Warmer weather is around the corner, and that means backyard makeovers. Get inspired with our huge collection of beautiful backyard ideas that inspire. We have something for everyone, from tiny touches for small spaces (potted plants, painted fences, bistro tables) to large makeover inspirations (pools, pergolas, patios).
Published May 2, 2013, Updated Apr 6, 2022
Scott McGillivray transformed an outdated cottage into a vacation retreat with this beauty from Scott’s Vacation House Rules. This is the perfect backyard for fans of outdoor entertainment, from the Bavarian-inspired beer garden to the expansive seating area complete with gas fire pit, dining area and hot tub. Recreate the look by pairing natural wood with striking black against a lush green backdrop. Don’t forget to hang those all-important outdoor string lights overhead!
This backyard gem from the Backyard Builds team includes custom screens in between wooden slats, which gives us a stained-glass windows vibe that we absolutely want to snag for our own outdoor space. The addition of skylights to the renovated garage workspace allows plenty of natural light and will no doubt inspire plenty of creativity. We’ve got all the backyard inspiration you need right now, from landscaping ideas to outdoor studios.
Backyard Builds duo, Brian McCourt and Sarah Keenleyside, were working with a tight budget on this one. They delivered a jaw-dropping transformation that included a renovated shed for lounging, hex stone walkway and a brand new barbecue setup. Doesn’t it make you want to start grilling ASAP?
What’s more Canadian than a set of vibrant red Muskoka chairs arranged in a circle around a backyard fire pit? Scott McGillivray outfitted this outdoor space from Scott’s Vacation House Rules with all the right cottage touches. Speaking of Canuck-inspired decor, check out these exotic plants and trees that are surprisingly Canadian.
This year-round backyard sunroom is loaded with a fireplace, television and plenty of seating so you can even enjoy the outdoor views in the dead of winter. The Backyard Builds team even included LED lights so that this low-maintenance sunroom quite literally glows at night. Find more warm and inviting sunrooms you’ll never want to leave.
Bring the indoors outside with a mini backyard living space that includes a chic shed decked out with a dining table, hanging lights and a wallpaper accent wall – like this Backyard Builds space. You can just start referring to it as your “summer home.”
Make outdoor family movie nights your new summertime tradition. Buy an inflatable movie screen (or use a crisp white bedsheet) and set up a variety of chairs and pillows for a fun night under the stars,just like this gem from Backyard Builds. Just don’t forget the popcorn!
If you’re looking for a unique twist on the standard patio furniture, try something like this rustic table as seen on Backyard Builds. Who knew that a literal pile of rocks could make for such a fantastic backyard addition?
Rug it Out
When designing your backyard deck area, “giant rug” isn’t usually top of mind when it comes to decor ideas. But perhaps it should be. A large patterned rug could provide just the pop of colour your backyard space needs.
Already got a beautiful deck and just looking to take it up a notch? A pergola creates a space to entertain, without the big budget of a deck reno. Plus, they make for a beautiful trellis for flowering vines.
Small Space Ideas
Create a “backyard” on a tiny condo or front porch terrace. Yes, it’s possible! Lay down an outdoor-friendly rug to ground and compartmentalize the space. Then, opt for small-space-friendly seating that reminds you of summer gardens (like these neon orange stunners). Don’t feel like you have to stick to a specific palette! We love how these orange chairs pair with the skinny rattan table. Rattan is a great natural material for outdoor furniture, making even the tiniest balconies feel like a proper backyard patio.
Give your backyard a rustic feel with fun signage and unique holders for your potted plants. We’re definitely lovin’ this Backyard Builds design choice.
If you’ve got the space, then flaunt it! Creating an outdoor kitchen experience is a great way to ensure your family gets some quality outdoor time in the summer months. Good job to Brian and Sarah from Backyard Builds.
This gorgeous little glass greenhouse will leave your neighbours green with envy. This is another Backyard Builds design.
You’ve been to a few homes with backyard fire pits, but what about an outdoor fireplace (like this one from Backyard Builds)? The epitome of backyard chic, it’s perfect for those long, leisurely summer evenings on the deck.
Instead of the usual backyard shed, consider a practical cooking space that will only serve to increase your summertime fun. We love how this charcoal shed was transformed into a kitchen with a bar at the window.
Make a splash with a pool that plays up a geometric design. Add in loungers, unique topiaries and gorgeous blooming hydrangeas and there’s no denying that this is a beautiful backyard. Yard not big enough for a pool? Try some of these clever ways to feel like you have a pool without owning one.
