20 Inspiring Courtyard Design Ideas.BaoHa

Good landscaping ideas are crucial for taking a garden from drab to fab. Perhaps you’re working with a blank canvas or just want to make a few tweaks to your existing design. Either way, there are all kinds of things you can do to transform your space into the yard of your dreams.

And we’re not just talking about how it looks, although that, of course, is important. As with all good garden design ideas, the best landscaping solutions are practical, too, enabling you to use your space exactly how you wish. Think statement walls and screens for dividing zones, stretches of water as soothing focal points, stepping stone pathways, floating benches, and other stunning features. In fact, there are so many options it can be tricky to know where to begin.

We’re here to help with your makeover plan by bringing together plenty of looks for you to get inspired by.

1. ADD AN EYE-CATCHING PATH BETWEEN ZONES

path, raised beds and lawn in modern garden

This path connects a raised deck to a patio space

Garden paths tend to be a crucial factor in a landscaping design, leading the way from A to B. And there are plenty of ways to get creative with them – from the shape and form they take to the materials you use.

Think about the effect different types of paths will have on the way you move across your plot. A meandering, stepping stone pathway around flower beds feels relaxed and will encourage a sense of play, for instance. Meanwhile, a sleek, paved walkway with recessed lights is a practical solution for areas of heavy traffic – perfect as a front yard landscaping idea.

This example provides easy access to the raised beds and decked zone, without the need to walk on the lawn (handy for when it’s raining or frosty). It looks great too – we love the mix of timber sleepers and gravel with the smart stone edge. And tucking it to the side is a wise move – positioning a path right down the middle of your plot is a common landscaping mistake that is seldom practical.

2. COOL OFF WITH A POOL

modern garden with pool and lawn

A sleek pool fits in beautifully with this modern scheme

Have you ever considered bringing pool ideas into your plot? Whether you want to host the best parties in town or simply get in some more exercise, they’re a lovely addition to a garden when the weather warms. Add some loungers to the side and it’ll be your new favorite place to relax, guaranteed.

You can go for round shapes, square shapes, the classic kidney bean, or even a natural pool if you’re not too keen on chemicals (plus, due to all the planting, they look gorgeous all year round). This rectangular design, however, works well with the surrounding pool landscaping ideas, and ties in neatly with the lawn, clipped hedges, and sleek exterior of the home.

3. ADD A LUSH LAWN AND LINE WITH FLOWERS AND TREES

lawn with flowerbeds and trees

Add a gorgeous stretch of green to your outdoor space

A stretch of verdant lawn can be a lovely addition to a landscape design, and is perfect for summer picnics or for the kids to have a run-around.

Line it with colorful borders bursting with blooms for a beautiful display: there are lots of options when it comes to landscaping with flowers for prettifying a plot. Garden edging in between will keep things looking neat.

tropical style garden with decking and grill

Create a smart outdoor kitchen space with decking

A deck is a reliable way to create an outdoor extension of your living space, and can look stunning too.

Decks are perfect for grills, dining tables, potted plants (including herbs and veggies), and even hot tubs. While they’re traditionally made of wood, composite decks made of new synthetic materials are gaining popularity. It’s understandable – they’re much lower maintenance and they don’t splinter.

You can even utilize different levels in your decking – for a sunken seating space, for instance. But a deck doesn’t have to be multi-tiered if you don’t have space, of course. Single-tiered raised decking can create a flat and level dining area immediately outside the house or at the end of the garden, for instance.

5. KEEP IT CONTEMPORARY WITH A WRAPAROUND PATIO

modern exterior with wraparound patio

This scheme complements the exterior of the home perfectly

Bringing patio ideas into your landscaping scheme is a super practical choice, providing a stable base for all your outdoor living needs. And, the paving you pick can be a leading factor in your backyard design.

Choose a style that complements the exterior of your home for a harmonious look. Take this setup, for instance. It oozes a sense of industrial cool with its pared-down, concrete pavers, that wrap around the edge of the house leading to a small pool area. Sleek porcelain is another chic (and durable) paving idea for a modern result.

If you prefer a softer finish, natural stone in warm tones may be the way forward.

6. GO FOR LOW-MAINTENANCE GRAVEL

raised gravel garden in period property

Gravel can make the perfect ground cover for traditional plots

If you’re looking for an easy ground cover that’s affordable, too, landscaping with gravel is a fantastic approach. It’s simple to install and there’s none of the fuss of mowing that you’d get with a lawn. Plus, it’s good for garden drainage.

