How to make your backyard beautiful (Inspiration, ideas and more)

Looking for ways to make your backyard look nice? Want to make it more welcoming? This article lists 6 low-cost ways to beautify your backyard for year-round enjoyment.

No doubt, like a lot of us, you’ve been spending more time at home than you used to. Maybe you’ve looked out at your backyard and thought: “Hmm...it could do with improvement.” But where to start?

To help, we’ve come up with the top 6 things you can do to take your backyard from basic to beautiful – without breaking the bank.

1. Clean up and clear the clutter

Ok, so it’s not the most fun job, but cleaning up is a great place to start when you want a nicer looking outdoor space.

Take a good hard look at your backyard or outdoor living area. Consider what you want to use it for and what you have to work with.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s working?
  • What’s not working?
  • What do I want to keep?
  • Is there anything that needs to be repaired, cleaned or replaced?

Tidy the garden, cut back overgrown bushes, get the water blaster out and clean the paths and outdoor furniture (taking care with timber), replace or remove any broken or worn furniture...you get the idea.

Take photos as you go so you can see the difference. Who knows, once that’s done you might not need to do anything else. But, if you can still see room for improvement - keep reading.

2. Get some good advice and a plan

We know this article is about low-cost ways to beautify your backyard – but trust us, sometimes a little money spent upfront for the right advice can pay off in the long run.

Before embarking on a backyard renovation, it’s worth getting some expert advice to help your outdoor space realise its potential.

A landscape designer or architect might cost a lot less than you think. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 for a site visit and verbal advice to $2,000+ for a detailed plan and design.

A skilled landscape designer can work within your budget and expectations to help you improve your backyard.

They can guide you through the process of figuring out what to do, draw up plans to keep you on track, help you choose the right plants for your climate and conditions, decide what layout and materials will work best for your lifestyle and tastes, and incorporate any extra features such as a spa pool, shade, heating and lighting.

To find the right professional, ask friends or neighbours for recommendations, put up a post on your local community Facebook® page or check out reviews online of local landscape design companies.

3. Get out the paintbrush or roller

There’s nothing like a new coat of paint or fresh staining to revamp your outdoor area and make it shine.

Staining or painting your fence or deck will not only make it look nicer, it will also help protect the timber from rot so it lasts longer.

Many paints and stains now also include products to repel moss and mould to keep them looking good for longer and reduce ongoing maintenance.

When looking at colour schemes - a good rule of thumb is to tie colours into your house or outdoor furnishings.

4. Create a focal point

A great way to make your backyard more welcoming and inviting is to create a focal point for lounging, entertaining or relaxing.

A pergola strung with lights, some quality shade and outdoor seating, or a designer fire pit can all add ambience to your garden, patio or on your deck.

If you’re on a budget, consider spending a little extra on one special piece of furniture or feature you'll use regularly and love for years to come.

For example, you can’t go past outdoor fire pits and fire tables to create a gathering place – afterall, not much attracts a crowd like the glow of a campfire. Learn more about outdoor fires and heating in this detailed article.

Finish your backyard with affordable accents like solar-powered string lights and comfortable pillows to complete your space.

5. Revitalise the garden with new plants

Just like your outdoor furniture – plants have a lifespan too, with some needing replacing sooner than others.

You may not need to replace the whole garden – you could just focus on an area you’d like to draw attention to and get more use out of. Do any plants look woody and past their prime? Have they outgrown the space? Could smaller shrubs work better?

What about a scented garden with fragrant plants like choisya ternata, star jasmine or the ever popular daphne, that will smell amazing on warm summer evenings?

Or you could fill your backyard flower beds with colorful perennials that come back year after year and you can watch bloom every spring.

Pots and planter boxes are a good solution for small spaces or for containing larger trees like figs or citrus.

Mass planting – where you plant just one or two types of plants in an area – is also a great option for high impact and low-maintenance gardening.

Of course, a garden doesn’t have to be ornamental. Edible plants in raised beds can double as a great design feature and healthy food source. Plant rows of bright, juicy cherry tomatoes or succulent buttercrunch lettuces for a garden attraction that's both tasteful and tasty!

If the idea of gardening makes you think “work”, you could reduce the amount of garden you have with weed matting, pavers, river stones or even artificial grass (trust us, it is a lot better than it used to be!).

If lack of time is a factor, consider hiring something for a few hours a week or even once a month, to take the pressure off.

6. Install a pergola or stylish outdoor umbrella

Shade is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make your backyard beautiful.

Luckily, you don’t have to wait five years for your trees to grow! There are some fantastic shade options out there from elegant pergolas to durable, stylish outdoor umbrellas.

Not only do they look great, but umbrellas and pergolas are also a practical way to protect yourself and your furnishings from harsh weather conditions including damaging UV rays.

Modern pergolas come in a variety of sizes, colours and materials. Gone are the high-maintenance wooden pergolas your parents might have had.

The best pergolas on the market today are made of durable, easy-care materials like powder-coated aluminium. Pergolas with automated electric louvres are becoming increasingly popular as they can open and shut with the press of a button.

If you want something more portable – you can’t go past a quality outdoor umbrella for making a statement in your backyard, patio or on the deck.

Look for umbrellas that are made to last with durable, weather resistant materials that are easy to open and close and be easily moved if needed. This article goes into more detail on the topic.

For extra impact, choose a brightly coloured umbrella that matches your furnishings and draws the eye to your lounge or dining area.

In summary

Having an outdoor space to enjoy, relax in and share with family and friends is one of life’s pleasures. So it’s worth investing in - whether through time or money.

Come spring when the flowers are out, the sun is warming up, the weather has improved and the nights are longer – you will appreciate the efforts you’ve made, as you’re putting your feet up and relaxing in your new improved backyard oasis.

For more inspiration and ideas, have a look at the product pages of our website where you’ll find a stylish range of outdoor fires, umbrellas and pergolas to add the ‘wow factor’ to your backyard, deck or patio.

You could also read this article which has a whole lot of great design ideas for people wanting to install a pool, spa or swim spa.

However you decide to make your backyard more beautiful, the main thing is that it makes you happy – after all this is your space. All the best with your planning!

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