35 Beautiful Backyards (2024)

Your backyard is your private retreat. Enhance it by adding touches that make it special: a water feature, comfy seating, lovely plant beds, even just a hammock. Here is some inspiration.

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Create zones

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Using a variety of natural materials like pea gravel, a Michigan homeowner carved a rectangular backyard into defined zones for entertaining, dining and sitting.

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Mood setter

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A koi pond says serenity when situated next to a seating area shaded by trees and multiple umbrellas in this Twin Cities backyard.

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Extended use

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Screened patios extend your season outdoors and transition to patios. Plantings of hydrangeas echo the blues in the seating area and white of this Door County, Wisconsin, home.

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Table games

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This table, created by an Iowa garden designer, reflects the designer's love of geometry. It's a rectangle and two cylinders, furniture distilled to its structural essence. The table's legs are hard-fired terra-cotta chimney flues and the top is built out of cedar four-by-fours and four-by-twos.

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Make a splash

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This classically designed fountain provides a decorative focal point-and soothing sound-for an Illinois garden.

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Lush landscaping

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The naturally lush setting was one of the attractions for the homeowners of this Lake Michigan cabin. They planted more trees, bushes and flowers on the half-acre property that was already blessed with towering pines.

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Outdoor kitchen

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This outdoor kitchen works hard so you don't have to. Stone stands up to the elements, and there is every appliance you could need to serve gourmet fare.

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Up and away

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Having just a sliver of yard in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood couldn't squash this homeowner's dreams for a stunning outdoor retreat. His solution? Escape to the roof.

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Curving beds

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Undulating beds of low-maintenance perennials give a finished look to your landscape and decrease yard chores. Wide green paths curve through this yard in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.

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Small-space makeover

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This homeowner in Columbus, Ohio, divided his 50x50-foot backyard-bookended by house and garage-into four outdoor rooms filled with amenities for relaxing or entertaining.Read more about this backyard.

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A place to relax

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Bamboo, a hammock and a koi pond offer a bit of the tropics-and an appealing place to relax-in this Kansas City yard.

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Inviting entrance

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An arbor supporting summer-blooming clematis and honeysuckle leads to a prairie garden in this Illinois backyard. Twig chairs and a sculpture made from old garden and farm implements add whimsy.

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Connect home and nature

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Architectural elements unite this covered patio to the home, as do the ceiling fan, chandeliers, upholstered furniture and fireplace. Brick and wood keep it tied to nature.

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Add whimsy

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This sweet gazebo in a Grayslake, Illinois, yard adds whimsy via its color scheme and its gingerbread-type trim elements.

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Feature water

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Any water feature adds beautiful sounds and movement to a yard. This Door County, Wisconsin, yard incorporates a waterfall into the pond and one leading to the stream. Using native rock around it blends it seamlessly into the landscape. Koi add a flash of color.

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Lush look

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Pile on the amenities for a showstopper setting. Multiple seating areas, artistic touches, a pergola and a mix of textures combine to treat the senses in this Kansas City, Missouri, yard.

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Dress up your shed

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The back of a shed becomes a canvas for artists in this Janesville, Wisconsin, garden. What would you paint?

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Shady setting

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If your yard is shaded, use it to your advantage: Plant hostas like the ones lining this babbling brook in a Stillwater, Minnesota, yard.

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Make connections

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A low bridge links two parts of this yard while also marking the transition from formal landscaping to a more natural look.

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Create a vista

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If your yard lacks a view, create one. Gazing balls and an arbor add special touches in this Wisconsin garden.

Warm the woods

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Dense tree cover doesn't have to leave you in the cold. Pick a fire pit sized to warm a seating area in the shade. Ferns and hostas fill the shade with bright greenery.

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Go vertical

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Plant vertically for an eye-catching focal point in your yard. In this Door County, Wisconsin, garden, framed sedum and succulents make living art.