Gravel is also super versatile, complementing both modern plots and period properties, like the example above. What’s more, you can plant straight into it: there are all kinds of plants that will be right at home in their stony surroundings.

We like how this graveled space has been raised, providing additional interest to the layout of the garden. The rustic stone edging makes a lovely touch, and ties in beautifully with the traditional planters.

7. CREATE A HUB FOR ENTERTAINING

paving with patio and pool and outdoor kitchen area

This outdoor living space has everything needed for entertaining in style

If you love having guests over, it’s a good idea to add an outdoor entertaining space to your backyard landscaping ideas.

You can keep things as simple or as elaborate as you like. Perhaps a quiet patio with a dining table is all you need, or maybe an outdoor kitchen complete with plumbing and electricity, plus a lounge area with a fire pit, is more fitting.

For something along the lines of the latter option, take a look at this gorgeous patio which features a cozy fireplace and sleek outdoor bar. It’s the perfect setting for throwing an alfresco get-together with family and friends.

8. ADD TERRACES TO SLOPING PLOTS

tiered patio with seating

This setup by DMAR Interiors is contemporary and chic

Hilly yards can be a little trickier to landscape than flat ones, but with some good sloping garden ideas, you can still create your own personal oasis.

One of the best approaches is to bring in terraces, by leveling out different areas of your backyard and then connecting them with gently curving paths or smart steps. In this stunning plot, for example, a terrace with loungers sits downhill from the house.

Once you’ve added your levels, the options are almost endless: you can install everything from small pools to dining areas to fire pits, creating different ‘rooms’ as you go.

9. BUILD AN EASY-CARE DRY GARDEN

low maintenance gravel garden

Plenty of grasses and a meandering stream give this garden a naturalistic vibe

If you’re short on time, or live somewhere that’s consistently hot and dry, then consider using landscaping ideas to create a stylish dry garden.

Drought-tolerant plants are perfect for this sort of style and there are so many colors and textures to choose from. Landscaping with grasses is also a good approach to add airy height and form.

You might consider dotting larger stones or boulders about the scene, too – we’ve got lots of landscaping ideas with rocks in our guide.

10. SHELTER A SEATING SPOT WITH SCREENS

blue screen wall with dining setup and bamboo

This bright blue screen adds privacy and style

When you plan your garden layout, you may wish to make some areas more private than others with the help of screens. Plus, dividing a space up into separate zones in this way will make it feel more enticing to explore and can also make your plot seem bigger.

There are all kinds of garden screening ideas you can use – from dense planting and woven panels to trellises and walls – so pick one that will complement your theme. A bright blue wall is a great choice for this garden, adding an element of freshness and fun whilst keeping the dining space sheltered from the house beyond.

Painting an existing wall or fence a vibrant new shade is also a great option if you’re on the lookout for cheap landscaping ideas.

11. OR, ADD PRIVACY WITH PLANTING

espalier trees in garden by Consilium Hortus

A row of espalier trees in a garden designed by Consilium Hortus

Urban gardens tend to be a little overlooked, which is why good garden privacy ideas are a must-have for a more exclusive feel. But, if your plot is on the smaller side, a tall wall or fence on all four sides may make your outdoor space feel ‘boxed-in’ and claustrophobic. Opting for a leafy screen instead is a softer approach.

You can choose from a variety of plants, from dense evergreen arborvitae trees to quick-growing bamboo (there are lots of ideas in our best screening plants guide). Alternatively, pick hedging plants for a dense green screen, or, for an attractive option that takes up less floor space, plant a row of espaliered trees. White-barked varieties look particularly elegant – as demonstrated here – or opt for fruit trees to enjoy spring blossom and an autumn harvest.

Just make sure whatever you plant will thrive in your specific climate, and definitely take seasonality into consideration – if your trees drop their leaves in the fall, they might not do such a great job maintaining your privacy in the winter.

wooden decking with modern chair and tree

A modern decked scene spotted at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

If you’re contemplating decking ideas for your garden, you could consider going one step further and extending it to a surrounding fence, just like in this scene.

The result is a very modern ‘garden room’ that will feel sheltered and private – the perfect base for some statement outdoor furniture.

Add splashes of color with a selection of planters, or even an integrated tree for something a little more unusual. We love the sculptural shape of this acer and how it offers contrasting texture and vibrancy to its surroundings: a great example of landscaping with trees.

