18+ Awesome Backyard Garden Design Ideas

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The choice of whether to have a minimalist garden really does depend on personal style, as well as the architectural style of your home. The flow from inside to outside should feel seamless, so if you have a modern aesthetic, a minimalist garden can be a natural outdoor extension of your interior look.

You also need to consider your actual lifestyle rather than your idealized version of it. If your life involves kids, dogs, or both, designing to accommodate things like storage, irrigation, a barbecue, a place to sit, and shade are important. It should be beautiful, of course, but it should also be inviting and comfortable.

Design tips:

  • Remember the importance of negative space, even a tiny courtyard or lawn can provide balance to a small garden.
  • Include built-in seating in a corner to keep your garden from feeling crowded.
  • Use a living wall to add lushness where ground space is limited.
  • Step back and look at your yard with fresh eyes, then simplify and tidy.
  • Even if your outdoor space seems overwhelming, pick just one thing that you most want to change.
  • Think big. Ample pathways and gathering spaces are inviting, and large features are engaging in any size space.
  • You can maximize the livability of a small yard by taking advantage of changes in terrain to segment the space into different living areas. Dividing a garden, even when small, often has the paradoxical effect of making it seem larger.
  • In small gardens where space is too limited for major focal points, compose a series of mini views within the garden itself, offering interest in every direction while using plants to provide a framework.
  • Divide the garden into outdoor rooms that echo and expand upon the home’s interior, giving both inside and out more purpose and making everything feel larger.
  • If you plan to entertain groups, keep the furniture and plantings along the perimeter of the garden to allow for mingling in the center of the space.
  • When selecting plants for a relatively small space, don’t go color crazy — stick with a more monochromatic scheme of cooler colors (such as blues, violets, yellows and silvery greens) — otherwise you may end up with a garden that feels close and confined.
  • Don’t forget lighting to extend the use of your yard well into the night.
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