46 Backyard Ideas That Will Keep You Outside All Summer Long | Architectural Digest

Gazing out onto a vast space behind your house ought to get your mind thinking about backyard ideas. The rear is an extension of your home, and it deserves the same care and consideration as any part of the house. Your design will set the tone for all of your future outdoor spaces, so it’s important to plan accordingly. Before you can break ground on the outdoor oasis of your dreams, know what that dream is. Will you go modern or classic? Evoke a luxury spa of countryside living? Create space for entertaining or space to kick back and be alone? “Look at the big picture: the entire backyard, entire front yard, or the entire property, and envision your goals,” says Tyler Banken, an indoor/outdoor plant expert and landscape architect at Neverland, a plant resource.

Here, is a list of 46 backyard landscaping ideas to help inspire your perfect space.

How do I design my backyard?

Designing a backyard can feel like a big task, especially if you’re working with a large surface area. Luckily, it’s more than manageable if you’ve got a solid plan. Banken explains that although it’s common to design a backyard in phases (this is especially true for DIYers), it’s important to always know how each part will eventually fit into the whole. “When you have an overall plan for your space it gives you something to work toward and also makes sure you’re not wasting time,” he says.

How can I make my backyard look nice?

Althoough planning will play a big role in the overall success of your design, Banken says there are three general categories that are important to address when installing your landscape.

  • Site Preparation: Banken advises to plan for “positive drainage” when designing your space. You don’t want your yard sloped in a way that water will pool or run toward a structure like a shed or seating area. “Water can be very damaging to structures,” he says, not to mention that puddles don’t look too good.
  • Hardscaping: Plan all of your hardscaping, like patios or retaining walls, carefully, especially any that need careful installation. These considerations greatly impact the aesthetics and longevity of your space.
  • Planting: Finish your design by incorporating how flowers and greenery will impact your backyard ideas. “Plan your plantings in layers,” he says. For example, you might put evergreens along the foundation, medium-height bloomers in front, and a lower-growing plant along the border.

Backyard design ideas for every style

Kick back with a firepit

A cozy firepit is the epicenter of outdoor entertaining.

Photograph: PC Photography

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