While the front yard is a feature that makes a house look beautiful and stand out, the backyard is where all the fun is. Backyards can be quite large and spacious enough to accommodate outdoor living and dining spaces, swimming pools, beautiful gardens and lots of other things. Because there are so many options and possible combinations, selecting one is often challenging. In case you’re having trouble deciding what to do with all the space behind your house, check out the backyard designs we’ve found and let them inspire you.
At the front, views of the San Francisco skyline give this house a lot of character. At the back, a beautiful green lawn guarded by a wooden fence can be used as a backyard playground for fun activities. It’s a really great balance which was achieved here by the architects from Favreau Design. They made sure there’s plenty of natural light inside the house, panoramic views and an overall sleek and modern vibe inside.
If you choose to ignore all the other design options and to have a huge green lawn at the back of your house, that’s great too because you’ll have a lovely view and a lot of flexibility. If you need inspiration, have a look at what Junsekino Architect and Design did for this contemporary house in Thailand.
Sometimes, when there’s not a lot of space around the house, a good idea is to simply opt for a green lawn and to forget about any decks, pools, backyard waterfalls and other features that you would be able to fit there under different circumstances. Simplicity is what RS+ opted for in the case of the private residence they designed in Tychy, Poland.
A vast and simple green lawn can be the perfect option for a contemporary house that needs to maintain its minimalist appearance and to stand out at the same time. Projects such as the SG House by Atelier d’Arquitectura J. A. Lopes da Costa are just the inspiration you need. The house embraces its surroundings through contrasts and bold colors.
There’s a lovely small forest behind this contemporary residence located in Budan, South Korea. The house was a project by Architect-K and has a curved facade which embraces the existing trees and the open lawn, connecting them and establishing a nice transition between them. This strategy was chosen in order to be able to preserve the vegetation existent on the site and to also be able to simplify the décor in order to match the house.
In order to maintain a smooth and minimalist look toward the horizon and city skyline, architect Paul McClean chose to transform the entire backyard of this large residence in Bel Air into a flat green lawn. But the truly wonderful thing is that the lawn ends with an infinity pool.
Houses built on sloping sites often offer gorgeous views and panoramas. Their yards, however, are a challenge for designers. One of the simpler strategies is to adopt a wild look. You should have a look at the W.I.N.D House designed by UN Studio for some inspiration in this sense.
With expansive water views at the front and a beautiful green backyard, the residential block designed by David James Architects and Associates offers a unique residential experience. It’s composed of three luxury apartments and the backyard is a shared space, providing a fresh view for the glazed facade and the open terraces on the upper levels.
The ambient lights spread across the lawn on this beautiful house in Kharkov, Ukraine reveal the lovely texture of the grass and highlight the sculptural forms of the trees scattered throughout the backyard. The residence was designed by SBM Studio and it has a green roof, being built on a slope that seems to envelop the building.
Another gorgeous feature of the same residence is the cave-like space built under the slope, at the back of the house. It’s a sheltered seating area with casual poufs and pillows.
When the swimming pool is the main feature in a backyard, the overall design is actually more complex than it seems. You can see that here, in the case of the Marquise House designed by FGMF. The house is located in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has a spacious backyard where a pool and its adjacent lounge deck occupy most of the surface. But the really nice thing is the seamless connection with the protected indoor social spaces.
Most of the time, a swimming pool is in some way connected to an outdoor lounge area. Sometimes this is an adjacent feature and other times it’s part of the house, being sheltered under the roof. This is the case with this residence in Terragona, Spain designed by White Houses Costa Dorada. The green section separating the pool and lounge deck is what gives the backyard the fresh and geometric look that lets it match the house’s architecture.
The swimming pool is often the focal point of the backyard, especially when it pretty much occupies this whole area like in the case of this coastal villa designed by studio Centric Design Group in The Netherlands. The living fence and the wooden deck section are beautifully complemented by the pool’s turquoise water.
Lap pools are ideal for small backyards or for the ones with odd shapes. Because they’re long and narrow, they leave enough space around them for poolside lounge spaces. In some cases they partially become a part of the house itself just like you can see here in the case of House-U, a project by Marco Carini Interior Designer.
The AA House designed by Pascali Semerdjian Architects in Sap Paulo doesn’t turn the backyard swimming pool into the main feature of this zone. Instead, the covered social area stands out thanks to the vivid color palette chosen. The whole area is almost entirely exposed to the outdoors, making the transition almost seamless.
The pool of the Pedgewood Residence designed by LDa Architecture & Interiors in Massachusetts is embedded into a beautiful wooden deck and the result is a clean and simple look ideal for most modern houses. This type of combo is often preferred whenever the space allows it and is not necessarily specific to a style.
The swimming pool in this case is in the immediate continuation of the deck which is adjacent to the indoor social spaces. This creates a smooth transition between the indoor and the outdoor zones, the wooden deck being the link between them. This is the Vila do Conde House in Portugal and was designed by Raulino Silva Arquitecto.
Not enough space for a pool in the backyard? Perhaps a pond or a small water feature could at least partially compensate for that. Actually, water features, no matter how small, have a big impact on outdoor spaces, giving them the wow factor that makes them stand out. Find some inspiration in the project by Griffin & Crane in Redwood City, California.
