In the U.S., there are almost 70 million detached single-family homes. If you live in one of them, you’re probably wondering what to do to keep your yard looking fresh. We’re here to help!

We understand the importance of having a yard that makes you feel inspired and happy every time you look at it. Even when the weather’s bad, just looking out at the yard of your dreams can lift your spirits. But when you feel like your home’s stuck in a rut, it can take a little inspiration to shake it up.

In this guide, we’ve put together a list of the modern backyard designs that are making us feel inspired right now. Keep reading to find the design that will spruce up your home this year!

1. Add Some Water

Science says that being near water actually affects us in a positive way. And you don’t have to book regular beach vacations to reap these benefits — you can simply add a water feature to your backyard.

Still or running water adds a sense of peacefulness to your yard, and these designs work well with every home style. While you have lots of water feature options, one of our current favorites is a water fountain. It adds a steady stream of white noise that can help any yard feel more peaceful, even one that’s near a busy street.

2. Evoke the Sea

Modern Backyard Ideas

Whether you add water features or not, yard designs that evoke a seaside resort always work nicely. 

With these designs, you can feel like you’re on vacation every time you step outside. To get the look, try resort-inspired elements like lounge chairs and weathered wood. Add plenty of plants to highlight the natural, relaxed vibe.

An umbrella will protect you from the sun and other elements, while leafy flowering plants can suggest a tropical vibe no matter where you are. Now all you need is a drink with a little umbrella inside!

3. Build a Firepit

Modern Backyard Ideas

Sitting around a personal fire always feel luxurious. However, this kind of luxury is also affordable and accessible for everyone who has a backyard to work with.

Your firepit can range from simple to elaborate. We like a basic stone design or tabletop firepit if you’re on a budget, but you can get as creative and customized as you want. Standalone seating looks nice, but if it’s not yet in your budget, try putting the firepit close enough to the edge of your deck so you can simply sit there.

4. Mix Soft With Hard

Tropical landscape parkland

Your backyard doesn’t have to be all grass and flowers. Some of the best designs mix textures for a yard that looks great and stays usable in all kinds of elements.

For example, after a hard rain the grass might be hiding a few inches of squishy mud, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy your yard. You simply need some “hardscape” elements like walkways and patios to walk on.

Mixing landscape and “hardscape” design also makes your yard look more luxe. It’s the perfect way to sync indoor and outdoor, so you’re actually growing your living space by extending it into the yard.

5. Light It Up

garden design

Lighting is one of the top ways to make any yard design more welcoming.

One of our favorite lighting techniques in a modern backyard involves using dreamy individual lights to create a fairyland right at home. Try installing strings of hanging lanterns, individuals spotlights, and other small sources of soft lighting to get the look. 

6. Go Vertical

Modern Backyard Ideas

Love the idea of gardening, but short on space? Many modern backyard designs now incorporate vertical gardens so you can grow up, not out.

Vertical gardens can come in all kinds of different styles. You can cover one wall of your home in drapey flowering vines, or install a small herb garden on a standalone wall in your yard.

No matter which vertical garden style you choose, you’ll get a chic look at the chance to grow new plants without sacrificing precious space. Even if you do have lots of room, you might still choose a vertical garden for the trendy look it gives.

7. Sync Elements With Gravel

rock landscape design

Gravel is no longer just the practical stuff of rural driveways. Instead, today’s gravel garden ideas can beautifully sync up “hardscape” and “softscape” elements.

For example, you could use a gravel pathway to connect a stone patio with your garden. Gravel can help fill spaces that are hard to maintain, so your yard looks nice with less frequent weeding. Try gravel to create a simple patio space, surround a firepit, or contrast with lawn and garden spaces.

8. Install an Arbor


If you’re an Instagram aficionado or a Pinterest perfectionist, you’ll love the photo-ready look offered by an arbor. Even if you’re not taking selfies under the arch, you can still appreciate the classic beauty an arbor adds to any yard.

These classic landscape features never go out of style. They also provide a nice way to mark off the distinction between yard and sidewalk, or front yard and backyard. 

9. Add Rooms to Your Home

pool designs

With the right landscaping design, your backyard can become like another “room” of your home — or even add several more rooms.

Using hardscapes, walls, hedges, and other techniques, you can mark off certain parts of your yard for certain purposes. Why not build your own outdoor dining area, meditation spot, and lounge space? It’s up to you how you divide up your yard, but with some creative designing, even a small space can have multiple purposes.

10. Build a Fabulous Pool

No budget to install your own backyard in-ground pool? No problem.

Today, some trendy homeowners are opting to use a large stock tank as a chic, rustic pool. They’re cheap and require virtually no installation work — just place it, fill it, and cool off (drink in hand optional). 

To turn your stock-tank pool into a private oasis, you can also elevate it by surrounding it with greenery or installing a wide, tropical umbrella over the top. 

Which of These Modern Backyard Designs Will You Choose?

Today’s modern backyard designs are more creative, innovative, and unique than ever before. No matter what vibe you want to feel in your backyard, we think you’ll find something to inspire you on this list.

Looking for the experts to help you execute the design? We can do it — check out some of our custom work here!