45 Design Inspirations To Elevate Any Outdoor Space Into A Private Paradise
Summertime is arguably everyone’s favorite season. We all long for those warm July evenings in the garden, catching up with friends over some ice-cold lemonade. Perhaps work commitments or the changing temperature stand in your way of a good time? Making those precious nights relaxing under the stars all that rarer. Who hasn’t enjoyed cocktails and BBQs in late summer, only to abandon the garden come wintertime? Let’s face it; gardens are sadly under-utilized. Well, consider that the past. We’re here to provide you with 45 perfect design hacks that will improve and elevate the look of your garden. After taking inspiration from our list, good times and year-round memories in your outdoor space will soon be the norm. This is our advice on the best ways you can improve and elevate your garden to its highest potential. In this sometimes overactive world of ours, it’s rare to find a place away from the noise and screens. Big or small, make your garden into your very own sanctuary, somewhere you can reconnect with nature. Perhaps you like a modern flare? Or instead, prefer the untouched vibe? Either way, we hope this list gives you some garden inspiration. Get going, green thumb!
Choose a Theme
Before revamping your garden space, it’s wise to take a step back and think about the theme you want running throughout your garden. Perhaps the new season calls for a pastel paint job? Or is it time for those warm autumnal tones to make an entrance?
Selecting color palettes, materials, and items consistent with a theme will help you maintain creative clarity in the pursuit of your desired outdoor atmosphere. Perhaps you’ve chosen white stone for your path? To fully realize your creative vision, try to stick to a running element – such as white embellishments – for a consistent feel.
Pave The Way
Whether your garden is big or small, the first step to achieving your perfect space (in our opinion) is to include a path. Paths will make it easier to navigate the garden, providing a natural direction of flow that’s perfect for meandering friends.
Stone paths that blend well into the natural environment may be your style. Or a wooden step path that provides a more rustic vibe instead? Paths can help to shape a garden and accentuate the beauty of specific areas. Maybe all roads lead to the garden centerpiece? Or perhaps it loops back to the house; you choose your path.
Sundial and Telescope
Gardens should be your sanctuary, a place to immerse yourself in nature and an escape from the confines of your four walls. Go one step further and use your garden as a base to learn about the sun and stars with a sundial and telescope.
Explore the open sky from home with the addition of a telescope, tracking all your favorite constellations across the night sky. And with the addition of a sundial (one of humanity’s earliest forms of telling time), you’ll no longer have to pull out your smartphone every few minutes.
Nothing beats homegrown food and the satisfaction of reaping the fruits of your labor. The warming spring and summer months are ideal for growing fruits and vegetables, though year-round harvest is possible with certain foods. The practice of horticulture has taken off, and cultivating your own sustainable produce will only do favors for the environment.
Bell peppers, strawberries, kale, and tomatoes will revitalize the look of your garden as well as put food on the table. For off-season fruits and vegetables, try onions, garlic, and asparagus that’ll last you into winter. There’s no end to your options!
What are we to do when that one friend is without somewhere to relax? We don’t want to have to grab the old plastic chairs from the garage. Opt for a refurbished set of benches or some attractive wooden chairs. Designs can vary, from ornate wooden style benches that mesh with nature or a chic Graceful Bewick that compliments florals.
A stylish bench can be a garden staple, providing you with plentiful seating space and a new garden perspective. Nestle your new bench or chairs between your flower displays and vines or at the end of a path that leads you to the perfect spot under a tree.
Mirror, mirror on the wall
Mirrors are usually something we’d place indoors, but consider the look of your garden with this addition. Helping to create the illusion of expanded space, a mirror of your choice can bring dimension and light to the dark corners of any garden.
Place a horizontal style mirror at the end of the garden to elongate the look of your space, or go for a standing mirror that can be relocated and repositioned to enhance the natural light. Mirrors also help to modernize gardens in need of a revamp.
Add a Touch of Ivy
If you live in a city, your garden may be lacking that wild feel. To escape those uninspired concrete walls, introduce a species of ivy. That warm cottage aesthetic shouldn’t only be reserved for fairytales. Your garden ought to be shrouded in green too.
