8 Landscaping Ideas for Sprucing Up the Backyard

A backyard with a wooden deck and chairs, featuring landscaping.

If you have a plot of land you don’t know what to do with, but you’re interested in learning more about landscape design, you’ve come to the right place. Even amateur landscapers could implement the eight ideas below. And yes — you could even use these garden ideas for small spaces. Of course, before you start brainstorming backyard ideas, you should develop a clear vision of what you want to do with the space.

To begin with, decide whether you want your yard to be a zen oasis or a hub of fun activities. That will allow you to settle on garden designs and layouts that will make sense for the space as well as its occupants. From there, it’ll only be a question of incorporating the various features and materials you want into your plans. Alternatively you can always consider hiring a professional landscaping company.

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1. Define a Gathering Place

The most important part of planning a garden is establishing a gathering space. After you find a good place for yours, you can fill it with various interesting elements. You can start by laying down wooden planks, stones, or tiles. Since this area is usually the one where food will be served, you’ll probably want to set up a table and some chairs there.

You could buy or even make a huge table to be the centerpiece of this area, and surround it with storage benches or repurposed patio chairs. If you have an old set of chairs lying around, you could spruce them up with a coat of paint. Lastly, if your designated gathering place is away from any kind of overhang, you could cover it up with a rustic pavilion shed or a large sun umbrella.

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A landscaped wooden deck featuring a table and chairs.

2. Consider the Flow of the Garden

Once you figure out what the highlight of your garden will look like, you’ll have to think of ways to fill in the rest. If your garden is big enough, you might have to lay down stones, tiles, or mulch to create pathways. You’ll have to consider what design and flooring materials complement the natural environment of the yard best.

To visually separate the space, you can use stones around the flower beds and other areas in the garden. Additionally, you could direct visitors’ eyes to certain points in the garden by setting up focal points around arches and vine trellises.

3. Create an Adjustable Landscape

Now let’s get into some backyard ideas DIY-style! If you’re the kind of person who appreciates variety, you probably won’t like committing to a single floral landscape for years to come. Luckily, you won’t have to! There are several ways to make your backyard garden plants more interesting and adjustable.

To begin with, you should incorporate planters that contain pots instead of putting plants in the ground. However, if you want to take it a step further, you could put the planters in the ground. More specifically, you could plant empty pots, and then put your plants in the same kind of pot before lowering them into the pots in the ground. That would allow you to rearrange the plants in your garden whenever you want or even take them inside for the winter.

A beautifully landscaped garden with colorful flowers and a tree in the middle.

4. Mark Your Plants

Choosing the right shrubs and flowers to plant will be a big part of designing your garden. There are so many things to consider! Still, if you’re not quite sure which direction to take it, you could use a backyard design app.

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Those apps are incredibly useful when it comes to figuring out which plants to use and how to maintain them. And that brings us to making plants.

First, you’ll want to write or print out the name of each of your plants along with basic maintenance instructions on cards. Get them laminated, then hang them from the branches of trees or stake them into the ground next to the corresponding plants.

And if you can’t think of any plants you’d like to have in your garden, look up some backyard vegetable garden ideas. Having homegrown produce would transform your leisure garden into a functional plot of land!

5. Add a Water Element

Adding a water element is a great way to add interest to any landscape. A koi pond or fountain would make perfect additions to your small backyard design ideas. Alternatively, if you have space to spare, you could plan the area around a swimming pool or a hot tub.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for backyard landscaping ideas on a budget, you could simply hook up a sprinkler to a water hose and call it a day. But remember to keep the hose neatly rolled up when you’re not using it. You wouldn’t want an untidy hose to detract from the magical scene you’ve been building, would you?

Landscaping a garden with a pond and waterfall.

6. Set Up Some Picturesque Lights

At this point, you already have the most important pieces of your perfect garden in place. But let’s kick things up a notch!

If you want your backyard to look like something out of this world, just sprinkle some lights into it. You could set accent lights on the ground along the pathways, hang string lights from the trees, and illuminate the deck with a low-voltage lighting system.

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7. Incorporate Outdoor Games

Now, there’s only one thing left to do: find some fun activities to try in your garden paradise! Luckily, a good old-fashioned game of cornhole only required a board with a hole in it that can lay at an angle and a few weighted bags you can throw at it. For decoration, you can finish off any leftover paint you used on your garden furniture.

Alternatively, you could use any planks you still have after building a deck to make huge lawn dominoes. After you cut them all down to size, paint on some dots, and you’ll have your set! Alternatively, if the leftover lumber is more of a cuboid, you can make it into Jumbo Jenga pieces. Best of all, these projects won’t increase the overall backyard landscaping cost.

Landscaped garden with a chess board and seating options.

8. Ensure Your Privacy

Finally, you can deal with the areas around your secret garden. Building a picket fence or planting live fences can help you achieve privacy, get shade, and even muffle traffic noise. Moreover, after you build a wall around your backyard, it’ll feel even more like your own piece of Eden!

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