A well-designed backyard can elevate the aesthetic of your home and provide the perfect place to entertain guests. Whether you’re looking to add a cozy escape or a functional area for cooking and dining, these backyard upgrade tips will help you create the ideal outdoor space.
Start by defining your spaces with a clear layout. Designate areas for different purposes and ensure there’s a flow between them, like placing an outdoor kitchen near your dining room.
Add Water & Fire Features
The addition of water and fire elements to your backyard can help to create a more inviting atmosphere. Water features such as fountains, koi ponds, and waterfalls add beauty and tranquility to the landscape. They can also help to cancel out noise pollution from nearby traffic and neighbors and can be a focal point of the design.
A fire pit, fireplace or built-in outdoor kitchen can be a great place to gather with family and friends after sunset. A custom paver fire pit is a unique way to bring warmth and style to the space. The flames of a fire feature will also help to keep unwanted pests like mosquitoes and flies away.
Adding a fire and water element to your backyard can really make the space feel like your own personal oasis. The fusion of two of nature’s most powerful elements offers a dramatic statement that will attract the attention of all who enter your yard. There are many different types of fire and water features to choose from ranging in size, style and material. One popular choice is a self-contained fire bowl water feature such as the Fire Urn by The Outdoor Plus company.
These American-made, artisan fire and water features offer homeowners, property managers and landscape designers the opportunity to select from a wide range of options in color and texture to complement their backyard’s existing landscaping. They are available in a variety of sizes and materials including copper, Glass Fiber Reinforced Concrete (GFRC), and Corten.
Incorporate Personal Touches & Decorative Elements
No matter how big or small your backyard is, incorporating personal touches and decorative elements is an easy way to turn it into a cozy space. From garden sculptures and birdbaths to high-design planters, you can add a wide variety of accent pieces that reflect your personality and taste. These details also provide a unique focal point in your garden, making them an ideal spot for relaxation and entertaining.
Incorporating seating is another great way to create a welcoming atmosphere for guests and family members. From plush outdoor couches to Adirondack chairs, you can choose from a variety of seating options that are both comfortable and attractive. Plus, adding a cozy throw blanket to each seat will make your guests feel right at home.
If you don’t want to commit to permanent seating, consider adding versatile outdoor structures like pergolas and gazebos. These structures offer shade during the hot summer days and protection from wind and rain, allowing you to use your backyard year-round.
Don’t forget to incorporate lighting, which is essential for creating a relaxing environment. You can opt for pathway lights that guide guests through your backyard or hang string lights to create a romantic ambiance. Additionally, installing a pond or fountain is an ideal way to add soothing sounds to your backyard. This sound will drown out any unwanted noises and create a calming atmosphere for you and your guests.
Install an Outdoor Kitchen
Adding an outdoor kitchen to your landscape creates an inviting atmosphere, and makes it easy to host gatherings for friends and family. Incorporate a variety of appliances that align with your culinary preferences and cooking style, and choose materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Proper storage solutions can help keep cooking utensils, tools and supplies organized. And don’t forget to add decorative elements like plants, rugs and throw pillows to the area for added comfort.
For a rustic look, try installing an outdoor kitchen with stone or wood accents. You can also incorporate a fire pit to create a cozy ambiance and make the space feel more homey. If you prefer a more coastal or Mediterranean design, use light colors and materials like rattan or teak for furniture and accessories.
When building your outdoor kitchen, choose a location that’s close to the house so you can run utility lines more easily. The farther the outdoor kitchen is from the house, the more it will cost to run utilities, and you may need to redo part of your patio to accommodate the lines. It’s also a good idea to check your homeowner’s association guidelines and any easements on your property before beginning construction. If you’re building on a deck, consider having utility lines punched up through the floor before you start the project. This will save you time and money down the road.
Incorporate Lush Landscaping & Greenery
A lush and inviting landscape helps set the mood for relaxing in your outdoor space. When you have a large garden, this is a no-brainer, but even homeowners with small side yards or patios can use the right decorative elements to turn their spaces into beautiful green areas.
For example, if you have a seating area, create a frame around it with tall plants that can serve as natural privacy walls. Or, if you have a garden, consider adding in flowering bushes and other types of foliage that provide a vibrant look to the space. This can make your outdoor living room feel more like an oasis that you can retreat to at the end of a long day.
Adding in low-maintenance plants that bloom at different times of the year can also help add more visual appeal to your yard. This means your garden can be vibrant in spring and summer, while fall offers a chance to play with warm hues and other autumn colors, and winter can be enlivened with the addition of evergreens and other cold-hardy plants.
Other ways to incorporate a touch of greenery into your outdoor space is to install garden stools or trough planters that are great for holding pots and other decorative items. Plus, you can use colorful throw pillows or blankets to bring a little more color into your space and tie it together with other outdoor furnishings.
Add Comfortable Furniture & Lighting
To make your outdoor space feel like an inviting room, add comfortable lounge and dining furniture made from weather-resistant materials. You can also incorporate rugs, throw pillows and other decorative elements to tie the look together.
Layered lighting is another key to creating an inviting atmosphere. Proper lighting not only illuminates walkways and other areas for safety, it also helps to set the tone of the space. Lanterns, candlelit sconces, and other decorative fixtures provide ambient light for socializing while brighter fixtures like path lights or landscape lights can illuminate the way to your front door or highlight certain plants.
Water features such as a soothing pond or stylish fountain are also a great addition to any backyard, offering a tranquil ambiance and visual appeal. For a more whimsical touch, try adding fairy lights to your landscaping or hanging lanterns from trees or over the patio. However, be careful not to overdo it; too many lights can quickly become gaudy and overpower the space.
If you have a favorite indoor light fixture, see if it’s available in an outdoor version. For example, Denise Roberts used a popular IKEA pendant–two of them in fact–to create a stylish boho statement over her clients’ large outdoor dining table. She also hung various rattan fixtures throughout her garden to create a tropical getaway vibe that she tied together with a jute rug and natural furnishings.
Create a Focal Point
A focal point is an element that draws the eye and creates a destination within a garden or landscape. Focal points can range from simple plants to statues or fountains. They can also be structures like arbors, trellises, and pergolas. They can also be more artistic elements, such as a bench, birdbath, or sundial.
A garden or landscape with no obvious focal point can look jumbled and chaotic. The human eye can only dole out so much attention at one time, so it’s important that the design has a strong, singular focus. Focal points are often the elements that stand out amongst the rest of the design, and are easily recognizable by their color, texture, shape or size.
For example, a brightly colored plant or statue can make an excellent focal point, as long as the proportions are right. A six-foot statue would be a little overwhelming in a cottage garden, but a small, simple statue could fit right into the scene and provide a nice pop of color.