English, Boston, or Virginia Ivy are just some species used for external spaces and gardens, and it requires patience in those who usually expect instant results. Once cultivated, you’ll have incorporated nature into your garden in one of the best ways.
The perfect garden will always have a diverse mixture of plants. Every single species provides unique characteristics that can suit your seasonal style. Consider landscaping your lawn with shrubs that compliment your flowers or create a garden centerpiece that looks beautiful year-round.
Evergreen shrubs are good at surviving those uninviting winters and thus make an ideal option; the best part is they require minimal maintenance. Euonymus Fortunei, Daphne, Mahonia, or the hardy Aucuba Japonica shrubs are just a few suggestions to consider.
Gazebo or Pergola?
Upgrade those worn-out garden umbrellas with a beautiful gazebo. Perfect for many recreational activities, gazebos can transform your outdoor space while adding value to a property. Prefer an option more integrated with nature? Opt for a Pergola and creeping vines.
A Pergola’s open design allows for nature to take root when compared to the more sheltered gazebo. Whatever you choose, escape from the intense summer heat is promised either way. Just imagine all the weddings, birthdays, and parties you could host in style.
With all these new ideas on ways to improve your garden, space may quickly become a rarity if your ideas are not thought through well enough. Avoid cluttering your garden with unnecessary additions by optimizing the area and planning accordingly.
Try to sketch or create mood boards for your desired feel before beginning all the work. Sectioning out the space and coming up with simple solutions such as stacking plants vertically can help the outdoor area come together in sync.
Certain plants and vegetables can be left vulnerable to nature’s forces, leaving your latest green projects little chance of surviving the unpredictable weather. Give your flourishing herbs and produce another lease on life under the protection of a warm greenhouse.
The addition of a greenhouse will allow you to grow off-season fruits and vegetables where frigid weather usually wouldn’t permit. If you don’t have space for a greenhouse, go for transparent plastic bins, which act in the same way as a greenhouse on a smaller scale.
What’s a perfect garden without the presence of company? No one wants a picturesque backyard without the sound of singing birds. Entice your neighbors and the singing wildlife around to your new and improved garden with the addition of a birdbath.
A classic garden feature, the birdbath has found a home in gardens throughout the decades. Select a natural stone fountain great for garden centerpieces and watch the morning choir flock to you. Integrating your garden features with natural materials instead of synthetic can improve the health of your garden.
No garden is ever complete without the addition of some flowers. Choose an assortment of your favorites to dot around the garden, complementing and highlighting areas in need of inspiration. Choosing a varied selection of species and colors will add vibrancy to your outside space.
Flower pots ranging in different sizes will help avoid that uniformed feel, helping your blossoming plants blend seamlessly with the rest of your greenery. Planting in flower pots also allows you the freedom to rearrange your plants as you please.
Install a Pond
Water and green spaces go hand in hand, and it would only be right for you to incorporate as many contrasting elemental aspects to your garden as you can. Installing a pond in your garden will provide that vital water element, bringing a balance to your garden.
Gardens are alive, so bring more life into your garden by including fish and frogs in and around the pond. What is a pond without a few goldfish? Keep your garden healthy and active with the introduction of a few new friends.
Maximizing the use of natural and artificial light in the garden will be the difference between an uninviting atmosphere and a cozy one. Lighting is needed to accentuate dimly lit areas of interest, drawing the eye to otherwise unnoticed spaces.
Try lining your walkway with solar lamps that produce renewable energy, or add lanterns amongst the flower beds to create a genuinely ambient feel. You can even go for colored LED lamps that can give your garden that magical touch.
Create a Green Shelf
Think outside the box, and you’ll notice you have more space than you realize. Plants and flowers deserve more than just being relegated to the sidelines. The possibilities are endless. Repurposing an old rack or scrap wood into a cute green shelf will give your garden a unique upgrade.
Create several different-sized displays for your small plants and watch the greenery expand alongside the house. You can add a touch of opulence by painting your shelves silver or gold; this will help complement and contrast the vibrant plants soon to call them home.
Paint the Shed
Nothing is more striking than a good paint job. Especially when you add color to an otherwise dull area. Garden sheds can often look neglected, sitting lifelessly at the edge of the backyard. Bring it back to life with a new shade.
