30 Best Backyard Makeover Ideas

No matter how much you love your backyard, you’ve probably thought about making improvements.

Maybe that means adding a garden, or converting the garden space into a pool, changing the design of your backyard or implementing a new landscape plan. 

Or maybe you don’t know exactly what you want, but you know you want a backyard makeover, something to turn a bland space into an extension of your home. You don’t want to spend much, or you have enough budget for a major project. 

You’re looking for backyard ideas to suit your needs.

We’re here to help! Our 30 Best Backyard Makeover Ideas fit the needs of every size and shape of yard and budget. Read on to decide what features you might want to add to your backyard.

There are countless aspects of your backyard that you can reshape that will transform your space on any budget:

  • Adding a Deck or Patio.
  • Installing Lighting.
  • Investing in a Pool.
  • Placing a Trellis.
  • Putting in a Water Feature.
  • Upgrading your Furniture.
  • Adding a Shade.
  • Building an Outdoor Kitchen.
  • Putting in a Firepit
  • And lots more!

Add a Deck or Patio

One of the most popular backyard makeover ideas is adding a deck or patio. The ideas for designing this type of addition are endless. From multi-tiered decks to a small patio in a small yard, to backyard walkway ideas that connect two patios, there’s a lot you can do with this common backyard makeover idea. Add visual appeal with mixed stones for a patio [Link to Brick Patio Ideas article] rather than the standard pavers

Patio Chairs

Install Lighting

The top choice among simple backyard ideas is the addition of lighting [Link to Patio Lighting Ideas article]. Consider a simple set of string lights across a fire pit area, or built-in patio lighting, or lanterns on side tables. Once again, this is typical and often DIY worthy among backyard ideas. 

Now, let’s dig deeper into some more creative backyard ideas, to make your space uniquely yours.

Lights in backyard

Invest in a Pool

One of the most popular backyard makeover ideas is adding a deck or patio. The ideas for designing this type of addition are endless. From multi-tiered decks to a small patio in a small yard, to backyard walkway ideas that connect two patios, there’s a lot you can do with this common backyard makeover idea. Add visual appeal with mixed stones for a patio [Link to Brick Patio Ideas article] rather than the standard pavers

Hand-Pick a Hot Tub

If you prefer to relax in warmth rather than swim laps, or you have a smaller yard, then a hot tub can be a year-round treasure in the backyard. Build a shade structure around it, or a deck that sits level to it, to make the space extra special.

Hot tub in backyard

Dig a Garden

Those who love to garden find relaxation in working with the soil, so a garden is a welcome addition to the backyard if you have a green thumb. A vegetable garden, flower garden, or flower beds against a fence are all backyard ideas for those who find joy in growing [Link to ideas for indoor gardens article].

Backyard garden

Place a Trellis

A trellis can create an entrance to your garden, while expanding the growing space for plants that like to climb. You can build your own as an easy DIY backyard project. Then plant climbing roses, vines, grapes or even grow vegetables like cucumbers on either side of the trellis.

Backyard Trellis

Add Above-Ground Planters

If a garden on the ground is difficult for you to manage, above-ground planters are a beautiful way to bring greenery to your backyard. Small planters on a small deck make the most of the space, and raised garden planters make it easy to grow vegetables.

above ground planters

Pick Perennials with Pop

Simple backyard ideas that add color include the addition of flowers. And if you’re planting a flower garden, then opt for perennials in bright colors. Perennials have the benefit of bringing a colorful mood to your yard year after year, without the work of planting each season. Or put in a rhubarb plant, which is both interesting looking and provides the base for some delicious desserts! For a backyard idea on a budget, arrange for a neighborhood swap of perennial shoots.

Perennial plants

Don’t Forget Pots

Small spaces in particular can benefit from the addition of greenery in pots, like the placement of a few flower pots on the ground or succulent pots on tables. Even in larger backyards, flower pots add beauty and allow you to move them to a different location if necessary.

