Fall Backyard Ideas to Make Your Home the Gathering Place of the Season

One of the ways that you can celebrate the autumn season is by investing in fall backyard ideas that will draw your family and friends together. Autumn is a unique time when you can embrace the changing landscape and set new rhythms for the chilly months.

fall backyard ideas

Whether you create a gathering place for your neighbors or a serene retreat for yourself, our fall backyard ideas will inspire you to make the most of this enchanting time of year.

12 Fall Backyard Ideas

From rustic fall decorations to cozy fire pits, with our fall backyard ideas, you can make your backyard the destination of the season.

1. Get Warm With a Fire Pit

Get Warm With a Fire Pit
Pennsylvania Landscape & Nursery Association

A fire pit or fireplace is a “must-have” accessory for a backyard equipped for fall. Thankfully, there is a wide variety of fire pits and fireplace designs that you will be able to choose one that fits your backyard space. Be sure to keep in mind safety above all other concerns. Look for a fire pit with good construction and proper ventilation. If your fire pit is portable, be sure to mount it so that it rests steadily on the ground. Once your fire pit is in place, surround it with comfortable seating and accessorize with roasting forks for cooking marshmallows over the fire.

2. Pumpkin Carving and Display Station

Pumpkin Carving and Display Station
Somers & Company Interiors

Hosting a pumpkin carving party makes a laborious activity more fun for everyone. Before everyone comes, make sure that you have a variety of pumpkins available for people to choose one that fits their design. Gather sets of pumpkin carving tools including serrated knives or saws, scrapers, and scoops. Offer templates for pumpkin designs. Make sure that there is adequate lighting and cleaning supplies for easy carving and clean-up. At the end of the night, display all the pumpkins using candles or LED votives.

3. Festive Lighting

Festive Lighting
Nick Noyes Architecture

No fall backyard design is complete without layers of warm lighting. Including multiple types of lighting is the best way to ensure that each area is lit with appropriate ambient lighting. Use different types of lights including strings of bistro lighting, lanterns, spotlighting, and votives to contribute to the backyard light sources. These lights are not just festive, they will allow you to use your backyard longer as the days grow shorter.

4. Fall Foliage

Fall Foliage
Cottage Gardener

Incorporate the stunning natural beauty of the season by investing in plants and trees that display the brilliant colors of autumn. Choose options such as sugar maple, Washington hawthorn, river birch, ginkgo, sumac, Virginia sweetspire, oakleaf hydrangea, and Japanese maples. These trees and shrubs will not disappoint you as their leaves and berries begin turning glorious colors in the fall. You can also choose to display less permanent fall foliage through the strategic use of wreaths, garlands, and vase displays.

5. Harvest Picnics and Outdoor Dining

Harvest Picnics and Outdoor Dining
Anvil & Oak

Regardless of whether or not you have permanent outdoor seating, you can set up a temporary table or picnic blankets for outdoor fall dining. Choose a type of seating and table arrangement that best suits your purpose. A table and chairs work best when you host formal meals for other adults. Picnics work well for informal dining and for parties where there are more people than would fit around a table.

Accessorize your seating with blankets or quilts for chilly evenings, and be sure to have adequate lighting so that your dinner parties can last far into the night.

6. Add Seasonal Harvest Decor

Add Seasonal Harvest Decor
In Sight Designs Unlimted

Enhance your garden-themed fall decorations by using harvest decor including hay bales, scarecrows, and cornstalks. These elements provide a picturesque backdrop to your backyard space. Position these elements strategically throughout the garden and along walkways.

Use hay bales to create layers in your decor for a more effective presentation. You can also use them for rustic seating and extra tables. Soften them by covering them with cushions and tablecloths. Scarecrows and corn stalks are ideal in areas where you need to add visual height to a design such as framing doorways or decorating columns.

7. Set a Festive Table in the Backyard

Set a Festive Table in the Backyard
Slow Flowers

Create a festive fall dining experience in your backyard by incorporating elements of fall decor on the table. Use earth-toned table linens like tablecloths, napkins, table runners, and placemats. Select tableware that complements your color tones or with fall-themed motifs like acorns, pinecones, and pumpkins. Use glassware that is clear or with a hint of fall colors like amber or olive-green. Accent the table with fall flowers and foliage. Mix in pumpkins and gourds to create a unique centerpiece. Illuminate the table with candles or with string lights to give the table a soft, warm glow.

8. Create a Backyard Nook

Create a Backyard Nook
Scott Brinitzer Design Associates

Even if you don’t have a dedicated seating area in your backyard, you can still set up a cozy nook where you can relax and enjoy the changing of the season. Choose a location that offers some privacy and a nice view. Add some type of seating or lounge furniture such as a hammock, comfortable seat, bench, or swing. Invest in an outdoor rug that will help you define the area and make it more comfortable.

Add some festive lighting if you want to be able to use this area during the evening hours. Layer with cushions and blankets to make the nook more comfortable as the weather gets chilly.

9. Add Pots of Fall Flowers

Add Pots of Fall Flowers
Rikki Snyder

You can effectively add natural fall color to your backyard without the permanence of planting fall-colored plants and trees by adding pots of fall flowers. Choose an appropriate container for your backyard style. Consider options like wooden barrels, wooden crates, concrete urns, and terracotta pots to hold your flowers. Choose among all the different types of fall flowers that thrive in chilly weather including chrysanthemums, pansies, marigolds, asters, dahlias, heather, ornamental cabbages and kales, and fall-blooming crocuses and sedum.

Plant your containers with just one type of flower or mix them being sure to vary the height, color, and texture of the flowers. Be sure to water throughout the season and cover them when the weather becomes too cold in the evening.

10. Incorporate Fall Colored Textiles

Incorporate Fall Colored Textiles
Antonio Martins Interior Design

Change out your brightly colored backyard textiles for options in moody autumn colors. Don’t feel like you need to change all your outdoor textiles, but add accents that will change the color dynamic to something more seasonally appropriate.

Add throw pillows in accenting shades of rust, deep red, mustard yellow, and earthy brown. Enhance your seating with fall-colored throws in different textures and weights including light wool and heavy faux fur. Consider adding fall-colored outdoor curtains to your patio to enhance the privacy and color impact of the space.

11. Use Themed Signage

Use Themed Signage
Pierre Jean-Baptiste Interiors

Themed autumn signs are a way to enhance the visual appeal of your backyard and create a better flow during backyard fall parties. Use fall-themed signs to display fall messages, but also to direct people to where to find stations for food and drink, bathrooms, entrances and exits, or to themed events.

12. Set Up Backyard Games

Set Up Backyard Games
Earth, Turf, & Wood

Creating an area for backyard games is a way to bring your friends and neighbors together and engage in some healthy competition at the same time. Buy some backyard games such as corn hole or bocce or create your own. You can have just as much fun with homemade games like apple bobbing, pumpkin bowling, or a fall-themed scavenger hunt as you can with games you buy. The idea is to create a venue for playing outdoor games to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and time together.