Warm tones can help accentuate your garden’s vibrant fauna and bring energy to your space even on rainy days. Or maybe you’d prefer a more neutral look? Go for a wooden varnish or classic white to suit your mood.
Extra space can be hard to come by when cultivating your perfect garden. Maybe you have already planted countless summer perennials and are running out of room fast. Try planting your next batch of flowers and plants vertically. Problem solved.
Refurbishing old ladders or footstools by giving them a fresh coat of paint (to match the shed) and stacking them vertically around your garden will utilize space you didn’t know you had. You can rearrange your flower ladder as you please, changing layouts with the changing season.
Let there be light. Implementing lighting into your outdoor space is a crucial component to achieving that perfect atmosphere. We have already suggested solar-powered lights that require little maintenance. We also recommend elevating the looks with some fairy lights.
Affordable and timeless, the soft glow of fairy lights will add that magical feel to recreational areas. Maybe lined around the canopy or the seating area? Introduce much-needed light with this subtle embellishment that’ll surely make you fall in love.
So you have a gorgeous seating area, ornate plant pots but nowhere to nap? Try a hammock. Gardens should epitomize comfort and leisure, so what better place to sleep on a spring afternoon? Leave those beautiful benches for the birds and take a moment for yourself.
Hammocks are age-old and a proven source of comfort for many. Coming in an array of styles and designs, choose one that best fits with the theme of your garden. Adjustable and flexible, this sleepy addition will have you living in your backyard part-time.
Mosquito Control Plant
Mosquitos will always be one of nature’s evils, but in this garden, we deserve to choose whether or not we want these pesky insects buzzing around our ankles. Opt for an effective herbal alternative instead of spraying those harmful chemical repellents around your beautiful garden inhabitants.
Marigold, lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, and catnip are some of the best herbal choices you could plant to keep the annoying pests away. Placement is also important. Keep your new plants by walkways and entrances – this will help keep mosquitos from frequenting the social spaces.
Water sustainability is a growing concern for many households. Instead of racking up expensive utility bills cultivating all your flowers and fauna, save money by collecting rainwater. Make use of nature’s abundant resources by using your new barrel to hydrate your entire garden while helping to save water.
Whether it be big or small, there are several styles and types of water containers to fit your ideal outdoor space. Place your new money saver underneath rain pipes to collect enough water for your pond, sprinklers, and water features.
Improving your garden with the addition of a canopy is another excellent idea. Escape the seasonal forces under a cozy canopy the whole family can enjoy. An affordable and accessible option for gardens needing added dimension, escape harmful UV rays under a style of your choice.
Perfect for encouraging outdoor learning opportunities, the multipurpose use of a patio canopy will see the kids spend more time outdoors – and you with another space to enjoy your coveted downtime. Go for a fabric canopy that can weather the elements, or maybe a sturdier wooden design suits you more?
If you possess the right amount of space, fireplaces can be the perfect garden centerpiece and a welcomed staple for family and friends – especially in Autumn time. Depending on your budget, you can choose a range of designs – from DIY stone pits to sleek minimalist styles.
If space isn’t a luxury you have, maybe the ever-popular Solo Stove will be to your liking. Its dual functionality as a fireplace and a stove means you can use it to BBQ in the summer and warm your toes in the winter.
Pairing a corner couch with your newly installed fireplace will see your garden graduate to an enviable status. Finding space in your garden for outdoor seating can help to modernize the environment and provide much-needed seating for those social gatherings.
Bring the comfort of indoors to the backyard with a Callais outdoor sofa or a cute wooden loveseat. Maybe the Paso Teak chair is more your style? Or just go for a large modern set that fits all. Depending on your space and preferences, you have many options.
Who doesn’t love low-maintenance plants? We are already so busy tending to our seasonal flowers and vegetable patch, we need hearty survivors in this garden. Introduce a variety of succulent plant species into your fauna family and diversify your backyard and garden.
Their bold and unique look and seasonal resilience make them a no-brainer for anyone wanting to keep the garden green (and purple) all year. Sedum, Leatherpetal, Echeveria, and Jade plants are just a few of your succulent choices.
