Beyond the larger tasks of upgrading your patio with today’s trends or breathing life into your above-ground pool landscaping, sometimes you just want to make a quick and easy change that has a big impact on your outside decor. We tapped the experts to ask how they would refresh an outdoor space. As it turns out, it just takes a hot second to go from drab to fab.
Here are eight backyard makeover ideas to give your outdoor space a refresh.
1. Never underestimate the power of the plant
You can instantly change up the vibe by adding more greenery to your outdoor space like these Sunnyglade Artificial Boxwood Panels. These crafty problem solvers are also perfect for hiding unwanted elements (pointing directly at you, chain link fences, pool filters, or nosey neighbors).
Think hanging planters, brimming pots, and plant walls creeping with vines. “Greenery adds texture and helps your space come to life,” says At Home’s head of trend and lifestyle, Kristian Lazzaro, noting that even faux plants, such as boxwood privacy walls, also get the job done.
“While you’re refreshing your outdoor space, don’t forget potted greens or blooming flowers,” adds Stephanie Sarris, principal at Bellehaven Designs Inc. in Hinsdale, Ill.
Keep your container pots related (all terra cotta or all concrete) for a coordinated look. “One year, I used terra cotta pots and painted just the rims in bright greens and blues,” Sarris said.
Group plants in clusters to enhance the hidden-room-in-a-garden vibe.
2. Give your outdoor pillows a new outlook with a simple wardrobe change
For quick and easy backyard makeover ideas, upgrade your couch and pillow covers.
“Work with your local upholstery shop to pick new outdoor fabric (Sunbrella and Perennials are two big brand names in this arena) and have them recover your existing inserts,” says Sarris, explaining inserts are typically the most expensive part of outdoor cushions, so new covers shouldn’t break the bank.
Patio life hack: If the inserts are a bit droopy, wrap the inserts with fresh outdoor foam to give them a plush look.
“A monochromatic color palette will make the space feel larger and more cohesive. Add dimension without clutter by layering accent pieces in varying shades,” adds Lazzaro.
Don’t want to commit to the cost of new fabric? Change up your color schemes by spraying the pillows with an outdoor fabric spray paint like Rust-oleum Outdoor Fabric Spray Paint—it’s come a long way from the sticky, splotchy sprays of yesteryear.
3. Changing up the flow of your backyard is another easy way to refresh the space
“Divide your [space] into different areas to make it feel bigger and more useful,” says Lazzaro.
When it comes to backyard makeover ideas, he suggests creating a lounge space with cozy low seating for relaxed conversation, placing a dining area, like the Better Homes & Gardens Ellington Outdoor Dining Set, on the other side for summer barbecues, and weekend brunch, and maintaining an open space in the middle to encourage flow to and from the rest of the yard.
And using all your space is a game changer. Set up a comfortable lounge area farthest from your home to draw people out, he continues.
“Keep your dining area close to the kitchen to cut down on back-and-forth. Use outdoor rugs and lighting to create defined areas that truly feel distinct in the wide-open space,” says Lazzaro.
4. Embrace under-utilized backyard nooks to create a new storyline for your yard
Backyard benches are right on trend, with weather-resistant options like the Grand Patio Outdoor Bench in stock and ready to ship.
“Use your landscape to create small conversational retreats,” Lazzaro adds. “Place a bench in a wide flower bed or a bistro set under tall trees. Use soft-colored ground lighting to highlight these hideaways.”
5. Cozy up your outdoor space with a fire pit
Your outdoor space is an extension of your home, as a living room, dining room, and year-round hangout spot for conversation and closeness with friends and family.
If your space is feeling a little cold, one backyard makeover idea Lazzaro suggests is to bring the warmth (literally) and extend your outdoor living season by adding a fire pit, like the BioLite Fire Pit, or another heating element like a patio heater.
You’ll get a firelit ambience every night and a toasty, cozy retreat in cool months.
6. Use dishes and cups that won’t shatter if dropped
Save the paper plates for the picnics, and instead upgrade your outdoor dining with shatterproof melamine dinnerware that’s all style, no stress, like the Zak Designs Medallion Dinnerware Collection.
This adds not only a more upscale approach to al fresco dining, but also you can change up the vibe and refresh your table on a whim.
Also look into PVC placemats that give off a fun look that resembles raffia or silk but with outdoor dining durability.
7. Clean your patio furniture
Power washing your patio furniture with a pressure washer like the Wholesun Electric Pressure Washer can give your outdoor seating and tables a good clean, according to Sarris.
Check with the manufacturer on whether it’s approved if you’re unsure about your specific type of furniture.
Once you’ve blown off the dirt and grime, consider refreshing iron and wicker furniture pieces by painting them with a pop of color like island blue, red, or even a warm green.
8. Try an outdoor rug
There’s no easier way to change up the vibe of an outdoor area than plopping down a rug like this Better Homes & Gardens Black and White Striped Outdoor Rug.
Perfect for anchoring your seating arrangement, a simple floor covering can change the tempo of the space from vibrant to chill (or vice versa) quicker than you can say “refresh.”
Choose from synthetic (Polypropylene) and natural (sisal, hemp, and seagrass), each with its own benefits for fighting the elements.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.