A backyard fountain can create a sense of ultimate relaxation with the sound of running water. It’s perfect for homeowners who love taking outdoor naps. Plus, backyard fountains come in a huge variety of both styles and sizes. This means you’ll find something perfect for your garden, no matter your aesthetic or square-footage.
Mix and Match
Too many of us feel we need to stick to one material or one colour palette. Not true! Mixing and matching planters is the quickest way to add visual dynamic and cottagecore style to your backyard. Plus, it’s a lot more budget-friendly, as we can pick up whatever cute planters we see on sale here and there!
If you have a large backyard with plenty of space to play peek-a-boo, this idea is for you. Tuck a quaint little seating arrangement away in a corner behind a wall or between blooms. Et voila! Total tea party vibes and enchanted outdoor evenings.
We may be north of the border, but we can invoke the Miami feel here, too. How? By keeping it sleek and modern, with clean lines, trendy furniture, lots of white and wood and a bright blue pool, of course!
In Full Bloom
Rome wasn’t built in a day and your cozy cottage garden isn’t going to bloom overnight. But the best time to get started? Right now! If you’re planning a makeover for your garden and want to incorporate more flowers, add lots of large flowering bushes: Roses, hydrangeas, rhododendrons and more. Incorporating larger flowering bushes will mean your garden looks abundant, overflowing with oversized flowers.
Looking to stick to the neutrals without being boring? Try swapping your outdoor cushion covers every couple years or so. We love this particular pairing of deep charcoal upholstery with loud, cheerful magenta cushions.
Layer on the Plants
Got a deck with steps? Layer some potted plants stacked at different levels. This adds depth to the overall look. Don’t have a deck? Don’t worry! Layer some potted plants both on the ground and higher up, on tables and benches.
Centre of the Action
Let’s face it, most of us installing pools in our backyard aren’t doing it to swim laps. Since you’re adding a pool for the aesthetic and the vibes anyways, you might as well go full-glam with this lux-looking circular design. This makes your pool the central focus and a great place to gather chairs around.
A Splash of Paint
What’s the secret behind this budget-friendly makeover from Jessica Sara Morris of White Picket Farmhouse? Paint! This is a great option if your deck is looking a little dated but you don’t have the budget for a new build. Simply clean and sand the wood, don’t skimp on the primer, purchase a high quality outdoor wood paint and don’t forget to seal!
Colourful Coats of Paint
Give your deck and Muskoka chairs a wild coat of colourful paint.
Path to Perfection
Koi ponds are the ultimate lux level-up to a Zen backyard. And it doesn’t have to be magnificently huge, such as this one. You can integrate a pond of any size in your backyard and it will be just as charming and enjoyable! (we do love this big-budget, creative take, though!)
Chic and Sculpted
Want to make your backyard look expensive? Consider sculpted shrubbery and hedges. The maze-like hedge design screams opulence. And we love the genius archways created using just greenery!
No matter how small your outdoor space, chances are you have the room for hanging planters. Utilize vertical space and grow vibrant greenery anywhere with these hanging beauties.
Natural springs in your own backyard? But now?
Take inspiration from this cleverly designed backyard pool that feels like a desert spring plucked right out of the wilderness. Recreate this atmosphere with an irregular landscape to your pool, natural sandy-coloured stonework, uneven stones for your walkway and small pebbles as groundcover. Notice the shrubbery sprinkled throughout, and the absence of tall trees? This clever use of low-lying plants replicates the look of greenery seen in the desert.
Highs and Lows
Whether we’re talking interiors or exteriors, layers and variance in height is integral to good design. It adds more visual interest, causing the eyes to travel and the mind to wander. Create layers in your garden with multilevel walkways, short steps and stone walls. This is a great way to make a medium-size backyard feel like an estate garden.
Don’t have room in your yard for lots of levels and walls, like in our previous inspo? No fear! Just add a single level with a single set of stone steps. Be sure to let your garden overgrow ever so slightly, to add to the romantic, old-world beauty of this idea!
A Sweet Swing
Do you have a large tree in your backyard? If so, great! You’re literally halfway there. Pick a sturdy branch and hand a classic, rustic wood-and-rope swing here to be enjoyed by the whole family.
Who doesn’t dream of a wild garden with vine flowers clambering up the walls? Create The Secret Garden vibes in your own backyard by installing some sturdy trellises on your walls and fences. Be careful, though! Certain vines can weaken the structural integrity of your walls. For this reason, you may want to keep climbing plants off of your home’s main structure. Instead, relegate them to pergolas, patios, sheds and outdoor fences.