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Dramatic contrasts

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A stone fireplace and wood flooring and beams give this covered patio a rustic nature, but the wave recliner, nesting table and chair set, and carved chair say modern styling.

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Intimate seating

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This tiny patio tucked into a yard provides seating for two, warmed by a diminutive fire pit in a Twin Cities backyard.

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Japanese theme

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A dry stream bed-each stone selected and placed by the Illinois homeowner-is just one of many elements that make up this backyard Japanese garden. Read more about this garden.

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Outdoor rooms

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With a living room, dining room and kitchen, outdoor living is just as comfy as it is indoors.

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Beautiful trees

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Create visual interest in your backyard just by choosing out-of-the-ordinary trees. The unusual shape of the Weeping Norway Spruce at right and the delicate Japanese maple at left draw attention in this Illinois garden.

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Decorative seating

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This classically styled bench is both a practical and decorative accent in an Illinois back yard.

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Rustic arbor

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A Wisconsin homeowner constructed this sturdy arbor using cedar logs. The rustic design suits the country garden, which is on property that was once a Wisconsin dairy farm and cheese factory. The tall blue delphiniums are 'New Millennium' hybrids.

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Step it up

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Three wide steps transition from the yard to a wide deck featuring an area for conversation and one for dining. Note how accessories pull the house color onto the deck.

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H2-Ooooh

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It's easy to relax when burbling fountains and chattering waterfalls supply the soundtrack. As nature's kinetic art, moving water is a surefire crowd-pleaser. You can DIY a fountain by adding a submersible pump to a ceramic pot or urn.

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Destination escape

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Surrounded by lush plantings, a table sits on pavers almost overgrown with greenery. Centerpieces of potted plants enhance the garden theme, and a fountain adds a burble. The combination creates the feel of an escape-no matter how close to neighbors.

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Carve out a corner

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With a drive running behind this home, the owners had to carve out privacy. Surrounded by planters and picket fence, the simple pad is fun and functional. Two tables, a buffet and a stunning light keep the party zone useful day into night.

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Two tiers of function

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These homeowners make the most of the space below their deck with seating, a hanging chair and curtains that close for privacy.

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Dining niche

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Placing a picnic table in a nook between planters makes for a shady dining area, and the planter walls guarantee privacy.

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

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Regarding the concepts mentioned in the article about enhancing your backyard, let's discuss each one:

Create zones

Creating different zones in your backyard can help define specific areas for entertaining, dining, and sitting. This can be achieved by using natural materials like pea gravel to carve out distinct spaces.

Mood setter

Adding a koi pond next to a seating area shaded by trees and umbrellas can create a serene atmosphere in your backyard.

Extended use

Screened patios can extend your outdoor season and transition to patios. Plantings of hydrangeas can complement the seating area and the overall aesthetic of your backyard .

Table games

A unique table design, such as a rectangle and two cylinders, can add a touch of geometry to your backyard. The table can be made using materials like terra-cotta chimney flues for the legs and cedar for the top.

Make a splash

A classically designed fountain can serve as a decorative focal point and provide soothing sounds in your garden.

Lush landscaping

Enhancing the natural lushness of your backyard by planting more trees, bushes, and flowers can create a beautiful and vibrant environment .

Outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen equipped with stone countertops and various appliances can make outdoor cooking and entertaining easier and more enjoyable.

Up and away

If you have limited yard space, consider utilizing your roof as an outdoor retreat. This can provide a unique and private outdoor area in urban settings.

Curving beds

Incorporating undulating beds of low-maintenance perennials can add a finished look to your landscape while reducing yard chores. Curved green paths can also enhance the overall design of your yard.

Small-space makeover

Dividing a small backyard into multiple outdoor rooms can maximize the use of space. Each room can be filled with amenities for relaxation or entertainment.

A place to relax

Creating a tropical ambiance with elements like bamboo, a hammock, and a koi pond can provide a relaxing and appealing space in your yard [[11]].

