Over the years, I have been collecting inspiration and ideas for some really creative (and smart) backyard ideas. From creative outdoor landscaping ideas, outdoor decorating to entertaining, all of these ideas (I hope) will help and inspire us as we get our outdoor areas ready for summer.
Creative Landscaping Ideas
One of my favorite landscaping design ideas comes Surrounds Landscaping on Houzz and is such a great image filled with many great landscaping ideas. If you’re thinking about ways to add height, walkways, change in elevation and plant layout, this is such a great example:
The above backyard is the inspiration for my long-term landscaping strategy and I love all of the design elements. While I can’t do all of this at one time, these ideas can be incorporated a little bit at a time over a few years. Instead of laying a straight walkway, I love the idea of curving tile to add more to the layout. I also love the transition in elevation by using stone beds to go from one level to another. I have this issue in my own backyard and this is a great way to make the step up beautiful and flowing.
Incorporate Large Rocks
Another creative idea for backyard landscaping that you don’t have to worry about year after year is adding large rocks. Not only do they add to the aesthetics, they will be there forever and good news for me, I can’t kill them. I don’t have a green thumb, so large rocks are great for people like me:
Each year, I add about 5-10 larger rocks to my backyard and it’s really starting to make a difference and I have even added some around my patio to add contrast and bring in more of a natural element.
Another way to add interest is simply laying a double layer of stackable stones from Lowe’s or Home Depot and filling in behind with dirt and plants for a slight change in elevation:
You can use stackable stones/bricks or layer stone like flagstone to create a walkway, enclose a garden bed or even a sitting area with a firepit:
Using Large Flat Stones/Concrete Pavers Creatively
I’m so amazed by how creative people can get in their backyards simply by laying larger thinner stones (like flagstone) in the yard. I see these larger flatter stones at Lowe’s and Home Depot all of the time and I love the idea of using them to designate a seating area:
Below, these stones were set in gravel to create a beautiful walkway:
Choosing the Right Plants and Shrubs that are Hearty and Easy
If you have a lot of shade in your backyard, this great article from BHG goes into great detail about the best shade and ground cover plants that are very easy and hearty. I’m going to try the Bishop’s Weed below that they mention thrive’s when all other shade plants fail:
6) Keep the Mosquitoes Away with Certain Plants and Flowers
As you’re choosing plants this spring, here is a fantastic article from Natural Living Ideas for 11 plants that repel mosquitoes. I have already started planting a couple of these plants and I think it should help this summer:
Here is another great article and list of mosquito repelling plants and flowers from One Kings Lane:
Get Creative with Pretty Container Pots
I love using large container pots full of plants and flowers because it’s a great way to add color and design either in the backyard, porch or patio. I love how this pop of lime green just really adds to this porch:
via American Meadows
Here is a super creative idea for container pots by adding them into your beds for additional height:
I also add things like rocks and moss balls to container pots just to make it more interesting. I always add solar lights to all of my outdoor plants, which looks so pretty at night. I did this on my front porch last year:
Baskets are an easy way to add to your outdoor decor because all you have to do is slip the plant in the basket:
Creative Outdoor Entertaining Ideas and Tricks
If you entertain a lot in your backyard and are looking for a creative way to serve drinks or food, I took an inexpensive potting bench from World Market here (affiliate link) and turned it into an outdoor bar:
I also use a side table from World Market for setting up an outdoor buffet for food when we entertain:
When you do entertain outdoors, put your large garden urns or pots that you don’t use to work. They are perfect for filling with ice for drinks:
Large bowls are great for outdoor table centerpieces. You can slide in 2-4 smaller plants in their containers to make one large arrangement:
Bring the Indoors Out
Don’t forget to check out your junk closet for indoor items that you’re not using that could add a pop (and function) to your outdoor areas. I bring things like urns, decorative pots, large ceramic vases and candle holders that I’m not using inside into our back patio:
DIY Oversized Tray
Lastly, if you need a large oversized tray for outdoor entertaining, I shared an easy tutorial here for how to turn a piece of plywood board into an instant oversized tray that is perfect for serving food and entertaining outdoors:
I hope there is an idea. project or trick that has inspired you as you fluff your outdoor areas. I have a lot of work to do on my backyard and patio and hopefully I can catch up soon enough to get our outdoor areas ready for spring and summer!
If you want even more creative landscaping and outdoor area inspiration like pergolas, patios and more, I recently did a post here that’s loaded with creative ideas.
Thanks for stopping by friends!
** Affiliate links used in this post. If an affiliate link is used, it is identified next to link.
LZ Cathcart@ The Summery Umbrella says
Umm… yes! I would like one of each, and pronto please. 😉 But in all seriousness, this is an absolutely AMAZING collection. Can you even imagine having all of this goodness in one yard? I wouldn’t leave. I’d just stay outside all day with a few drinks. . . whether it was 5 o’clock or not. Lol.
Meg Lund says
I love the idea of using stackable stones or pavers to add to your home’s landscape. You show a picture of a double layer of stones that add a layer of space to add flowers and shrubbery. It looks beautiful, and really does add interest to the yard. Thanks for sharing!
These are some gorgeous ideas! I really like the stone steps and outdoor fireplaces. Just imagine having a bunch of friends or family over for a summer barbeque and enjoying a cool breeze.
Awesome post! Definitely some amazing ideas. Love the large stones and outdoor fireplaces. Using flower pots and urns to fill with ice and drinks id also a fabulous idea. Thanks for sharing!
I bought that same potting bench to be able to paint it.can you share how you painted yours?