Of course, if you really want a pool in your small backyard, you could make it a tiny one. And if you plan the space right, you might even have room for an outdoor lounge space with a coffee table and a few chairs around it. The rest can be green lawn. This is more or less the strategy chosen by Eureka Studio when designing this residence in Merida, Mexico.
Another small backyard with a pool and lounge area is featured by the Eaglemount House, a modern home found in Victoria, Australia and designed by InForm. Because the backyard is small and there’s not a lot of space to spare, this creates a sense of privacy and intimacy which makes this whole area very comfortable and inviting.
The large trees present on the site of this beautiful villa in Greece look like guardians protecting the pool and the house. The residence was designed by HHH Architects and is part of a complex with lovely courtyards, shared outdoor spaces and panoramic views of the water and dense forest nearby.
The backyard is also a great place for al fresco dining space. Even a small backyard such as the one designed by Creative Arch for this house in New Zealand would be enough for that. There’s little vegetation here and this doesn’t really give the backyard the same fresh feel as in other cases. Nevertheless it’s a great way to make the most of this space, especially considering the folding wall that connects it to the indoor living room.
A practical idea would be to have the outdoor dining or living spaces placed under a roof or a cantilevered volume so they can be protected from excessive sun and rain, offering a suitable and enjoyable environment most of the time. This is the strategy adopted by Schjelderup Trondahl Architects when designing this house in Norway.
There are many different backyard patio ideas to take into consideration and a lot of them share in common similarities such as a seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor spaces. This is usually ensured by sliding glass doors or folding walls that allow the two zones to be visually connected. One example could be the Atrium House by RAMA Construccion Arquitectura.
A really nice feature for an outdoor lounge area or a backyard is a fireplace or fire pit. It can become the focal point and central element for an outdoor seating area or it can be treated as a decorative and sculptural feature. Find some inspiration in the design of the luxurious Desert Canopy House by Sander Architects.
The back facade of the Kearsarge Guest House designed by Kurt Krueger Architects in California is completely transparent and the living spaces become open to the backyard. This ensures a very strong connection between the two zones, allowing the outdoor dining area to look and feel like an extension of the indoor living room.
The modern residence in Ukraine which had the sunken cave-like lounge under the slope also features a really nice and elegant backyard patio. It has a small sectional, a matching armchair and a small coffee table at the center. There’s even a stylish striped area rug.
Balance is important, especially when you want your backyard to have a zen look. There are plenty of options in such a cases. One is to balance out the greenery and all the other materials and colors in a way similar to the approach adopted by Klopf Architecture for the Eichler Remodel in San Francisco. There’s a really great balance here between the store tiles, the gravel, the concrete planters, wooden fence and that lovely small tree.
Even when you have a small backyard there’s still plenty of flexibility in terms of layout and organization. For example, fit a small veranda or deck, a pathway leading to the entrance and some gravel or greenery in between. The idea is inspired by the design of this house in Nagaoka, Japan designed by Takeru Shoji Architects.
There’s really not a lot to admire about this backyard that Studio Prototype designed for this house in Amsterdam although there are some interesting design details. For instance, the central social zone inside the house has glass walls on two sides and the view of the backyard garden and the front lawn become a part of the décor.
Ponds and water features in general will make a backyard or a garden stand out, even if it’s something small and simple like the design created by A-cero for the S.V. House in Seville, Spain. A water feature, no matter how small or simple, still has a wow factor and can often be the missing detail when creating a relaxing outdoor décor.
There are no two gardens alike and that’s because there are so many different design options, accessories and species of plants and trees, all of which are beautiful in their own way. VDV ARQ chose a simple design strategies for the backyard of the Pedro House in Buenos Aires. This ensures an overall flexible layout suitable for various activities.
The symmetry of this family home in Melbourne split the front and back yards into two sections. In between then there’s a wooden walkway similar to a bridge. The residence was a project by Austin Maynard Architects and has a nicely organized floor plan that divides the functions into separate blocks.
Another one of the many inspiring backyard patio ideas we came across is linked to the Wall Houe, a residence located in India and designed by Skywardinc Architects. There’s a nice mixture of functions here. The covered lounge space is an extension of the indoor zone while there’s also a separate seating area raised on a small platform towards the center of the backyard. There’s also a good amount of green lawn and stone tiles that give the space a graphical look.
A lot of modern and contemporary residences adopt a minimalist design approach which also extends to the backyard. That often means walkways formed of geometric tiles with clean forms and perfectly manicured lawns and flower beds in the open areas formed between them. DADA Partners used this strategy when designing the E4 House in New Delhi, India.
A low-maintenance and practical option for holiday homes is to populate the backyard or garden with drought-resistant plants. They require very little care and can look really beautiful, although not as lush as green as other species. The Shou Sugi Ban House in California was designed by Schwartz and Architecture and seems to make good use of this strategy.
The site on which Vila U, a residence in Denmark designed by C.F.Møller is truly wonderful, featuring a minimalist backyard with a manicured lawn and native plants and a pathway that leads to a pond surrounded by shrubs and trees.