Inviting entrance

An arbor adorned with summer-blooming clematis and honeysuckle can lead to a prairie garden, adding a touch of whimsy to your backyard [[12]].

Connect home and nature

Architectural elements, such as a covered patio, can help connect your outdoor space to your home. Using materials like brick and wood can maintain a natural aesthetic [[13]].

Add whimsy

A gazebo with a colorful scheme and gingerbread-type trim elements can add a whimsical touch to your yard [[14]].

Feature water

Incorporating water features, such as a waterfall or pond, can add beauty, movement, and a sense of tranquility to your yard. Native rocks can be used to seamlessly blend the water feature into the landscape [[15]].

Lush look

Creating a showstopper setting in your yard can involve multiple seating areas, artistic touches, a pergola, and a mix of textures. This can provide a visually appealing and sensory-rich experience [[16]].

Dress up your shed

Transforming the back of a shed into a canvas for artists can add a decorative and creative element to your garden [[17]].

Shady setting

If your yard is shaded, take advantage of it by planting shade-loving plants like hostas. This can create a cool and serene environment, especially near a babbling brook [[18]].

Make connections

Using a low bridge can link different parts of your yard while marking the transition from formal landscaping to a more natural look [[19]].

Create a vista

If your yard lacks a view, you can create one by incorporating elements like gazing balls and arbors. These can add special touches and visual interest to your garden [[20]].

Warm the woods

Even in dense tree cover, you can create a cozy atmosphere by adding a fire pit that can warm a seating area. Ferns and hostas can add vibrant greenery to the shaded space [[21]].

Go vertical

Planting vertically, such as using framed sedum and succulents, can create an eye-catching focal point in your yard [[22]].

Dramatic contrasts

Combining rustic elements like a stone fireplace and wood flooring with modern furniture pieces can create a visually striking contrast in your covered patio [[23]].

Intimate seating

Even a tiny patio can provide a cozy seating area for two, especially when accompanied by a diminutive fire pit [[24]].

Japanese theme

Creating a Japanese garden in your backyard can involve elements like a dry stream bed, carefully selected stones, and a focus on harmony and simplicity [[25]].

Outdoor rooms

Designing outdoor spaces with a living room, dining room, and kitchen can make outdoor living just as comfortable as indoor living [[26]].

Beautiful trees

Choosing unique and visually interesting trees can add visual interest to your backyard. Unusual tree shapes, like the Weeping Norway Spruce, can draw attention and enhance the overall aesthetic [[27]].

Decorative seating

Incorporating classically styled benches can serve as both practical and decorative accents in your backyard [[28]].

Rustic arbor

Constructing a sturdy arbor using cedar logs can add a rustic touch to your country garden. Pairing it with tall delphiniums can create a visually appealing contrast [[29]].

Step it up

Transitioning from the yard to a wide deck with multiple levels can create distinct areas for conversation and dining. Accessories can help tie the deck's design to the house [[30]].

H2-Ooooh

Adding burbling fountains and chattering waterfalls to your yard can create a relaxing atmosphere with beautiful sounds. You can even create a DIY fountain using a submersible pump and a ceramic pot or urn [[31]].

Destination escape

Surrounding a table with lush plantings and potted plants can create a garden-themed escape in your backyard. Adding a fountain can further enhance the ambiance [[32]].

Carve out a corner

If privacy is a concern, you can create a private corner in your yard by using planters and a picket fence. This can provide a functional and fun space for outdoor activities [[33]].

Two tiers of function

Utilizing the space below your deck can create additional seating areas, such as hanging chairs and curtains for privacy [[34]].

Dining niche

Placing a picnic table in a nook between planters can create a shady and private dining area in your backyard [[35]].

These concepts can help inspire and guide you in enhancing your backyard to create a special and enjoyable retreat.

35 Beautiful Backyards (2024)

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