10 backyard ideas to try this summer

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Gorgeous Gardens Modern garden
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Nobody ever said that owning a home is easy, especially if said home comes with a great yard to manage. Extra time and costs for maintenance are vital to ensure that yard remains clean, neat and stylish, and even more so if you use your back yard for entertaining and socialising. 

But what are your options when it comes to backyard ideas? And how do you approach a lawn, garden, courtyard, balcony, or other space that makes up your back yard?

We’re glad you asked…

1. Backyard ideas for summer: Plant something

roof garden with timber deck Human Voice Architects Modern balcony, veranda & terrace
Human Voice Architects

roof garden with timber deck

Human Voice Architects

Want your yard to grab attention? Then make sure it’s full of life! Plant some shrubs on the edges, add tall bushes to frame your doorway, opt for perennials which can bloom for multiple seasons, etc. 

And don’t think that high-rise surfaces, like balconies, can’t enjoy a lush look. Just see this exquisite example which takes gardening to a new level – literally! 

2. Backyard ideas for summer: Add a water feature

We definitely recommend getting the professionals, like Landscape Architects, in for this option, as adding a pond (or fountain, or bird bath… ) involves much more than just digging, installing, and filling.  

Just take into account the style of your house (i.e. modern with sharp edges, colonial with a vintage look… ) before adding a water feature, as both designs need to complement one another. Over time, and as you get more of a budget for gardening, you can add surrounding flowers, fish, etc. 

3. Backyard ideas for summer: Find a focal point

Just like your living room, bedroom, and any other interior space, your back yard must also have a focal point. That may be anything from a sculpture or stunning plants to a covered pergola complete with seating space. 

Think about how you plan on using your back yard (entertaining, relaxing, etc.), take into account the available space (and budget, of course), and let that guide you. 

4. Backyard ideas for summer: Focus on scale and pacing

Proper scale and pacing will give your yard a pulled-together look, whether you are planning a fire pit, a seating area, or even just some potters. But that doesn’t mean that everything needs to be identical in size and style. 

By all means, go for variations in size, shape, and colour, as variety is the spice of life. The importance is finding a good balance between repetition and new elements. 

And don’t overlook the importance of legroom for comfortable movement – even the most sublime outdoor seating area, for instance, will be a design fail if it doesn’t allow people to properly move about or around it. 

5. Backyard ideas for summer: Emphasise edges

It’s all about the tiny details, and when it comes to backyard ideas, the tiny details are present in the areas between your lawn and garden beds, your sidewalks, along the driveways, etc. 

Think about how some stones or bricks can ensure a neat, man-made edge between the harder surfaces (i.e. pathways) and softer spaces (plant life) in your yard. 

6. Backyard ideas for summer: Think about location

Think about how the sun, shadow, wind and rain move in your garden. A patio on the west side of your home might sound dreamy, but remember that it will get lots of afternoon sun. And what about those whistling winds that can extinguish your fire pit? These are some of the most common blunders encountered when it comes to garden- and yard designs.

7. Backyard ideas for summer: Add an old bench

Thanks to yard sales and antique shops, it’s not too tricky getting an old bench to spruce up a yard or garden. Give it a new look by sanding out the rough edges and splashing some new paint onto it. Then, just place it under a tree (or next to that water feature you’re planning) to ensure a comfy, stylish seating spot in your styled-up yard. 

8. Backyard ideas for summer: Go vertical

Green walls and vertical gardens are considered trendy, which is great news for those of us with small yards and gardens. All you basically need is a few floating shelves, potters, and a dedication to outdoor beauty!

Complete that new vertical garden with some trinkets and outdoor accessories.

9. Backyard ideas for summer: Trim some stuff

contemporary rustic coastal courtyard homify Rustic style garden

contemporary rustic coastal courtyard


Trees, bushes, and plants adding a lush look to a yard is one thing, but an overgrown garden is something else. So, trim those branches that come too close to your or your neighbour’s house / fence, keep the hedges at a consistent height, cut away any vines creeping over walls, and commit to regularly sweeping porches and patios. 

10. Backyard ideas for summer: Power wash / paint your house

Not much to add to your yard? Then how about enhancing your house’s exterior façade to complement your garden? After all, a beautiful yard won’t mean much if it shares its space with a drab and dirty structure. 

Banish stained / discoloured vinyl siding, dingy brick and stone walls, and grimy roofs with a decent gas-powered power washer, especially after heavy rains and storms. Doing this a few times a year can go a long way to keeping your house (and, thus, yard and garden) looking good as new.

And don’t get us started on what a brand-new paint job can do to your home’s exterior look!

Want more inspiration for outdoor socialising? Then see these 7 ideas to transform your backyard into a super braai space

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