a firepit in the backyard? Many backyard ideas incorporate this popular space. The brick patio is essential for safety when lighting a fire, so don’t forget to plan for that. Though the garden is definitely well-designed and intentional, it serves more as a backdrop than a focal point. Sticking with green plants allows you and your guests to focus on the fire and on each other. Best of all, green plants like this tend to be perennial, so you won’t have to fuss with planting new things year after year.
4. Finding Room for Color
Having a grassy area with straight lines certainly makes it easier to mow, but you might feel like you’re missing out on all the color that flowers add to the space. That won’t happen if you take advantage of this backyard landscaping idea. The fire area uses small pebbles rather than bricks to keep things safe, but poles around the exterior of the space help define the area vertically. They’re a place to hang flowers and sparkling lights to give ambient lighting when the sun goes down. Large barrels around these poles are a creative way to add some flowers.
5. Design for First-Timers
If you’re looking for backyard design ideas that are perfect for beginners, check out this idea. The curves on this landscaped area are easy to do on your own, and they’ve simply placed large plants or flowers in this space. Bushes like these are easy to care for and will last year after year with a bit of trimming. To get the beautiful look of flowers shown here, let the nursery take care of the flower design. Simply purchase hanging planters of flowers and plant them into the ground rather than keeping them in their pots.
If you’d like to do something with your backyard, but aren’t really into backyard ideas that dominate the space, you’ll love this idea. Simply dig out a small area for flowers around the outside of the home and use bricks as edging. The large green plants here are hostas, which are ridiculously easy to take care of and come back year after year. You can also get striped varieties if you want something a little different. Pair those with the color of impatiens – or any other type of color flower you like – and you’ve got a great match. This homeowner has taken things a step further by matching the flowers in the garden with the flowers in the window box. Best of all, you could complete a design like this on your own in a single weekend.
7. A Waterfall of Flowers
This beautiful look is perfect for almost any type of garden. Though it looks like a pot of flowers has been tipped over, with the flowers spilling out, it’s actually carefully designed to look that way. You can purchase a large pot like this at most garden shops. There will be a flat bottom that places the opening on the side. While you do want flowers that look like they’re spilling, you’ll have to plant some in the ground to create that same effect.
8. Just Swinging in the Garden
What good is a well-planned backyard design if you’re not going to actually use the space? Here, rustic stones create a path through the landscaped area to reach a garden swing. It’s the perfect spot to relax the day away. If you’d like even more color than this look provides, consider adding vining flowers to the pergola above the swing. Sweet-smelling varieties will make this an even better place to hang out.
9. Modern Patio
If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of rain, you’ll want to think twice about backyard landscaping ideas that focus on lush greenery and mounds of flowers. Here, the backyard is primarily made up of wooden planks and stone squares, which don’t require water. Small areas of native plants help create that backyard feel that you want without driving up your water bill. If you’re not sure which plants are native to your area, speak with a professional landscaper or someone who works in a local nursery.
10. Keeping Weeds at Bay
One of the biggest challenges in most garden designs is having to keep the weeds from creeping back into your garden area. Sometimes, you have to make a plan to weed daily to make sure that your garden looks just the way you want it to look. That’s not as much of a problem when you put down a good layer of mulch, as you’ll see in this picture. For a bit of variety, this homeowner has changed the colors of the mulch, with the light brown mulch around the trees and the red mulch in the other area. Small rocks can also act as a weed-blocker, and they’re used here as a contrast to the two types of mulch.
11. Keeping the Tree
This is another backyard landscaping idea that won’t require a lot of water to keep up. Rather than focusing on a stone patio on the ground, this homeowner has created a vast space using wood. This particular idea allows there to be different levels of patio, which gives the space an interesting look. Bamboo planted in a line will eventually form a wall of privacy, which is a nice, natural look. An interesting thing they chose to do was to leave the tree growing in the space, building the deck around the tree and having green plants sneak up through the hole. Cutting down a tree that large would have taken away the natural shade it provides, so this will keep things cool and protect people from getting sunburned.
12. A Flower-Shaped Garden
If you’re looking for cute garden ideas to go with your home decor, you’ll love this idea. A winding brick path ends up at a circular area that’s just the right size for a small café table. Jutting off of this circle are smaller half-circles filled with flowers. When you look at it from this angle, it almost looks like a flower-shaped patio, and it provides a nice little retreat. Note that with the small corners between the separate “petals” of the design, you’ll need to use a weed whacker to cut the grass. Be careful not to cut the flowers as well!
