15 backyard landscaping ideas for enjoying the summer at home

Are you thinking about upgrading your garden for the warmer months? Since summer is not too far on the horizon, we have thought of all the options to make the most of the longer, warmer days – and the best starting point is the backyard.

While this summer is proving to be much more flexible when it comes to socializing outside of your own household, setting up friends or guests out of town is fun, easy, and safe when you set up a killer backyard.

Whether you’re working with a sprawling outdoor area or absolutely imperative that every square inch of your small garden work in your favor, we’ve rounded up a handful of smart and easy-to-reach landscaping ideas that will make your yard a place to be want to hang out all summer.

Consider a retaining wall

retaining wall

(Photo credit: Roger’s Landscaping)

A retaining wall not only looks aesthetically pleasing and elegant, it also offers a number of practical benefits – including flood protection, slowing soil erosion, and even creating an attractive property line marker in case that should be an issue.

Use a putting green

Backyard putting green

(Photo credit: Amazon)

Do you think you have to live on a golf course to practice your swing at home? Think again! A putting green might not be as great as a driving range, but it’s a great way to practice your putt – even if you’re not a great golfer. You can take on the job of building your own putting green or hire a landscaping professional to help. However, there is also a wide variety of pre-made greens available online.

Add some sort of water feature

Outdoor water feature

(Image credit: Wayfair)

The easiest way to add a dose of serene sophistication to your garden? A water feature! Whether your space is expanding or you have a stamp-sized outdoor space, a water feature is quick to install and will instantly make your space feel more relaxed.

Create a shade garden under a tree

Shadow garden

(Photo credit: future)

How to deal with a shady back yard? While most of us tend to seek out as much sunlight as possible, a shade garden is a particularly underrated attraction in the backyard. All you need are a few shade-loving plants (like dead nettle or foam flower) and some wrought iron patio furniture and you’re done.

Consider building raised beds

Raised beds

(Image credit: Earth Easy)

Raised garden beds are an attractive and practical solution for gardening – whether it is a small room or a large garden. Try making them yourself with a couple of 2×4’s, or if you’re not particularly practical, they are available at hardware stores.

Add a network of hiking trails

Outdoor trails

(Image credit: Wayfair)

A network of hiking trails can add sophistication to your garden – especially if you have a lot of trees or bushes in your property. Consider adding decorative beach pebbles or a small bridge over any streams or water sources.

Consider planting privacy safeguards

Securing privacy outdoors

(Photo credit: Fast Growing Trees)

If your neighbors’ house is particularly close to you, you can benefit from data protection safeguards. Many people assume that it takes years for these hedges to mature enough to be useful, but you can actually buy near-mature plants that are pre-grown to suit your needs.

Create your own butterfly garden

Butterfly garden

(Photo credit: gardener)

Observing nature is a wonderful way to be mindful and grounded – and adding your own pollinator or butterfly garden is a great way to ensure your garden is a regular stopping point for all sorts of beautiful little creatures. All you need are a few different butterfly-friendly flowers and some host plants for caterpillars and you’re done.

Curate a private zen garden

Zen garden

(Photo credit: Unsplash)

Are you trying to make your garden a retreat? Check out the Japanese art of zen gardening. The garden’s “dry landscape” concept uses artfully arranged rocks, sand, moss, bushes and water features to mimic the essence of nature and to aid meditation practices.

Create layers with low plants

layered plants

(Photo credit: Tode Landscaping)

Your garden can be full and full of life, but unless you intend to layer it it can look more like a jungle than a curated backyard garden. Consider adding layers by planting a number of lower plants to give the entire garden a more textured look.

Spice it up with ornamental grasses

Ornamental grass

(Photo credit: Home Depot)

Dried ornamental grasses like pampas and fountain grass have had a moment on Instagram for the past few months – but the trending ornamental grasses look great outdoors too. Plant your own and dry them for indoor use when the weather changes later in summer.

Consider building a covered pergola

covered pergola

(Photo credit: Home Depot)

“Shade is essential in summer, and sometimes a traditional porch isn’t enough,” says Tim Bakke, home design expert. “A growing trend is a covered pergola, whether wood or metal, with a fabric or metal roof.”

These affordable structures create outdoor living space wherever it is needed or desired. Perhaps as an extension of the house, near a pool, or as a focal point elsewhere in the back yard.

Integrate indoor / outdoor technology

Indoor / outdoor technology

(Photo credit: TV Shield)

According to Joe Raboine, Director of Residential Hardscapes at Belgard, integrating technology with outdoor spaces is becoming increasingly important for performing day-to-day functions. “Add heating or lighting to an outdoor area, as well as WiFi and easily accessible electrical outlets for a fully functional space that can support more activities,” he says.

Integrate outdoor office space

Outdoor office

(Photo credit: Studio Shed)

Are you looking for a way to bring your everyday life into the garden from the inside? Consider building fully functional micro-spaces! By creating flex spaces with dual use in the backyard, a viable outdoor living space is created that makes living and working at home so much more interesting.

Create different backyard spaces

Outdoor kitchen

(Image credit: Wayfair)

“Large outdoor living spaces are the new norm as people change their minds to create an outdoor area with multiple rooms for family and friends,” explains Raboine. Whether you want to chat over the weekend, exercise from your back yard, or create a romantic little spot for backyard dates, creating multipurpose spaces is a great way to bring the indoor spaces outside.

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