Plants in pots

Make Your Own Unique Feature

There are a lot of interesting DIY features, including backyard walkway ideas that you can create yourself. For instance, you can cast your own stepping stones with a large leaf, like one from that rhubarb plant, using quick-mix concrete. A stepping stone that looks like a leaf is a conversation starter in your yard or garden

Stepping stones with leaf patterns

Put in a Water Feature

There’s nothing like the sound of water to soothe and relax, so a water feature [Link to a guide to water features article] can turn a regular space into a backyard sanctuary. Whether you choose a pond or a fountain, or both, there are water features available in every size and style. A small fountain can be included in a small yard, and even a bird bath or small water feature on the patio can bring joy to the bird lover.

Small backyard pond with waterfall

Add Shade

If you have a lot of sun and heat in your yard, then the addition of a shade feature can make it possible to get more use out of your space. A pergola is a handsome structure added to a deck or over a patio. A privacy shade on a balcony can do double duty as a shade provider. Even a good quality umbrella goes a long way to making your space more livable in hot summer months.

Upgrade your furniture

If you’re currently sitting on folding chairs around a plastic table, then up your game by investing in furniture that turns your patio into a pseudo living room. Couches, lounging chairs and fire tables are all possible additions to your backyard space, and will make it difficult to leave the yard at the end of the day.

Furniture in backyard

Make It Multi-Use

If you’re designing your deck space, consider additions that serve multiple purposes. For instance, a bench with removable cushions can double as a place to keep the cushions by building in storage space below. Or, the kids can store their toys underneath the seating, keeping the deck clean when they’re done playing outside.

Multi-use deck

Build an Outdoor Kitchen

There are so many backyard grill ideas that will turn your patio into an entertainment space. Whether you’re cooking for the family or guests, you can add a grill to a small deck, or build a complete kitchen including a grill, sink and fridge. 

Outdoor kitchen

Include A Bar

You can also build in a bar for entertaining, with outdoor bar stools that creates a gathering spot for everyone in the backyard. You can do it yourself with cement blocks and lengths of decking, which can easily convert to a coffee table or dining table with different sizes of blocks.

Outdoor bar

Go Portable

Looking for small backyard ideas if you love to entertain? Or do you have a balcony that limits your space? Consider a portable bar, which allows you to store glasses, mix drinks, or serve appetizers. You can roll it in and out of the house, allowing you to free up space on a small deck if you aren’t entertaining. You can also use portable tables, stools that can be used as tables, and other portable furniture to add and subtract and make the most of your limited space.

Portable bar

Put In A Fire Pit

There’s nothing like sitting around a fire to finish off a perfect summer day. In cooler months, a fire pit [Link to 4 best fire pits article] can extend your time spent outside. Invite your friends for a marshmallow roast, or simply sit back and enjoy the crackling fire on your own. And your fire pit doesn’t have to be wood-burning. Natural gas and propane fire pits, fire tables, and smokeless fire pits are all options.

Backyard firepit

Hang a Hammock

Among the easiest cheap backyard ideas is the addition of a hammock. Perhaps you have two trees that are the ideal spot to hang this backyard oasis feature. But you can also purchase stand-alone hammocks that let you move this to the location of your choice, depending on the seasons, angle of the sun and more.

Stand alone hammock

Install a Play Structure or Tree House

If you’ve got kids, then a tree house or play structure is an excellent addition to the space. Get the family playing outside, and let mom and dad relax on the patio while the children are having fun. Just remember, when your kids’ friends find out about the outdoor addition, your backyard may become the most popular in the neighborhood.

Backyard Play structure

Create Distinct Spaces

By making discrete areas in your yard, you’ll create a backyard sanctuary for every type of activity. Place your dining table on the deck near the door, making it easy to carry food and dishes in and out of the house. Then make a backyard sitting area in the corner, where you can relax with a book. One of the easiest answers to the question – How can I decorate my patio on a budget? – is to add one feature that makes it stand out. For instance, a colorful outdoor area rug that delineates the dining area from the rest of the patio has a big impact without a big price tag. 

Backyard dining table and chairs

Transform Your Balcony

Don’t feel hampered just because you have a balcony or you’re looking for small backyard ideas. Even little areas [Link to ideas for a small deck article] can easily be turned into outdoor sanctuaries. Small planters, a comfortable lounging chair, and a folding dining table can all be added to a balcony or small yard to make the landscape more welcoming.