13. Look Up!
You’ll find that most backyard design ideas focus on the various ways you can arrange flowers and other plants in the yard. This homeowner has taken landscape design to a whole new level – literally. The small circular patio area is the perfect size for a table for two, and the surrounding pergola with beautiful roses will make you feel like you’re in a room made of flowers. The chandelier adds an unexpected touch that could be practical for enjoying the space in the nighttime.
14. A Room of Your Own
If you’re the type of person who spends summers inside to avoid the sun’s harsh rays, consider how this creative gazebo will allow you to be outside and inside at the same time. The path in this backyard design is interesting because it cuts through one of the landscaped areas rather than going around it. The tall plants in the area of flowers add depth and color, but they also hold a secret. If you look closely, you’ll see that they’re hiding a patio table on the other side. This gives you the privacy you might want, creating a cozy little nook in the garden.
15. Go With Your Favorites
Flowers come in every color of the rainbow, and a lot of backyard landscaping ideas make use of this variety to create an incredibly joyful space. However, this backyard design just goes to show that sticking with a single favorite color or type of flower can work very nicely in your garden space. Here, purple flowers dominate the lush, green space, with a few white flowers for variety. Two purple stools on the patio area tie in with the rest of the design and offer a unique garden seating choice.
16. Built for Nighttime Bonding
When you think about what type of backyard design ideas are right for you, you have to think about how you plan to use the space. This space is all about good friends hanging out late into the night. The rocks lining the path aren’t uniform, giving the design a great DIY feel, while the stones and circular pavers help it feel put-together. By stringing lights into the trees, you’ll have convenient lighting into the night and shade in the daytime. While there are small landscaped areas, the focus is really on the fire and the chairs surrounding the fire. Sit back and relax while you chat with your friends.
17. Bridging the Gap
Sometimes, an extensive landscape design means that you can have trouble going from one side to the other. This is a cute way to make a small path without feeling like you have to clearly define and separate the landscaped areas with bricks. It looks like a bridge crossing a “river” of beautifully landscaped areas. Save money by creating this wooden bridge with scraps leftover from a project, or take the idea and change it up a little by using logs or stones to make a bridge.
18. Flowing Flowers
A typical garden design might include rows of flowers. This photo takes this basic idea and makes a few changes by having the rows of flowers take wandering paths. The bright blue flowers contrast nicely with the pink and red flowers, while the bushes and trees in the background add some extra height. These lead up to a gazebo to provide some shade while outside. You can also see that the homeowner has chosen to use similar flowers in each of the landscaped areas dotted throughout the backyard.
19. The Sound of a Fountain
Any great backyard landscaping idea incorporates all of your senses. While it’s normal to hear the sounds of tweeting birds, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as the sound of running water that you’ll get from a fountain like this one. The fountain dominates this small backyard while the areas along the perimeter of the yard are bursting with colorful flowers. The blue trellis offers an interesting way to section off the backyard while still giving a sense of openness. With an actual door, you’ll really feel like you’re stepping in to another world.
20. Yin Yang Garden
Consider this creative landscape design if you want something that’s easy to take care of and a little bit different from the rows of flowers you typically see in front of the house. The contrasting colors of the rocks, along with the curved line made from the white rocks and the small plants dotting each area have the feel of a yin yang symbol that’s been stretched out. An idea like this won’t require a lot of water, and the rocks should prevent the weeds from creeping in.
21. All You Want
When you have a small backyard, it can feel like most backyard landscaping ideas are out of your reach, especially if you dream of creating a fabulous place for hanging out. This picture shows that you really can have it all. Though the backyard is small, there are three separate areas for eating or hanging out with your friends. There’s a small bit of grass, some beautiful flowers and even a large outdoor fireplace. Another interesting element of this backyard design is the tall shelf against the house. This is a great way to grow herbs for use in your cooking. Just walk out on the deck and take what you need.
22. Fireplace Patio
Following the winding stone pathway and taking a few steps up will bring you to a sprawling patio area. A grand outdoor fireplace dominates the space, encouraging you and your guests to sit back and relax. Having a fireplace like this one rather than an open fire or a fire pit makes it a bit safer if you have little ones running about. A mound of purple flowers sits in the ledge that surrounds the patio, adding a small pop of color to the space.
