The modern backyard is commonly viewed as an extension of our indoor living areas. Therefore, it is natural to want to design these spaces with our styles and needs in mind. Beyond just being stylish and useful, backyards can be welcoming and comfortable.
Many backyard features help create this environment. Some features are large and expensive like pools and patios; however, others are small and easier to add like flowers and fire pits.
Understanding your needs, style, and budget are important considerations before you can begin to create your backyard paradise.
The modern backyard has undergone a radical transformation. Before the 1950s, backyards were not considered an important part of interior design. However, with the rise of more nature-centered styles like bohemian, Midcentury, and Scandinavian design styles, backyards have become an integral part of the extension of interior spaces.
Backyard designs are as varied as the people creating them. We also use our backyards to fulfill personal needs and goals. Many want a place to retreat while others use the space to entertain. Others use it as a place for their children to play. Backyard landscape designs should be personal and useful.
The farmhouse style evokes the spirit of a time when life was slower and more connected with nature. Thus, farmhouse backyard design features a more free aesthetic than contemporary garden design. In short, use plants like wildflowers and native species. Also, incorporate natural elements like stone and wooden structures and furniture.
Mid Century Modern Backyard
Because of the incorporation of larger windows in mid-century home design, outdoor spaces became more important in the overall design of the home. Landscaping in the mid-century style should flow with the interior in a seamless way. Therefore, landscaping for this style should progress from the home into the garden with connecting patios and breezeways. Also, use low-maintenance shrubs and trees with architectural appeal.
Modern Backyard Shed
Sheds are a way to improve your backyard area by adding extra storage space for landscape materials, tools, and extra supplies. Likewise, they can add more distinction and style to your overall landscape design. If you are looking for modern backyard ideas on a budget, you can find less expensive options for garden sheds using pre-fabricated designs. In contrast, you can choose to work with a designer to create a custom shed that reflects your style and needs.
Backyard Landscaping Ideas
Before considering landscaping ideas for your backyard, you need to consider how you will be using this space. Do you need a seating area or a playset in your backyard? Do you live in a dry climate where an alternative to grass may be better? What plants will work best in your yard?
Also, you should consider the cost involved in landscaping. Thus, if you are on a budget, consider doing the landscaping work yourself. On the other hand, if you have more money set aside for this project, a landscape architect will help you make the most of the space you have.
Best Low Maintenance Backyard Plants
We all want plants that we can place in the ground and then forget, but it is not always that easy. You need to consider the type of soil you have, how often you want to be doing maintenance in your yard, and the weather conditions of your area when selecting shrubs, trees, and flowers. The following list of plants works well in a variety of conditions.
- Panicle Hydrangeas like Limelight or Quick Fire – These hydrangeas are beautiful but also hardy. Also, they are winter and drought tolerant.
- Barberry – These hardy plants can tolerate most soil conditions.
- Hostas – A plant that has both variegated and non-variegated varieties that is perfect for shade gardens.
- Agave – A plant for yards in hot climates. Also, it has a tropical style with distinctive varieties.
- Sedum – Another drought-tolerant option. Also, you can use it to create a ground cover.
- Yarrow – This perennial plant has flowers of many shades that brighten up your garden all summer.
- Peonies – These flowers add luxury to any garden and bloom in the same place for decades with little care.
- Mondo Grass – This is a hardy grass that adds elegance in gravel areas or as borders.
- Butterfly Bush – A long-blooming shrub with a glorious smell.
- Creeping Jenny – This plant covers a lot of ground at little cost. Also, this plant works just as well in containers as it does on the ground.
Backyard Privacy Plants
Many backyard entertainment areas need fences or walls for privacy. In addition, you can use greenery to add privacy or to soften the look of hard structures. Therefore, consider the plants in the list below because they are fast-growing and easy maintenance. However, do careful research on the plants before you buy them because fast-growing can also mean extensive pruning.
- Eponymous – These shrubs are hardy and low maintenance. Also, they come in many varieties including variegated.
- Miscanthus – This grass has lovely foliage that grows well in most soils. Further, it works the best in full sun.
- Rambling Rose – This is the perfect plant if you need a covering for garden structures like walls or fences.
- Holly – This plant has beautiful dark green leaves and bright red berries. Also, they can grow up to 10 feet tall to create the perfect privacy hedge.
