July 23, 2024

Architectural Design Kingdom

Home is where the heart is

31 Beautiful Outdoor Decor Ideas for Your Backyard

9 min read

Warmer temperatures, bright blue skies, and sunny days are luring us outside. And if you’re like us and planning to do any of your eating, entertaining, or lounging out there, then it’s time to rethink how that area looks and feels. Short on space? A few square inches can go a long way. Tight budget? Work with what you already own. No garden or greenery? No big deal.

From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy outdoor decor ideas can work for any spot you have big plans for beautifying. We asked Allison Messner, CEO and Founder of Yardzen, an online landscape design service, for tips on how to bring your vision to life.

  • Allison Messner, CEO and Founder of Yardzen, an online landscape design service

Incorporate portable elements


It’s true that adding a fire feature adds an element of coziness to any outdoor space and makes the transition from day to night more comfortable, drawing people outside. But adding one that can be moved around gives your yard flex.

According to Yardzen founder and CEO Allison Messner, a portable fire pit like this fan favorite from Solo, lets you add warmth to wherever people are gathering, not just the designated fire pit area. Move it next to the dinner table to add ambiance that a heat lamp simply can’t provide. Or stake it in a secondary gathering area when hosting a larger group.

Keep the basics simple

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Invest in essential patio furniture pieces, like an offset umbrella, table, and chairs in a simple monochromatic palette. That way, you can change up the look on the cheap by adding colorful accessories.

Add pops of colors

According to Messner, we’re witnessing a colorful revolution in yard design. She says, “Moving away from traditional neutrals only, our customers are incorporating vibrant hues through both flora and furnishings 64% more. Create a personalized color story that suits your area and your interiors for a natural fit—we’re looking to vibrant furnishing, doors, and botanicals.”

Think about nighttime lighting

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There’s more than one way to light up the night—and your best bet is to include a few different lighting options to give your backyard a beautiful glow. Add hanging paper lanterns or glowing bistro lights to cover a patio, string lights to highlight a favorite tree, candles or lanterns for up-close light for guests, and even more permanent options like chandeliers for a dedicated outdoor space.

Design with all your senses in mind

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Sure, you want your outdoor decor to look beautiful, but don’t leave the other four senses out. Add flowers to your garden that will release their fragrance around your patio, add wind chimes or a babbling water feature to create soothing sounds, and choose soft throws, pillows, and rugs to make everything feel comfortable.

Build a luxurious fire pit

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If you do have the budget and space, invest in a high-quality fire pit—or even a gorgeous outdoor fireplace—to help keep everyone cozy on cool nights (and make s’mores making even easier).

Consider a porch swing

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Longing for your own special escape? Suspend a swinging seat bench in the corner of a wooden deck or on your front porch to help you breeze through those lazy days of summer.

Add an intimate seating spot

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Even if you don’t do much outdoor entertaining (or don’t have a lot of space for a table for 10), it’s still lovely to have a spot to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or afternoon lemonade. Choose a weather-resistant material and have enough seating to accommodate a few drop-in guests.

Install a petite pool


When temperatures rise and we’re seeking an escape from the heat, a pool is the ultimate in backyard luxury. Messner says you don’t have to break the bank to get one, though. According to her, the latest in pool trends have a smaller footprint and come with a more digestible price tag than their expensive predecessors. 

Pop-up pools, above-ground plunge pools, and “Cowboy” pools (also known as stock tank pools) are a great way to add water to your outdoor space for a fraction of the cost without sacrificing style and ease.

Create a perfect place to catch some zzs

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Daybeds make the perfect lounge spot for an afternoon siesta—or for entertaining your crew. Invest in a few pretty pillows to make the space extra comfy.

Don’t forget a hammock

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Create an intimate nook for lounging, reading, or just zoning out. Find a spot in the trees to suspend a pretty garden hammock.

Repurpose indoor items outdoors

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Outdoor furniture is made to survive, rain or shine. But if you’re entertaining a crowd and don’t have enough outdoor seating, there’s no reason you can’t move indoor decor outdoors temporarily. Break out your dining room chairs or benches, a lounge chair, or create a cozy lounge spot on the ground with a rug, a coffee table, and a few cushions. (Just make sure you bring it all in before the rain falls.)

Match the outdoor decor to your indoor style

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Minimalists, you’re in luck. An outdoor space can become whatever you make of it. Carve out a casual reading or conversational area with a trio of punchy colored chairs can instantly brighten up a stone yard.