23. Plenty of Yard
This interesting patio winds its way alongside the house. Unlike a patio with straight edges, this look allows you to have small little pockets of beautiful flowers while still providing plenty of lawn for playing. Your family could use the open grassy area for casual picnics or kicking a ball around. A tall fence surrounds the backyard for privacy, but adding plants just in front of the fence softens the look. This is the perfect plan for anyone looking for garden ideas that incorporate flowers into a family-friendly design.
24. Backyard Ideas for Renters
When you’re renting a place, you don’t always have the ability to dig right in and create your own space. You have to stick with the home design you’re given. However, an idea like this one can be inexpensive and won’t bother the landlord. Simply pick up a table umbrella – you can sometimes find these at thrift stores – and secure it in a barrel full of flowers. Instant shade with a creative look. By placing the chairs and tables in the mulched area, you won’t have to worry about damaging the lawn.
25. Garden of the Gods
This gorgeous garden design looks as though it could satisfy the gods. A small pond area with waterfall provides a relaxing sound that’s perfect for meditation. The statuary around the area give this idea a Greek feel. Throughout the space, you’ll find a wide variety of flowers and plants, which helps keep you interested as you look around. Some plants are low to the ground, while others burst joyously upward. Intricate lanterns will give you light after the sun goes down, and the designs will cast unique shadows throughout the garden. This area is serves as a great retreat when you need a bit of solitude, but could also provide a good setting for catching up with an old friend.
26. Country Garden for a Country Cottage
This home might not be set in the country, but you wouldn’t know that from stepping into the garden. The homeowner uses unique coloring in the home itself, then extends these colors out into the garden with flowers that match the home. The stone patio gives it a rustic feel, but is also convenient because it means that you won’t have to worry about lawn care. The green in this backyard comes solely from the landscape design.
27. Cute Pathway Idea
The pathway winding through this landscape design recycles logs of wood in a creative way. Use up wood from a tree you’ve cut down or ask for a few logs when someone in the neighborhood cuts one down. What makes this look really nice is using different sizes of cut pieces, so try to choose some logs from different parts of the tree. When you’re going to use an idea like this, though, you need to remember that the wood needs to be treated with a sealant. If you simply place them in the ground as-is, it will only look good for a few years, then the wood will start to rot.
28. Or Try This Path
In this backyard landscaping idea, the path itself is defined by the way the homeowner has placed the curving bushes. These are low to the ground and easy to maintain. Rather than working on an intricate pathway, though, they’ve chosen to simply fill the path up with small pebbles. This will naturally prevent any weeds from growing and will continue to look great year after year. This look is perfect for anyone looking for backyard design ideas that resemble a maze on the castle grounds. Kids will love running up and down the path and it makes for a nice morning stroll as well.
29. Lighted Waterfall
Coming up with backyard ideas for a yard that has a slope can be a challenge. Mowing hilly areas is difficult or dangerous, so consider ideas that do not require mowing, like this flowing stream that goes throughout this space. The homeowner here has created a very interesting look by lighting up a few of the little waterfalls. When the sun goes down, these lighted areas look magical, as though it’s the light itself flowing through the river. Even if you don’t want a river running through your yard, you could make use of the idea of lighting up plants to add some interest to the space.
30. Unique Vines
Pergolas are a great way to set aside a little nook for sitting. Many people love to train vines of flowers up the poles and over the top, giving some privacy. Unfortunately, it can take several years to create that look. Get it instantly with a pergola like this one, which has faux vines enclosing the space. Putting comfortable seating in this area makes it a nice little retreat from the stone patio area, which would be a better place for eating.
31. Small Patio for Two
When you live in a townhome or condominium, you often only have a small yard and patio space like this one. You might want to add color, but have difficulty coming up with backyard design ideas that can fit such a small space. Here, the small patio table is perfect for a light breakfast or afternoon tea in the garden. Though the landscaped spaces are fairly small, they’re made to feel larger by using flowers and plants that are bushy and take up some space. Hanging planters are another good way to add some flowers to a small place, especially if it’s a place you’re renting.
32. Inside the Secret Garden
Fans of the book by Fances Hodgson Burnett will find that this is the garden design they’ve always dreamed of. The brick wall is an unlikely choice in many of today’s gardens, but when it becomes covered with vines, it adds an aura of secrecy. The square bushes may look like something out of an old English estate, but they’re not as difficult to create as you might think. With a bench for relaxation and plenty of flowers to entice your senses, anyone will love slipping away to their own little secret garden.