- Privet – This shrub is fast-growing and will form a hedge. It grows about 2-3 feet per year and has sweet-smelling flowers in the spring.
Artificial Grass Backyard
For those who want to spend more time in their backyard rather than maintaining their backyard, artificial grass is an option to consider. In particular, it is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective option as it does not require water or fertilizer to maintain.
Backyard Landscaping Cost
The cost of landscaping is based on a variety of factors: the size of your yard, the extensiveness of your design, and the type of plants and materials you use. If you do the work yourself, you can save on the costs of a professional landscaper.
On the other hand, if you decide to hire this out, you will need to pay for the labor and materials for your project. According to Forbes, plan at least $50-$100 for two landscapers (more for additional workers). Further, the average cost of hardscaping materials ranges from $2,000-$30,000 and soft-scaping from $900-$3,000.
Modern Backyard Ideas
Backyards, like the interior of our homes, offer a canvas for creativity and style. Consider some of the inspiration pictures of these backyard spaces. There are some ideas that you can incorporate into your backyard even on a low budget.
Seating for Backyard Spaces
One of the main features of modern backyards is a stylish and comfortable sitting area. Most seating areas are centered around a focal point. For example, in the case of this backyard designed by Wade Design Architects, it is a circular fire pit.
Sloped Backyard Landscaping
A sloped backyard presents certain challenges for space use and various plant species. To illustrate, consider this backyard from Hawkeye Landscape Design. They use different varieties of herbs, heuchera, and geraniums that can handle runoff from water. Also, they use the opportunity the slope creates to add large stones for steps that fit into the hill.
Modern Backyard with Large Planters
The aesthetic in this backyard designed by Gregory Mellor has an eclectic character and a timeless appeal. This is not a large backyard. However, the magnificent landscape that surrounds it gives it an open and borderless feel. Also, the large planters differentiate the space and mark the transition between the outdoor pavilion and the swimming pool.
Rooms With a View of the Outdoors
One of the marks of a modern home is a smooth and seamless transition between the indoor and outdoor areas. That is done in contemporary housing through full-height windows and sliding glass doors. For example, it is a strategy that was used by studio Tobias Partners. They were asked to reimagine a house from Sydney which was built in 1905. One of the changes they made was to open up the ground floor and connect it to the outside garden and backyard area with seamless glass windows.
Backyards with Layered Decks
This modern backyard was designed by CLO Studios for a beautiful beach house in Queensland, Australia. Notice the extensive use of wood and other natural textured materials in the seating. Further, the combination of lush and diverse vegetation creates a soothing and relaxing ambiance. The different floor levels allow areas for entertaining that are well differentiated.
Small Modern Backyard
A seating area can help a small area to feel inviting. You can add coziness to the seating area with a fire pit or a table. Also, there is added privacy if the area is framed by planters and by the house itself. Jillian Dinkel uses this strategy when working on the restoration of an old house from Sydney.
Modern Backyards with no Grass
This modern backyard of the Stokes house uses small gravel as the foundation of the backyard. This is a more environmentally friendly option than grass. They use different planters to section off parts of the yard and add greenery that is manageable. You can book this house via luxico.
Backyards with Shade Structures
Pergolas are timeless, and there are many different styles and designs available. However, a simple and classic aesthetic will suit most backyard styles well. Pergolas can also incorporate other features in backyard design like planters and furniture. Studio Blue Stone Construction shows how this can be applied when designing a modern backyard. Thus, this modern backyard patio has two sections, one for a shaded area and another with a modern backyard fire pit.
Backyard Lighting for Modern Style
The layout, design, decorations, and lighting help to bring this area to life. The lighting in the stairs for this outdoor area is inviting and practical. At the same time, the lighting choices are minimal and not overwhelming to the design. You can find inspiration in projects like this one done from studio TLC Gardens Design Build.
Modern Backyard with Wooden Structures
Consider this inviting backyard designed by studio Inside Out. It has a simple aesthetic with a privacy fence, planters, and benches made of wood. The custom bench with a back and built-in planters are specific elements that many modern backyards have in their designs. Also, such elements can suit both big and small spaces and take many different forms.
Backyards with Defined Areas
You can find plenty of inspiration in this modern backyard designed by the studio Surrounds. The different areas connect in a cohesive and organic way. Also, they situate the fire pit seating area and the lounge space away from the house, creating a clear distinction between the interior and the exterior spaces.