If you enjoy spending as much time outside as you can, opt for an outdoor dining table. Sitting down for a nice meal with friends or family, you can ensure those summer months are spent eating out under the stars – and not in front of the TV.
BBQs can be enjoyed to the fullest by adding a rustic dining table, guaranteeing everyone gets a prime seat. Depending on your available space, position the table at the center of the garden or perhaps underneath a protective lighted canopy.
Green, green and more green
Unbridled greenery is always a good sign of a healthy garden, and we don’t intend on challenging that trend anytime soon. Go all in and add green foliage and plants on pergolas, sheds, and roofs to help incorporate your property into the surrounding nature.
No one wants to see corrugated iron here to ruin your perfect aesthetic; cover that up with a lovely green spread. Or even better, introduce a species of ivy on top of your desired space. It may take patience, but the look of a home intertwined with nature is priceless.
If you’re the restless type, a hanging chair might just be the perfect thing to keep you moving. Install a swing or hanging chair underneath a tree (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and bring a tropical charm to your backyard.
Flexible and easily relocated to other areas of the garden, you can set a swinging chair anywhere and instantly revamp the look of your yard. Late afternoons swaying in the shade, waiting for that sunset, isn’t as far away as it seems.
Fortune favors those with space. If you have enough of it, think about adding a swimming pool to your garden. The traditional uninspired rectangle pools of yesteryear are gone; unique and intricate modern designs of all sizes are now on the market.
A natural stoned pool meshing with the surrounding rock could fit nicely as the garden focal point. Or go for a super-thin pool that extends the length of the garden. Just imagine the perfect symmetry walking by the uniformed fauna as you prepare to unwind in your dream pool. Room for one more?
What better way to introduce your garden oasis to the neighbors than via a gorgeous archway? Pink florals and interwoven vines wrap around the arbor, inviting you into your very own piece of paradise. Start the fantasy right by placing an ornate archway (preferably) at the entrance of your garden.
You can go for a classic wooden criss-cross archway perfect at integrating with plants and decorative ivy. Or the intricate white metal arbors you always wanted at your dream wedding might give you a taste of the future. Whatever you choose, just make sure to embellish, embellish, embellish.
Tiki torches evoke that tropical island vibe for most of us and promise to inspire any visitor with their presence. Transform your backyard into a Hawaiian retreat by placing a few of these at a place of your choice. Try the BBQ and seating areas, as well as in dark corners.
You can even make DIY Tiki torches out of old jars and bottles if you want to get creative and be more in control of the style of your lamps. Use citronella fuel to light your homemade torches and keep mosquitoes away at the same time.
Tire Plant Pots
Recycle old tires into rejuvenated plant pots and find a new use for otherwise obsolete objects. A quick and budget-friendly way of finding your plant’s new homes, start by cleaning and painting your assorted tires before moving on to the next step of planting.
Once you’ve figured out the arrangement, place your tires down in ways that complement the surrounding features. For example, sets of three tires placed in the corners of your garden will uplift the look and add symmetry to your space.
Include a Gym
If you’re the active type, you might want to dedicate a section of your garden to a small gym. Sometimes trekking halfway across town to work out in overcrowded conditions isn’t a great feeling. Change that with your very own open-air fitness studio.
Gyms can modernize the look of a garden environment, acting as a steely contrast to the softer surroundings. Placing a few weights, skipping rope, and an exercise bike may be all you need. A canopy for shade could complete the look; just keep it minimal.
Repair and Secure
With your flourishing garden captivating the neighbors and beyond, it can be easy to forget about maintenance. Vital checks and safety repairs should be attended to every couple of months. We don’t want that wall fixture to come loose, nor do we want the BBQ getting rusty.
Regularly check your fixtures and bolts on principal installments like swings or gazebos to ensure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises. Checking water sources for sprinklers and pools and covering the BBQ when it rains will improve your garden experience.
Add a Bar
This one’s quite specific to those who enjoy a nightcap or two or those who can’t resist a mimosa in the sun. Adding a minibar to your garden is always a sign of potential fun. Once the long days are over, and you’ve earned a well-deserved break, why not head out to your garden bar?
Dedicate a corner to a well-lit minibar stocked with your favorite beverages. A small set-up complete with bar stools and some fairy lights will provide that after-hours vibe at home. Retreat into conversation with friends until late; no one can resist a good bar.