33. Sleek Patio Area
This look is perfect for someone who has a small backyard area and prefers backyard ideas that don’t require a lot of yard work. The dark wood of the table and chairs matches the dark wood of the patio itself. Rather than using a natural looking waterfall, the homeowner has chosen to use a modern waterfall sculpture. Tall plants around the perimeter add to the feeling of privacy while providing a touch of nature. This landscape design would work well for those who can’t use a lot of water maintaining a lush green space.
34. Rocky Gardens
No matter what type of plants you have in your garden design, you know how important it is to keep weeds out of the area. Many people do this by laying down mulch, but that needs to be replaced every year. Instead, this idea uses relatively large rocks to block out any growth you don’t want. It’s a relatively unusual idea, but since the rocks are similar in size, it looks really put-together. The gray color of the rocks also helps provide a nice contrast to the green of the grass and other plants scattered throughout the yard.
35. Zen Garden
This is another backyard design that will work well for those who don’t want to waste water keeping their backyard green. Large, flat patio stones make a pathway throughout the space, while smaller rocks fill in the gaps between the pathway. The large Buddha statues make it feel like a meditative space, and the tall potted plants make it feel a bit more natural. A design like this is a great, stylized alternative to the more typical look of a backyard garden.
36. Hills of Flowers
We’ve seen how nice it can look when the flowers and other landscaping plants you choose have different heights. This backyard landscaping idea works for those times when you don’t particularly want to choose taller plants. Instead, you build up small hills of dirt and plant your favorite flowers in the hill to draw the eye upward. Working with perennial flowers like tulips can be tricky. They won’t last the whole season, so you have to plan for what will be there after they die. With a well-planned garden, though, you’ll have beautiful flowers throughout the spring and summer.
37. Simple Small DIY Space
Many backyard garden ideas require a lot of time and money to keep them looking their best. If gardening isn’t really your thing, you might wonder how you could have a backyard that looks put-together without putting a whole lot of work into it. If that sounds like you, check out this picture. A few small planter areas house some hard-to-kill plants. The floating deck is made from wooden strips that look more like the inside of a home than the typical deck, which gives a very unique look to this comfortable seating area. You’ll love stepping out into this little backyard retreat.
38. Leveled Luxury
This homeowner uses a landscape design that takes advantage of the hilly backyard. At the top of the hill, near the house, there’s two patio seating areas for eating or casual conversation. A stone path leads you down to the next level of the lawn, an open grassy area, surrounded by carefully chosen plants. This setup would be perfect for family gatherings. Kids can play in the yard down below while the adults chat on the patio. Also note the small pond by the patio, which adds even more interest. You might even attract a few frogs.
39. Low-Water Landscape Design
When you live in areas like Texas or Nevada, you know that you need backyard ideas that don’t require a lot of water. For many, this means you have to turn to succulent plants rather than the gorgeous flower gardens more typical in the northeast – unless you copy this idea. This homeowner has planted two small rose bushes in the backyard. The rest of the yard is made of small pebbles, so you won’t have to water that, but you can definitely spare a bit of water for a few plants like this.
40. Escape the Sun
If you don’t have a lot of trees in your backyard, you might need some garden ideas that incorporate a bit of shade. After all, few people want to sit out in the hot sun all day. Pergolas offer an excellent way to offer some shade without blocking too much. Don’t be afraid to use more than one in your home design. This homeowner has one up on the patio and another in the backyard. They also have a nice trio of fountains that will create a comforting gurgling sound. Perhaps they’ll also attract some thirsty birds looking for a drink.
41. Come Down to the Fire
This homeowner also has a hilly backyard and solves the problem by creating stairs that lead down to the perfect backyard for hanging out. The large gas firepit will turn out with just a push of a button, and there’s plenty of seating for everyone. In the background, you’ll see open grass for playing croquet or ladder golf. A few small plants dot the hillside leading down to this area, and the hill has plenty of mulch to prevent the area from becoming overrun with unwanted growth.
42. Stately Symmetry
If you ever wanted to feel like you’re living in a sprawling estate, this is the backyard design for you. A large fountain sits at the center while a brick walking path leads you under a variety of gateways. Don’t have the home decor to match something this grand? Look at the way they’ve used symmetry and copy that idea. Both sides match, which can be a hard look to achieve when you’re talking about flowers and plants. By sticking with large, bushy types of plants and flowers, it’s easier to achieve this type of symmetry.