Contemporary Modern Backyard Ideas
Another option is to give the backyard a clean and simple design. This style focuses on vibrant color contrasts and a lack of unnecessary or misplaced details and decorations. This design would suit a contemporary house with a similar aesthetic style. A good example of a clean and simple design is this backyard from Pacific Coast Builders.
Traditional Modern Backyard Design
Not all modern backyards take minimalism to the extreme. For example, this yard was designed by Perennial Landscaping and favors curves and organic lines, and has been adapted to the sloping terrain. Also, It features a raised patio with a multipurpose sitting area, fire pit, and a series of terraced yard beds that lead to the house.
Designing a Backyard Around Trees
In some cases, it is less expensive and more environmentally friendly to be able to incorporate trees in a backyard’s design, rather than cut them down. For instance, this is a native Australian gum tree that has been integrated into the wooden deck. Also, it is a gorgeous feature for this small but charming backyard designed by Kreis Grennan Architecture.
The strategy used by King’s Landscaping was to take certain elements that were already present and to incorporate them into the design. In the end, they create a beautiful backyard area with native trees scattered around throughout and various open spaces built around them.
Natural Landscape Backyards
A modern backyard design can also be inspired by nature. In short, this favors more greenery, natural stone, and trees in the design. For instance, rather than getting rid of the grass to create raised decks, patios, and pavilions, preserving the original topography can be a better strategy. Plus, this is a more cost-effective option.
Modern Backyards with Pools
Many modern backyards include swimming pools; however, they vary in shape, size and style. This contemporary backyard designed by Damilano Studio Architects features an L-shaped swimming pool that acts as a transitional feature between the house and the outdoor areas.
Modern Tropical Backyard
This backyard was designed by Think Outside Gardens. While it is small, it is still a serene and beautiful space. The garden is like a miniature green oasis with lush vegetation. In particular, the designer have used vegetation to create a beautiful backdrop that envelops this area from all sides. Further, they have added a cedar bench that blends well in the natural environment and a tiled floor to create a more defined area.
Modern Backyards with Fire Pits
Rolling Stone Landscapes have given this modern backyard a focal point in the form of a fire pit. The weathered steel frame and circular shape are well-suited for a modern aesthetic and allow this fire pit to stand out. Besides, fire pits are a convenient place to roast marshmellows.
Terraced Seating for a Modern Backyard
Many modern home backyards will feature a sunken outdoor sitting area or a backyard that descends to allow an unobstructed view of the surrounding landscape. However, the opposite can also work. For example, consider this beautiful outdoor nook which can be reached by climbing a set of stairs.
What are the best low-budget solutions for landscaping my backyard?
First, consider what you want to have in your backyard area including existing trees and other natural features that you can keep. Next, look for budget solutions for the items you want like seating from IKEA and other big box stores. Make sure that you look for good deals at the end of the season. Also, many garden stores have discount plant areas that you can peruse to find plants that need some extra love.
How can I incorporate a cooking area into my backyard?
The best solution to adding a cooking area outside is a modular kitchen. This is the most inexpensive and convenient solution for cabinets. Likewise, consider an outdoor kit that includes a grill, sink, fridge, and bar area.
How much of my house budget should be spent on my backyard?
You should spend about 10% of your home’s value on landscaping. Therefore, if your home is worth $200,000, you should plan to spend around $20,000 on landscaping costs to maximize your home’s value. However, if you do all the work yourself, this cost will be lower.
What are the most eco-friendly options for landscaping my backyard?
In order to add the most eco-friendly options, consider where you live. First, research and use native and/or drought-resistant plants when at all possible. Next, make sure to add mulch to keep water in the soil. Also, consider adding gravel areas rather than grass. If you have the means, add a sprinkler system to control the amount of water used on your lawn. Last, you can install rainwater collection bins to collect rainwater to use in the garden.
Modern Backyard: Conclusion
Modern backyard landscaping can add to the enjoyment of your home and expand your entertainment space through seating areas, outdoor grills, and swimming pools. Also, having a useable and attractive backyard adds value to your property.
Consider all of your needs and resources when planning your outdoor living space. In the end, creating a beautiful backyard area is possible through motivation, hard work, and some of your hard-earned cash.