Flower pots on balcony

Make A Splash with an Outdoor Shower

If you’re looking for backyard pool ideas, the addition of an outdoor shower is a winner. It’s also great if you have a hot tub, a dog that needs regular cleaning after a vigorous walk, or you just like to make the most of warm weather by being outside as much as possible.

Outdoor shower

Incorporate Outdoor Games

Easy DIY backyard ideas include games areas, like a sandy lane for the family that loves horseshoes. That horseshoe pit can also be used for bocce ball. If you’re wondering, what are the fun things to do in your backyard? – you can also build a DIY cornhole or ladder golf game that can be played anywhere.

Mini golf course in backyard

Or for real conversation pieces (pun intended), the chess aficionado can make an outdoor chess and checkers patch with patio pavers and grass, and the golf lover can design a putting green. 

Giant chess set in backyard

Transform a Shed

If you have a structure sitting ignored, like an old garden shed, you can convert it into usable space with any number of backyard shed ideas. A gardener can add windows and shelves and transform it into a greenhouse. Or if it’s already a greenhouse, add furniture and turn it into a three-season sanctuary. Sit in the protected sunbeams on cool or windy days. Really creative backyard ideas include turning it into a “casita” or guest house, giving your company their own space where they can enjoy your backyard.


Backyard shed

Opt for a Xeriscape Design

If you don’t want the hassle of watering flowers or mowing a lawn, and would rather spend your time simply relaxing in your space, consider backyard landscaping ideas that incorporate a “xeriscape” design. This type of planning adds plants and flowers that are drought tolerant or require little to no watering, like cacti or succulents, along with stones, boulders, mulch and other attractive backyard garden ideas. This style of backyard is excellent if you live in hot, arid conditions, but can be incorporated in other climates as well, especially if you’re wondering – What can I use instead of grass in my backyard?

Backyard xeriscape

Add a Lawn

Maybe you don’t currently have a lawn and you’d like grass in your backyard. Or your lawn is boring and unappealing. Simple backyard ideas like cutting a curved flower bed on the edge of your lawn, or adding a curved walkway through the grass, will bring new life to the entire space.

Beautiful backyard lawn

Build a Fence

There are several reasons that a fence is a popular backyard project. Perhaps you’re looking to define your space, or you have children and want a play area for them. Or you’d like a privacy space for your balcony or patio, or as a way to hide utilities like an air conditioner. Fences come in a multitude of designs and sizes, and can be wood, composite or even vinyl. The fence you need will depend on its purpose as well as your budget. If you space the boards a bit wider than normal, you can reduce the cost of wood needed to build it.

Backyard fence

Spruce up Your Fence

If you’re looking for simple backyard ideas, then look no farther than making changes or adding to an existing fence. Backyard fence ideas include the addition of vertical, hanging gardens, or adding a trellis to a fence to grow a vine. You can paint a mural on your fence. Or a new coat of paint may be the best among backyard ideas on a budget, allowing you to transform your space without spending a lot of money.

Spruce fence

Remove a Feature

Backyard makeovers often start with the question: What should I put in my backyard? It’s easy to come up with additions to your backyard, or changes to architecture or landscaping. But what if your yard includes a feature you don’t like or you don’t use? For someone who travels or works long hours and simply wants to relax when they’re home, a garden can be a burden. The same is true of a lawn, which needs constant watering and mowing. One of the ideal backyard oasis ideas is to remove a feature that is a burden to your relaxation, turning that space into a true sanctuary.

A nice backyard

Sum and Substance

Everyone who loves to spend time in their backyard has considered a makeover of the space. Whether that means adding a new feature or transforming what’s there, our backyard ideas will help you determine the best way to get the most out of your yard.

There are backyard makeover ideas for every size of yard, for gardeners and swimmers, for small balconies, and for families who want to have more fun. 

However you spend your time in your backyard, our 30 best backyard makeover ideas will ensure you can spend as much time as possible in your backyard sanctuary.

About The Author

Ardith profile picture

Ardith Stephanson

Writer

Ardith Stephanson has a journalism degree and spent years having fun as a sports writer for a national newspaper. She has also worked in communications and marketing, ran a successful communications business, and is a national award-winner. These days, she prefers to focus solely on writing, and to spend a lot of time in her backyard, where her garden, the firepit, local birds and her bee barn keep her busy and entertained. She writes about her adventures at theardizan.com