Plant a mocktail garden


Are you one of the many dabbling in sober curiosity? Messner suggests planting a mocktail garden, which is just like the pandemic-era-popular cocktail version, only the veggies and herbs don’t get mixed with alcohol after they’re harvested. “Think fragrant Nojitos and zesty Cucumber Basil Smashes right from your backyard,” she explains.

Ready to get started? Grow tried-and-true favorites like peppermint, thyme, and basil, or branch out with unique hybrid varieties like orange mint and lemon thyme to encourage some experimentation at the bar.

Create some shade

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If your outdoor space doesn’t have an awning, you can create your own with a white fabric canopy. (Patio umbrellas also make an easy and inexpensive way to keep everyone under cover.)

Bring more nature onto your patio

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You don’t have to have a lot of land (or any!) to add a little greenery to your outdoor space. Place potted plants and flowers on your patio, and grow tall shrubs or climbing plants nearby to create a dramatic backdrop.

Choose plant pots that’ll go with your outdoor decor style—whether that’s terra cotta for an earthy, Mediterranean vibe, or bold painted planters for a more modern touch.

Use natural materials

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Ensure your dining space fits in with the great outdoors by opting for natural materials like a teak table and wicker chairs.

Opt for mix and match seating

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Repaint vintage outdoor chairs (or new finds) in the same palette to create some uniformity—and put the focus on the fun shapes you’re using.

Plant a butterfly garden


We’re big fans of butterfly gardens and Messner shares our sentiments. By incorporating butterfly-supporting plant species into your yard, you create an ecosystem that supports the butterfly lifecycle, feeding them at key stages and encouraging them to stick around.

Messner recommends adding nectar-rich plant varieties with wide umbels, open forms, or long panicles that give them a sound place to land and feed like Sedum, Echinacea, Bee balm, and Yarrow. She says, “If you want to see them up close, incorporate a cluster of container gardens with the right plants on your patio. The bold colors add depth to the garden while attracting your favorite pollinators to your doorstep!”

Don’t be afraid to go bold with your color scheme

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The outdoors is where you can shake things up and have a little fun. Brighten up a spot on the lawn with a pop of colorful accents like a red dinette table, string of vibrant lights, and a magenta Chinese lantern.

Think beyond the patio

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Have a small (or nonexistent) patio? Move the dining table into the garden so guests can enjoy your landscaping along with your hospitality. (You can set up temporary shade with sturdy poles and fabric .)

Build an outdoor kitchen


Grilling is a go-to for summertime entertaining but don’t let it stop there! Messner says small-scale pizza ovens, smokers, and cooktops are more user-friendly than ever and make exciting gourmet meals a breeze in the backyard. Install your favorite as part of your outdoor kitchen or keep it simple with a sturdy outdoor table and a tabletop option like the pizza ovens from Solo.

Messner adds, “Keep your cooking station close to the table for a seamless outdoor dining experience with your guests, keeping the conversation flowing while the magic is made.”

Create an outdoor living room

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Dreaming of a lounging area for reading and writing, or hanging with guests? Decorate around the key piece: the sofa. A traditional rattan couch gets an instant transformation by tossing on patterned pillows.

Add some privacy

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Fences or walls are only one option when it comes to enclosing and creating a private space. You can opt for outdoor curtains, bamboo privacy screens, or tall plantings to create a little private piece of heaven.

Think vertically

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If you’re short on outdoor space, just look up. Hanging flower baskets, trellised plants, plant stands, and tall outdoor shelving give you the space for gardening in tight quarters and keeping everything you need at hand.

Create the perfect outdoor bar


Whether you opt for a simple bar cart, or spring for a deluxe outdoor bar setup, you’ll have the perfect spot for an impromptu happy hour with friends.

Add a fun feature

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Make your patio the place to be with an outdoor feature that brings everyone to your yard. Consider a projector and outdoor movie screen for moonlit movie nights, an outdoor game like bocce or volleyball (or even an outdoor grade pool table!), or a major upgrade like a hot tub or sauna.

Plant a cutting garden


Who doesn’t love fresh flowers throughout their home? By carefully selecting fragrant flowers that bloom in succession and combining different scent profiles like jasmine, lavender, and mint, homeowners can create a garden that not only pleases the eyes but also provides a delightful sensory experience all year round.

Messner suggests strategically placing these plants near walkways and seating areas to enhance the experience, transforming the garden into a sensory haven.

Get creative with your shed

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A backyard shed can be more than just storage for your garden tools. Turn it into a yoga studio, a cozy reading nook, or a place to hang out with your friends.

Change it out for the seasons

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Your patio look doesn’t have to stay the same as you head into fall. Update with cozier, fall-hued pillows and throws, and add in pumpkins, mums, and other autumnal accessories.


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