43. Rocky Levels
This backyard landscaping idea is interesting in that it uses two different types of rocks in different levels. Small rocks form the initial layer of the garden, while much larger rocks act as a retaining wall for the plants. The area with plants is small – which means that it won’t require a lot of water – but there’s a lot of interest with the various colors and textures. This idea could work well whether you have a small backyard or a larger one that you want to frame with something creative.
44. Horizontal Haven
With a fence that places the planks of wood horizontally rather than vertically, you end up with a backyard area that looks like it’s an extension of the home itself. Long, rectangular slabs of concrete make up the majority of the patio and tie in nicely with the home design. Having grass growing between the slabs softens this modern look. The home decor motif of rectangles continues with the planters and the fireplace set into the wall. Even when a wider shape is necessary – such as the area around the tree to the right – you still see the rectangles from the low hedges.
45. Extravagant Fountain
A fountain in the backyard doesn’t necessarily have to look like a natural waterfall, as you can in this photo. This is a crisp, sparkling pool surrounded by lush greenery. The large sprays of water keep the water churning and create a delightful sound for relaxing. The fountain even extends down to a second level, which you could design as a pool for swimming. Don’t want something so fancy? Steal the idea of planting flowers into a wide bowl or using small plants to create a carpet of green rather than grass. The bowls of flowers will look good on almost any patio, and the green plants don’t require the same amount of maintenance as grass.
46. Small Retreat
Fences may bring necessary privacy, but they can also make a space feel stark and impersonal. That feeling changes when you have vines growing along the fence to soften the look. With the pebbled area around the firepit, you might feel as though you’re escaping to the beach, even if your home is out in the suburbs or in the middle of the city. By adding plants around the area, you give this backyard design a bit more color and texture. This look is perfect for those who prefer beachy home decor.
47. Backyard Oasis
With patio chairs set up to look out on the large pond and fountain, you’re sure to find this a relaxing space. This landscape design makes use of a lot of green plants rather than bright and colorful flowers. This makes for a tranquil space that doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. In particular, note the use of hanging planters on the patio. These add a bit of life to the otherwise cold stones, and are also easy to take care of. This is a great look for those who would prefer to spend their free time relaxing rather than weeding the garden.
48. Outdoor Living Room
If you’ve ever felt like extending your home decor to the outside, you’ll love this look. The outdoor really makes this sofa seating area feel like it’s a living room, and the long fireplace set into the wall completes the feeling. Large, hanging umbrellas like this one are becoming more popular because you can place them anywhere, unlike other styles that need to be set into a table or set up over the whole patio area. Beyond the patio, you’ll also find a fountain, a hammock and a wide variety of plants and flowers that make the yard look great. Lights placed into the ground, like the ones you see lighting up the trees in the background, add a nice touch of ambient lighting for nighttime gatherings.
49. Elegant Stonescape
Various colors and textures in the stones and rocks used in this garden design add a lot of interest to the space. You have the smooth yellow-red colors in the patio, the round gray rocks in the landscaped areas and the bricks in walls that aren’t uniform. All of the plants chosen sprout up, adding a bit of height. Even though it’s quite rocky in this area, there’s enough green to make it feel natural and trees provide the shade you need to stay comfortable.
50. Built for Entertaining
Many people are looking for backyard design ideas that are perfect for entertaining, and this photo shows how easy it can be to accomplish this goal. A wide patio space has one area for eating at a table and another area for sitting around the fire. Grassy areas are a great space for kids to play, and you can see they even have their own picnic table in the background. With just a few plants and plenty of mulch to keep weeds at bay, you won’t have to waste a lot of time maintaining the garden. You can use your time for hanging out with friends instead.
Steal These 50 Backyard Landscaping Design Ideas to Create a Better-Looking Backyard
To create the best backyard design for you, think about the space that you have and how you want to use it. Someone who wants to host large parties is going to want a different look than someone who wants a quiet place to retreat with a good book. Sticking with plants and flowers that are native to your area is a good way to reduce the amount of upkeep you have to do. No matter how much you might like a particular flower, sometimes they just don’t grow well where you live.
As you’ve seen from this extensive collection of photos, backyard landscaping ideas come in many shapes, sizes and styles. Whether you prefer geometric lines or curving pathways, bunches of flowers or sleek waterfalls, it’s easy to come up with a design that fits your needs. Simply take the space that you have and transform it into your own personal retreat. We hope that we’ve given you a lot of inspiration for creating the perfect backyard.