Upgrade Your Fence
Garden fences make up the structure of our outdoor space; that’s why we want to expand and breathe new life into our environment as best we can. Start with sanding and varnishing old and tired fences in dire need of some attention.
You could completely cover your fence in plants and foliage to create an enclosed natural feel. Trees and shrubs placed alongside the fence can also make additional coverage from nosy neighbors. Bird feeders and natural accents can all improve your fence.
Garden decks usually indicate the sectioning of your backyard, mostly reserved for seating or recreational areas. To avoid your garden taking on an unorganized feel, opt for a sleek deck that will keep you and others off your perfect grass.
Place a pair of sun loungers and side tables on your deck. If you want the option of shade, go for something retractable. A perfect spot for sunbathing and hosting guests, a sun deck can modernize and streamline the look of any garden area.
Include a Water Feature
Your ideal garden isn’t complete without a timeless water feature. Sometimes considered a relic of years gone by, we believe that a classic water feature will always stand the test of time. A welcome change of elements, the right water fountain will give your garden a classic feel.
Choose a wall-mounted feature reminiscent of a bygone era or a pair of traditional pottery fountains perfect for lining your garden path. Or splurge on the latest hand-crafted Girona fountain made from sturdy concrete that will surely last a lifetime.
Recreational time in the yard isn’t fun if you’re doing the same thing again and again. Try something new by adding a chess table to a quiet corner in your garden. The classic game will serve as a refreshing change from the usual weekend shenanigans and also boost mental performance.
The iconic chess table will look perfect nestled amongst some flowers and fauna in many beautiful designs. Choose a petite black and white stone table or go one step further and dedicate a portion of your garden to a mega chess set if you’re really into it.
Wine Bottle Watering
Scheduling watering times for all your plants can get daunting. So many different species and so many different requirements. Take the stress out of maintaining certain plants with a wine watering bottle for a quick and simple solution for thirsty larger flowers.
After enjoying the wine, wash your discarded bottles well and fill them with water before heading to the garden. Cover the top of the bottle with your thumb and turn it upside down – quickly inserting it into the soil (about 2 inches). Ideal for times you’re traveling – here’s to never returning home to a wilted and lifeless plant.
Get Creative With an Easel
Even the most beautiful gardens can be underappreciated. You have worked so hard on all the latest improvements, and the spring flowers are finally starting to bloom. Someone should capture this scene with a painting. Painting is relaxing and restorative.
Including an easel in your garden will motivate you to get creative and give you another reason to spend time out there in your very own oasis. Turn off the devices and fall into nature’s tune, painting to your heart’s content.
Wooden pallets can be an unfortunate waste product usually destined for a scrap heap. Breathe new life into them by turning them into a luscious green wall for your garden. Go for a natural rustic feel or varnish and paint them with a bold new color.
Perennial Geranium, Gold Moss, and Lobelia are great choices for your first pallet planter. Build on your garden’s existing greenery by lining plant pallets along the fence and house. Introducing perennials, succulents, and your favorites to an upcycled pallet will compliment your garden.
Repurpose Broken Pots
Kintsugi is a Japanese art form practicing the restoration of broken pottery, believing an object’s damage should be preserved instead of disguised. Applying this technique to your broken pottery could see you conjure up an array of imaginative ideas that will add character to your garden.
Restructure broken pottery pieces into a creepy-crawly kingdom or butterfly safe house with tiny stairs and flowering vines, and you would’ve created a perfectly impressive miniature habitat to compliment your other garden enhancements. It saves on waste and adds that DIY flavor we all love.
Photosynthesis sparks life in all your garden fauna, but a garden is never completely alive without the presence of another kind of life – animals. We all hope our perfect garden will host abundant life and provide the ideal habitat for passing guests. Building a DIY butterfly feeder will hopefully attract plenty of colorful friends into your garden paradise.
After cleaning your DIY feeder well, add 1/4 sugar to a cup of boiling water and let it dissolve. Allow the solution to cool completely and then transfer onto your feeder. You can also add slices of decaying fruit such as Oranges, Berries, Melons, and Pears, perfect for a butterfly feast.