13. EXTEND YOUR LIVING SPACE WITH A COVERED PATIO

raised patio under veranda with hanging chair

With a setup like this, you can enjoy sitting outdoors even if it’s raining

Making the most of your outdoor space is easy if you have a cover installed, whether that’s a gazebo, awning, or simply a roof that’s built directly onto the side of your home. So, if you’re including a patio or deck in your landscaping scheme, it’s well worth considering a shelter overhead.

If you’re not strictly after shade, opt for a clear roof to keep the scene bright and light. Plus, that way you can look up and admire the blue sky, pattering rain, or the nighttime stars. And if it’s sturdy enough, you can utilize overhead beams when it comes to your furniture – a hanging chair is one of this year’s must-haves.

14. KEEP YOUR LANDSCAPING NATURAL

'Bodmin Jail: 60° East – A Garden between Continents' by Ekaterina Zasukhina with Carly Kershaw at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Creating a more naturalistic garden landscape is becoming an increasingly popular trend. And it’s not just good for wildlife – transforming your plot into your own private oasis, reminiscent of woodlands or mountains, is bound to soothe the soul.

Why not take inspiration from this gorgeous show garden spotted at RHS Chelsea Flower Show? You can recreate the vibe at home by landscaping with boulders, wilder pockets of planting, meandering pathways, and perhaps a waterfall.

timber overhead patio cover at Chelsea Flower Show 2021

There are tons of patio cover ideas to choose from for an outdoor space. But, with a little imagination and creativity (and, admittedly, a bit of a budget) they can become a permanent fixture in your garden that will elevate not only the overall look but also extend the time you spend outdoors, all year round.

This spectacular design was spotted at a Chelsea show garden. We love how the sleek hardwood canopy frames the view of the flower-filled space beyond, with the timber pleasingly contrasting against the paving and stone.

Benches offer ample space to sit, while integrated lights will illuminate the zone come nightfall. It’s a wonderful twist on a classic pergola.

16. ZONE YOUR PLOT WITH CLEAN LINES

modern garden with seating and garden building

Sleek materials give this plot a modern vibe

When planning a backyard makeover, take time to sit down and make a proper plan. And once you know the things you need to prioritize, you can begin organizing them into zones: a smart approach for larger yards.

We’re loving how this clever mid-height planter serves a multitude of purposes. Sure, its crisp white edges look great, adding to the plot’s modern look and complementing the architectural alliums. But it also helps to divide the space, separating the seating area from a lawn and garden building beyond. What’s more, it serves as a support for the floating benches, which offer a pared-back, zen-like feel.

The stepping stone pathway adds to the contemporary vibe, while drawing the eye down to the sleek deck. Don’t miss the paneled fence too, where more clean lines help to elongate the space.

17. COOL OFF WITH AN OUTDOOR SHOWER SPACE

outdoor shower

Outdoor shower ideas are growing in popularity – particularly in warmer regions. What could be better on a hot day than a cool rinse-off outdoors? And, of course, they’re handy for washing muddy boots or pets, too.

You don’t need acres of space to add one, as this setup shows. We’re loving the patterned tiles which add a fun flair, while plenty of surrounding foliage gives a spa-like vibe to the scene.

Got more space? Outdoor bathtub ideas are another, or additional, option for turning your plot into a serene sanctuary.

18. COOK ALFRESCO WITH A GORGEOUS GRILL STATION

outdoor kitchen by Grillo

A smart setup from Grillo

Building outdoor kitchen ideas into your landscaping plan is a brilliant approach for those who love to entertain. And nowadays, there are tons of styles to choose from, from sleek worktops to rustic pizza ovens that will instantly transport your patio to the Med.

Whatever type of setup you go for, the space will become the social hub of your home all throughout the summer months. And, you can enjoy cooking up all your favorite feasts in the fresh air – bliss.

19. MAKE YOUR GARDEN WALLS A FEATURE

large containers at Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Garden walls are a staple feature in landscaping ideas, dividing one zone to the next, screening off less-than-sightly views, and providing shelter for seating spaces or more tender plants. But, practical as they may be, walls can also be a stylish statement for your plot and help pull together a theme.

Take this design for instance, which brings a striking, contemporary backdrop to oversized containers brimming with plants. Living walls are another option – and are perfect for getting more greenery into a smaller space.

Or, how about a wall water feature? They are having a real moment right now in garden design and it’s easy to see why.

