19 Backyard Ideas to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space and Optimize Your Leisure Time

Outdoor Dining Room

Set up an outdoor dining area on your deck to create a go-to spot for fair weather meals. Desiree Burns Interiors positioned the dining table under a mature tree, hanging an airy pendant light from one of the branches that anchors the space. A mix of wood and wire seating add a contemporary feel.

Stone Path Walkway

Create a stone path walkway between the house and the backyard that is both practical and pretty. Emily Henderson Design landscaped the slightly winding path with mixed plants and wildflowers for an organic feel that will delight the kids on their way to the backyard swing set and playhouse.

Landscaped Fountain

Give a large property an elegant feel with a classic water feature like a backyard fountain. Crisp Architects surrounded this fountain with a gravel patio and lush low landscaping to turn it into a destination. Red flowers interspersed between shrubs add a bright color accent.

Stock Tank Pool

A budget-friendly stock tank pool is an easy way to add a practical water feature to your backyard. Dazey Den painted the stock pool and raised deck platform in the same salmon pink and sage green color palette as the home exterior and decor in this color-coordinated backyard space.

Outdoor Fireplace

Create an inviting backyard gathering space with an outdoor fireplace. Marie Flanigan Interiors paired rustic stone and wood on this covered patio for a comfortable and laid back feel. The look is tied together with upholstered wood indoor-outdoor furniture and a stone coffee table.

Fire Pit Patio

Create a cozy corner in a backyard with a dedicated fire pit patio. Seed Studio Landscape Design finished the space with stone tile floors, a pair of upholstered outdoor loveseats, and a circular concrete fire pit for a modern feel.

Rustic Birdhouse

Add charm to your backyard with a bird house in the style of your home. Finding Lovely mounted this painted white birdhouse on a post in the backyard farmhouse garden, but you can also hang a bird house from a mature tree or on a wall or the side of the house.

Bar and Grill

If love to entertain, turn a corner of your backyard into a home bar and grill. Brian Brown Studio installed an L-shaped outdoor kitchen and pergola roof and bar seating that turns this Southern California backyard into a destination. A wall-mounted outdoor TV turns the space into a sports bar on game days.

Modern Pool Cabana

Turn a small backyard pool patio into a multipurpose entertainment space with a modern pool cabana. This backyard pool cabana from Michelle Boudreau Design is packed with plenty of function, from the kitchen, food and beverage storage, dining peninsula, and lounge space that is covered on three sides with wood slats for a modern look.

Outdoor Living Room

Set up an outdoor living room to create an al fresco entertainment hub in your backyard. Interior designer Alvin Wayne anchored this seating area with a neutral area rug, and chose warm wood furniture that complements the fencing and is upholstered in white outdoor fabric for a comfortable and modern feel.

Backyard Landscape Lighting

Highlight your backyard with landscape lighting to make it more functional and make your greenery come alive after dark. Brophy Interiors lit the planters in this contemporary sunken backyard as well as the steps leaving down to the green space from the patio to create a balanced feel and nighttime visibility from the inside to the outdoor patio and yard.

Add Shade With a Pergola

A pergola will add shade to your backyard patio without totally blocking out the light. KG Designs planted this pergola with trailing flowering vines to soften it and provide additional cover from the sun on scorching days.

Above-Ground Pool

Turn a small backyard into a pool deck with an above-ground pool. These pools are more affordable and an easier-to-install alternative to in-ground swimming pools.

Repurpose the Garden Shed

Transform a backyard shed into an outdoor bar to create a vacation home feeling and maximize your outdoor entertaining space. Michelle Berwick Design installed a bar counter outside the window and folding window shutters that can be closed after last call.

Outdoor Living and Dining

Make a large backyard multi-functional by setting up adjacent living and dining areas on the back patio. Laquita Tate Interior Styling and Design sheltered this hybrid space with a large pergola, hanging woven pendants to anchor and unite both areas. Warm wood accents pair well with the brick facade and greenery.

Herb Container Garden

Plant an herb garden in your backyard with galvanized stock tank containers. For this DIY project, Most Lovely Things set up the planters on a gravel patio finished with a concrete paver walkway. The patio includes room for added seating and a dining table that can be brought out to host meals when the mood strikes.

Small Plunge Pool

A small plunge pool can offer relief from scorching summers and make your backyard feel more luxurious. Plus, it's less expensive to install, easier to maintain, and less of a burden on the environment than a larger pool. A plunge pool can work in a backyard with limited space or a spacious backyard like this one from Kittery Point Landscaping and Stoneworks that includes a plunge pool from Soake Pools.

Backyard Hammock

Give a small backyard a European feel with a gravel patio, natural wood fencing, drought-resistant plants, and a cozy hammock for afternoon naps or nighttime stargazing, like this Southern California space from The Home Consultant.

Poolside Fire Pit Patio

Create a dedicated fire pit area by the pool to encourage conversation and lingering. Michelle Boudreau Design built this Palm Springs fire pit patio to host a crowd. The black fire pit is built with circular concrete slabs and surrounded with rounded black wire chairs to complement the midcentury modern style of the home.

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