7 Great Backyard Landscaping Ideas
A backyard is an extension of what’s going on inside your home. Usually, it is more colorful, casual, fun, and the possibilities are up to the terrain, your design skills, and your do-it-yourself know-how.
You can always hire a landscape designer or architect to help your outdoor space realize its potential. A skilled professional can guide you through the process of figuring out a style, deciding who will be using the yard, creating zones of activity, choosing materials and plants, and recommending builders and contractors for everything from swimming pools to outdoor structures to installing irrigation.
Explore 49 ideas that show you how to transform a backyard into your favorite space.
How do you design a backyard for children and parents that is safe, engaging, and attractive? Creo Landscape Architecture designed the backyard for this San Francisco area home that includes dining and seating spaces along with a grass-covered berm and interactive sculptures for the children.
The fence and bench are made of redwood. The fence features a light stain while the bench is natural. Podocarpus (plum pines) were planted to provide greenery and enhance privacy. No-mow fescue planted on the berm allows the children to roll, tumble, and enjoy the backyard. Durable bluegrass is planted on the flat areas of the lawn, and recycled brick is used for a small patio. To make smart use of the space, the redwood benches have storage space to store outdoor toys.
Developer Joseph Eichler built thousands of California housing tract homes in the 1950s and 1960s. His name is now associated with the style we now know as midcentury modern.
In the Visitacion Valley neighborhood of San Francisco, the Garden Route Co. remodeled the landscape of this two-story Diamond Heights Eichler house with a steep hillside garden. The challenge was to create flat, usable outdoor living spaces by building terraces and stairs connecting the different levels. With an emphasis on texture, bold forms, and colors, this garden softens the angular landscape architecture and gives the backyard a more contemporary feeling.
The owners of this Boston area property wanted to stretch their living space to enjoy the beautiful woodland setting outside their back door. Landscape designers A Blade of Grass reconfigured the back porch to step down to an adjacent raised bluestone patio. The designer created a series of outdoor rooms that transition from a highly developed space to a natural setting with native plantings, an outdoor fireplace, a koi pond, a shade garden, and irregular bluestone paths.
Plants chosen for the landscape include viburnum dentatum, pink flowering astilbe ‘Vision in Pink’, malus ‘Whitney’, buxus ‘Green Mountain’, yellow grass Hakonechloa ‘Aureola’, pennisetum ‘Hameln’, and the tree betula ‘Whitespire’.
A large water basin is the centerpiece of this Islamic-style courtyard garden in Hertfordshire, England. The clients previously lived in the Middle East and wanted their English garden to reflect the styles of their former home. Following the classic principles of Islamic garden design, Green Tree Garden Design designed a courtyard with a water feature in one corner and a new summerhouse in the opposite corner, viewable from the courtyard seating area. They completed the renovation by replacing the plants with specimens that offer year-round jewel-tone colors, texture, and scent.
5,A Midcentury Modern With ‘Wow’ Factor
Tasked with respecting the 1959 midcentury modern origins of this home, Fer Studio improved the Sherman Oaks hilltop home owned by Davis Factor, photographer and founder of Smashbox cosmetics company.
The designer preserved its post-and-beam construction and added a carport, cabana, and gym with a private patio serving the master suite.
Fer Studio, along with Place Landscape Design and Architecture, designed a plan for the enlarged property’s natural upslope. A railroad-tie path traverses the entire width of the estate. The enlarged entryway/driveway consists of concrete pavers and permeable Grasscrete, which allows grass to grow in voids or spaces in the concrete decoratively. The pool and outdoor activity zones emphasize the horizontal lines of the property. They maintain a low profile so that nothing obstructs that fabulous view.
CNC Building Professionals designed a long, floating bench that links the interior with the exterior of this home in Sydney, Australia. The homeowners’ children enjoy climbing the stairs that lead from one slate-covered patio to another. The higher patio acts as a stage for impromptu performances.
When children grow up or leave the house, landscape designers can be a big help redesigning a space. In the case of this house in Northamptonshire, England, Jane Harries Garden Design helped when this family’s children had “grown out of football and guinea pig ownership, and they wanted a restyle.”
They removed the oversized trees and reconfigured the lawn to create larger borders and an informal planting design with a romantic feel. The children’s swing was replaced with a porch-style swing settee. A water feature near the house provides a natural transition from the indoors to the terrace.