Pretty and Practical Backyard Ideas

Make the most of your backyard with practical tips and ideas from these picturesque outdoor living spaces.

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  • 1 of 17

    Add a Tablecloth

    Simple touches, like a tablecloth, can make an outdoor eating area that much more welcoming to guests. A crisp white tablecloth softens the look of the black metal patio furniture and offers nice contrast to nature.

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    Gather 'Round the Fire

    An above-ground fire pit is perfect for a small group to gather around to roast marshmallows or have a conversation. Soft outdoor furniture and a matching patio umbrella make the space even more inviting. Be sure to research local ordinances before installing a fire pit in your backyard.

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    Strip of Succulents

    Break up a stretch of patio with beds of plantings. Next to this southwestern home’s pool, succulents are the perfect choice. Succulents thrive in harsh, dry climates. If you don’t live in this climate but love the look of succulents, consider planting them in containers that can easily be brought inside in the fall.

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    Sit it in the Shade

    If you're fortunate enough to have a large shade tree in your backyard, consider siting your patio under its canopy. You'll enjoy the cool, shady retreat in the heat of summer when you need a quick break from your gardening chores. You can also plant your favorite shade plants, such as hostas and caladiums, around your patio.

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    Create a Backyard Patio

    Take a backyard from basic to beautiful with these patio decorating and design ideas.

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    Repurposed Room

    Who said a shed is only for storage? This repurposed shed makes a great outdoor eating area completely protected from the elements. A fresh coat of paint, colorful accessories, and lights strung across the ceiling keep the space light, bright, and welcoming.

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    Fountain Focal Point

    Create a focal point and add some height to your backyard decor by creating a simple structure using a pair of columns and wood beams. A classic fountain underneath completes the look and adds the relaxing sound of trickling water near the seating area. Potted plants complete the look.

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    Define Zones

    Define multiple zones in your backyard through different flooring treatments. This backyard features three distinct treatments underfoot: a checkerboard pattern made from large patio pavers and squares of grass, a stone floor under the pergola, and gravel under the seating area. The natural-looking pergola is constructed from logs tied together with rope.

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    Creative Outdoor Table

    There are many creative ways to make an outdoor table using durable materials capable of withstanding the elements. Here, thick glass-block pillars hold up a tabletop made from a sheet of industrial glass. The transparent quality of the table keeps the focus on the beautiful plantings surrounding it.

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    Pop of Color

    When you have a beautiful backyard, there's no need to go overboard with color. But sometimes a pop of color in small doses, like the orange used on this multi-level patio's chairs and umbrellas, is a nice touch.

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    Extend Living Space

    Extend your indoor living space outside by outfitting a covered porch with creature comforts. Here, outdoor furniture featuring soft cushions and colorful accent pillows give the space a living room-like feel. A ceiling fan adds to the comfort.

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    Pretty Path

    Create a simple, winding path through your backyard using gravel lined by larger rocks. Better yet, have the path lead to a secluded sitting area. This backyard’s lush plantings create the feeling of a nature hike.

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    Cozy Corner

    Create a cozy corner protected from breezes for a place to enjoy a morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea. Add shade with a pergola overhead. Choose durable furniture that withstands the elements.

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    Outdoor Fireplace

    With an outdoor fireplace, you can keep using your backyard even after the days start cooling off and getting shorter. The commanding size of this fireplace makes it the focal point of the backyard. Comfy furniture offers the perfect spot to entertain or cozy up with a warm drink.

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    Natural Patio Walls

    Use rock walls to delineate a patio space. Here, straight and curved walls not only define an interesting shape for the patio, they also separate the space from the wooded area of the backyard. Black metal patio furniture was kept simple to keep the focus on the backyard’s natural beauty.

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    Circular Patio

    The circular shape of this patio not only adds character, it also functions well for entertaining and encouraging conversation. Curves are typically more relaxing than straight lines. A short wall around the perimeter of the patio offers plentiful seating when hosting large groups.

  • Next Slideshow 10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    10 Ways to Create a Backyard Getaway

    Try these ideas to turn your backyard into a relaxing outdoor oasis.
    Begin Slideshow »
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