When thinking of renovations and home upgrades, many people automatically think of the inside of their homes. Should I upgrade these cabinets? Change the tiles in the bathroom? What about a new colour scheme?
But one of the most overlooked and beneficial home upgrades doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual house. Fixing up your backyard is a great way to invest your time and a little bit of money.
Why? Well, a functional, well-designed backyard extends the living space of your home and can add 20-30% to your home’s value!
In addition to the financial benefits, a low maintenance and well-appointed backyard provides a place to relax, entertain, and dine. It could truly become a getaway without having to pack an overnight bag.
And any backyard can be upgraded to a getaway spot!
Check out these ideas for small, medium and large backyards to give you some inspiration for your next, and greatest, home project – The Backyard!
If you live in a newer home, odds are you have a bigger house and a smaller yard. The average size of backyards in new developments is about 50 m2. And often, the space you’re given to play with is more like a thin rectangle and less like an easy to landscape square.
But, no worries!
If this is the situation with your backyard, try these ideas to make that space your own little oasis.
Use String Lights
Lighting can do wonders for any yard, but you don’t want to overdo it with a small backyard. It’s important that any lighting you add to your space serves to enhance the atmosphere, not flood it out.
That’s why string lights are perfect!
You can frame your backyard space, drape the lights over your privacy fence or yard plants, or bunch them in a wire or transparent bucket to add the perfect amount of ambiance to your space.
Install a Small Water Feature
Who says that water features are only for big backyards?!
You can – and should – incorporate a small water feature into your backyard living space. Water features can enhance the atmosphere of your small yard by adding a touch of tranquility.
Water features for small backyards can be as simple as a birdbath that reflects your personal style, or can be as elaborate as a water-wall that provides soothing sounds and an impressive visual for day or nighttime.
While you can certainly buy a water-wall for around $1,500, why not make your own? You can get the step-by-step instructions from here.
Most people don’t have the option to increase the size of their backyards. But that can’t stop you from adding some depth to your outdoor space.
The same design trick that works indoors for adding depth, also works miracles outdoors – mirrors!
Adding mirrors to your small yard will make it seem larger and can even add some reflective light.
A well-placed antique or aged looking mirror will add character to your yard and can serve as a showpiece when surrounded by potted plants. Or, a window pane mirror can give your yard the appearance of having a window into a secret garden and will certainly add a bit of mystery and fantasy to your outdoor space!
Level It Up
Consider splitting one level into two. A step-up won’t create more space, but it will often feel that way. It can transform one flat, small looking space into 2 different spaces – adding greater depth and interest to the yard.
You can even create a few different levels – but stick to just two if your yard is on the smaller of small.
Medium backyards are usually around 100 m2 and give you quite a bit of space to work with. However, some people might feel overwhelmed with a medium-sized space. Too big for cute small backyard ideas, but too small for a grandiose large backyard style.
Fear not! Try these ideas to get you on track with your medium sized backyard planning!
Create a Beach
Leaning on a beach theme for your medium-sized backyard is a great way to create a vacation escape without really leaving your house!
To create a beach look, you can build a fire pit surrounded by sand and casual seating (think big rocks or seating made from reclaimed wood). Tiki torches are always great additions to this theme, as are:
- Seashell bowls and vases
- A hammock
- Succulent gardens
Let your imagination run wild as you bring your favourite beach destination to your own backyard!
Build a Dining Room Escape
A medium sized yard will give you the flexibility to host larger dining parties outside. Take advantage!
Consider the shape of your space. If it’s square, a circular or large square outdoor table could work well. If it’s a rectangle, select a long rectangular table to include in your space.
Make sure to add potted plants or shrubbery to frame the table and add décor and ambiance. You can also choose table settings and decorations that fit any theme of your choosing: coastal, elegant, nautical, spring-time flower bonanza!
Add a Wildflower Walkway
Adding a walkway to your medium-sized backyard can add complexity, depth, and give it a park-like feel. Plus, there is so much variation in walkway designs and materials that you can really show your personality and creativity in your arrangement.
You can wind walkways out of wood, concrete, brick, stone, and even river rocks and glass pebbles.
Have your walkway lead to an entrance to your yard or to a small sitting space for reading or drinking tea.
And don’t forget about the flowers! Make sure to line your walkway with a colourful assortment of flowers and blooming shrubbery to add to the natural and majestic feel of your path and yard!
Larger backyards provide a lot of flexibility and countless options. But with all that space, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with where to start.
Try these ideas!
Build a Deck
Decks are a wonderful addition to your yard, if you have the space! They provide an attractive and functional area to entertain and provide some separation between different areas of the yard.
If you’re feeling handy, building a deck could be fun weekend project with plenty of room for customisation. If not, contracting a professional to build your deck is also an option, though it can get pricey. So, make sure you choose the right materials, size, shape, and complexity to suit your backyard needs and budget.
Add a Pond
As previously stated, water features are a great addition to any yard. And when you have a large backyard, you can add larger and more amazing water features!
Consider a pond. Ponds can turn even the most introverted indoor person into someone who enjoys the sounds and sights of the outdoors. Think of enjoying your morning tea or evening wine while gazing at colourful fish and a gentle waterfall or fountain. You’re feeling more relaxed already, right?
You can install ponds of various shapes, sizes, and depths. If you like, your pond can also include a small waterfall or centre fountain to keep the water rotating while sending tranquil sounds of gentle running water through your backyard.
And you can add fish! Fish are great additions to a backyard pond because, not only are they beautiful, but they will keep your water from becoming cloudy, are low maintenance, and your guests will be amazed by them!
Typically, people use Koi or goldfish in their ponds, but there are so many beautiful fish options to choose from:
- White Cloud Mountain Minnow
All make excellent pond fish.
So, get creative and put that large backyard to good, and eco-friendly, use!
Construct a Gazebo
Gazebos provide so much backyard flexibility. Here’s why you need one:
- They provide shelter from the heat and allow a cool breeze to flow through.
- You can still enjoy your yard in the rain.
- They are perfect for entertaining guests.
- They cast a romantic setting for an intimate dinner.
In addition to all that, gazebos are relatively easy to install, come in a variety of materials, and allow you to include special add-ons, like spa enclosures or glass windows!
And they look beautifully elegant and can be accented with flowers, shrubbery, or other yard décor.
After deciding to include a gazebo in your yard, don’t forget to plan your winding, wildflower walkway to guide guests to your new backyard destination!
Plant a Vegetable Garden
A well-planned vegetable garden will be worth the effort in your large backyard. Not only do these additions provide fresh vegetables from spring into fall (and sometimes even through the off-seasons), but they’re also sure to spark conversation among your guests.
Make sure to plant your vegetable garden in a place that is well lit and watered.
The types of vegetables you decide to grow are up to you and the options are endless! You can also include fruit plants – maybe even a fruit tree or two!
Are you renovating your yard in hopes of increasing your home’s value or selling? Try our free comparison service to compare rates and potentially save. You may also be interested in checking our top 10 favourite online tools to get a snapshot of your home’s current value.