Tiles, Tiles & More Tiles
We love tiles, both indoor and out. Admittedly, this lux backyard is definitely more on the tropical side. But we can take our cues from it and reinvent this effect, Canadian-style. Consider lining your pool or pond with smaller tiles in a variety of shades to create more visual dynamic. Continue this tropical vibe by choosing earthy tiles like stone or terracotta on the ground bordering the pool. You can also choose to get adventurous here and pick patterned tiles!
Urban Groundcover Options
Building a patio on a budget? Laying down flagstone or even just cement can cost a pretty penny. Instead, consider layering small stones all over your seating area for a beachy vibe that goes will with the look of an urban garden. Then, landscape artfully around this stone patio. We recommend landscaping with organic curves, as seen here. This hugely compliments the natural look of the pebbles and creates a Zen atmosphere.
Do you have a backyard veggie garden yet? Take an organic approach with a veggie patch to feed the family. It has so many benefits: The added greenery will add lushness to your yard, its a hobby that’s great for both mind and body, gardening is an activity the whole family can partake in and, of course, you get to enjoy the fruits of your labour at the end of the season!
Calling all city dwellers: Minimalism is the style you need for a truly urban garden. Not only is it conducive to small spaces, its easy on the eyes and on the mood, thanks to cool materials, clean lines and trendy furniture.
We’re seeing all-white-everything or all-black-everything everywhere nowadays. But don’t bring the monochromatic vibes to the backyard! Your outdoor space is the place to play freely with colours and prints. And especially for spring and summertime, there’s nothing as cheerful or homey as a peachy print to brighten up a classic patio set. In your backyard, the sky is the limit… literally!
Considering building a large deck or upgrading your current one? We’re guessing you likely love backyard gatherings and outdoor entertainment. If this is the case, consider this clever upgrade to the conventional deck: A BBQ and bar deck!
We love how the bar is built into the deck railing. Pergolas hang over the BBQ area, designating it as a space of its own. The tall privacy wall to one side is a genius touch. All incredible ideas you should definitely steal and make your own.
Pretty With Pendants
When it comes to lighting your outdoor space, the world is your oyster. There are so many options! And in our opinion, one of the best options is pendant lights. These swinging lights hang low, bringing intimacy and indoor-vibes to the outdoors. Backyard seating areas often suffer from feeling too open and empty, so these are great way to scale a place down and make a patio feel more like a living room.
Statement walls or accent walls aren’t just for your interiors. Bring these stunners to the outside to infuse your yard with eclectic aesthetic. This is particularly handy if your fences are short and you need additional privacy. Add an intriguing statement wall just by your seating area, like your patio, for privacy in style.
Late Night Light
No matter how big or small your backyard is, chances are, you have room for a firepit. A little source of real fire is the perfect addition to make any outdoor space feel lux and cozy. At night, you’ve no need for harsh lights, thanks to its warm glow. The best part? They come in a huge range of both budgets and sizes!
Chill, Cool Vibes
Do you live in a city house? Chances are, you’re scratching your head, wondering how to transform such a small backyard into an oasis. Take your cue from this moody inspo that utilizes dark colours without feeling overbearing. The dark wooden fence feels almost tropical, paired with all the lush greenery. Scatter a few ferns about, as seen here, to truly evoke the tropics. Don’t forget these chic lounge chairs, so you can chill out here and enjoy the calm vibes.
Cool and Serene
This one’s for the major backyard makeovers: If you’re one of the lucky ones with a private pool, consider adding a large deck overlooking it. We love how this deck is multilayered, functioning as a patio at ground level and a balcony at the higher level. This is a great way to get more utility out of the same square-footage.
Your outdoor spaces aren’t just for you to enjoy — share some real estate with your neighbourhood birds! The relationship is symbiotic: Not only do the birds in your area get a cozy hideout, birdhouses add so much chic cottagecore charm! Plus, with more beautiful fauna being invited to your home, you’ll feel like a veritable Disney princess.
Natural and Earthy
Do you love the natural charm of a bountiful flower garden? Forego stone walkways for a dirt path like this one. It looks so fitting in this romantic rose garden!
Oh Canada! We love a deck with a healthy dose of national colours, perfect for the Canada Day long weekend. Don’t shy from red in the backyard — it makes for cozy, cheery Muskoka cottage vibes.