20. USE LANDSCAPING TO TRANSFORM AN URBAN TERRACE

urban roof terrace designed by Bowles & Wyer

This cool city garden was created by Bowles & Wyer

Even in a concrete jungle, you can create your own relaxing oasis. Take the above as an example.

Chic gray paving makes a striking contrast against softer strips of planting, which add an extra dose of visual interest. Meanwhile, the outdoor lighting around the steps elevates the look come nightfall (and is also handy for safety reasons).

The pergola offers a sense of privacy from above, and pairs beautifully with the wooden decking to create a retreat for alfresco dining.

21. MAKE A POND YOUR FOCAL POINT

'The Silent Pool Gin Garden', designed by David Neale for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

‘The Silent Pool Gin Garden’, designed by David Neale for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

garden pond is a landscaping feature that’s well worth introducing if you can. It will help attract wildlife, and the sight of water and aquatic plants will add another dimension of pleasure to your outdoor space.

If you have the room, you can dig out the pond and add a liner (our guide on how to build a garden pond will help you get started). Or, you can get pre-formed pond liners in a range of sizes if you prefer.

If you want to keep your pond looking modern, opt for angular shapes, like in the example above. Add a raised platform to show off an eye-catching sculpture – this one makes a fabulous finishing touch. A thin border of paving to the left of the water means that flower beds can still be accessed for maintenance.

22. ADD DETAIL TO WALKWAYS

planted walkway in garden by Bowles & Wyer

We love this planted walkway in a garden by Bowles & Wyer

For small gardens, every inch of space counts. And with clever landscaping ideas, you can make even your pathways feel intriguing.

This narrow walkway above incorporates a plethora of textures. The paneled wood flooring is horizontally aligned to make the space feel wider, while paved stepping stones add an element of playfulness.

Of course, the real show-stopping detail is the soft mounds of dense, ground-covering foliage. It’s a surprising feature that will bring delight to anyone who passes and is a great way to add interest.

23. ELEVATE THE VIEW

lighting across garden levels in plot by Bowles & Wyer

Another striking design from Bowles & Wyer

This countryside plot features different levels of planting, which can be viewed from the various levels of the property, explains the team at Bowles & Wyer.

It’s a brilliantly immersive design and will also keep the seating area at ground level sheltered from high winds. Don’t forget to factor in landscaping with lights when planning a new look for after-dark drama.

24. GO FOR WIDE PATHWAYS

pathway with lavender from Bowles & Wyer

Pretty lavender lines this pathway in a plot by Bowles & Wyer

Landscaping features aren’t reserved for uber-modern plots, as shown in this gorgeous country-style garden.

This wide, paved pathway creates a beautiful feature in itself, making the journey from zone to zone a delight, every time. Its soft, pale hue gives it a welcoming tone, whilst accentuating the prettily dappled shadows of the nearby row of trees.

Landscaping with lavender always has lovely results. Here, the path is lined with the robust and fragrant plants and we think it looks spectacular.

25. CREATE MODERN BACKDROPS FOR GARDEN FURNITURE

modern chairs on paving in garden designed by Lucy Wilcox Garden Design

Make a feature of your furniture, like in this garden by Lucy Wilcox Garden Design

Have you recently treated yourself to some stylish garden furniture? Creating a distinct backdrop behind your seating spot is a great way to show it off.

This cool gray color adds an urban edge whilst allowing the chairs to take center stage with their intricate woven design. What’s more, the difference in materials helps to distinguish the zone, giving the plot more structure and direction.

If you’re not a fan of gray, then you could pick something bold instead – try ochre yellow, raspberry pink, or cobalt blue, for example.

patterned floor tiles used on an outdoor patio

Patio flooring ideas don’t have to be plain. Adding a patterned design is an easy way to transform a small back garden that doesn’t have grass, or zone off part of a bigger plot.

Make sure any tiles you choose are suitable for outdoor areas – porcelain designs are usually your best bet. They need to withstand frost, be durable enough for garden life, and offer some level of slip resistance for added safety when wet.

27. BRING CURVES INTO YOUR LANDSCAPING

curved lawn in garden by bowles & wyer

Sweeping curves draw the eye in this garden by Bowles & Wyer

It’s easy to think in straight lines when it comes to garden landscaping, but introducing curves can soften the look.

There are plenty of opportunities to add curves: you could give your lawn a curving shape as seen in this garden, dig curved borders, or make a path meander rather than point straight ahead. Even the tops of fences could be curved rather than horizontal.

The team at Bowles & Wyer explain how a curved lawn was used for this London property to make the space feel more organic and flowing.

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