35 Beautiful Backyards
Your backyard is your private retreat. Enhance it by adding touches that make it special: a water feature, comfy seating, lovely plant beds, even just a hammock. Here is some inspiration.
A koi pond says serenity when situated next to a seating area shaded by trees and multiple umbrellas in this Twin Cities backyard.
This table, created by an Iowa garden designer, reflects the designer's love of geometry. It's a rectangle and two cylinders, furniture distilled to its structural essence. The table's legs are hard-fired terra-cotta chimney flues and the top is built out of cedar four-by-fours and four-by-twos.
Screened patios extend your season outdoors and transition to patios. Plantings of hydrangeas echo the blues in the seating area and white of this Door County, Wisconsin, home.
Using a variety of natural materials like pea gravel, a Michigan homeowner carved a rectangular backyard into defined zones for entertaining, dining and sitting.
Make a splash
This classically designed fountain provides a decorative focal point-and soothing sound-for an Illinois garden.
The naturally lush setting was one of the attractions for the homeowners of this Lake Michigan cabin. They planted more trees, bushes and flowers on the half-acre property that was already blessed with towering pines.
This outdoor kitchen works hard so you don't have to. Stone stands up to the elements, and there is every appliance you could need to serve gourmet fare.
Up and away
Having just a sliver of yard in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood couldn't squash this homeowner's dreams for a stunning outdoor retreat. His solution? Escape to the roof.
Undulating beds of low-maintenance perennials give a finished look to your landscape and decrease yard chores. Wide green paths curve through this yard in Brown Deer, Wisconsin, a suburb of Milwaukee.
This homeowner in Columbus, Ohio, divided his 50x50-foot backyard-bookended by house and garage-into four outdoor rooms filled with amenities for relaxing or entertaining.Read more about this backyard.
A place to relax
Bamboo, a hammock and a koi pond offer a bit of the tropics-and an appealing place to relax-in this Kansas City yard.
An arbor supporting summer-blooming clematis and honeysuckle leads to a prairie garden in this Illinois backyard. Twig chairs and a sculpture made from old garden and farm implements add whimsy.
Connect home and nature
Architectural elements unite this covered patio to the home, as do the ceiling fan, chandeliers, upholstered furniture and fireplace. Brick and wood keep it tied to nature.
This sweet gazebo in a Grayslake, Illinois, yard adds whimsy via its color scheme and its gingerbread-type trim elements.
Any water feature adds beautiful sounds and movement to a yard. This Door County, Wisconsin, yard incorporates a waterfall into the pond and one leading to the stream. Using native rock around it blends it seamlessly into the landscape. Koi add a flash of color.
Pile on the amenities for a showstopper setting. Multiple seating areas, artistic touches, a pergola and a mix of textures combine to treat the senses in this Kansas City, Missouri, yard.
Dress up your shed
The back of a shed becomes a canvas for artists in this Janesville, Wisconsin, garden. What would you paint?
If your yard is shaded, use it to your advantage: Plant hostas like the ones lining this babbling brook in a Stillwater, Minnesota, yard.
A low bridge links two parts of this yard while also marking the transition from formal landscaping to a more natural look.
Create a vista
If your yard lacks a view, create one. Gazing balls and an arbor add special touches in this Wisconsin garden.
Warm the woods
Dense tree cover doesn't have to leave you in the cold. Pick a fire pit sized to warm a seating area in the shade. Ferns and hostas fill the shade with bright greenery.
Plant vertically for an eye-catching focal point in your yard. In this Door County, Wisconsin, garden, framed sedum and succulents make living art.
A stone fireplace and wood flooring and beams give this covered patio a rustic nature, but the wave recliner, nesting table and chair set, and carved chair say modern styling.
This tiny patio tucked into a yard provides seating for two, warmed by a diminutive fire pit in a Twin Cities backyard.
A dry stream bed-each stone selected and placed by the Illinois homeowner-is just one of many elements that make up this backyard Japanese garden. Read more about this garden.
With a living room, dining room and kitchen, outdoor living is just as comfy as it is indoors.
Create visual interest in your backyard just by choosing out-of-the-ordinary trees. The unusual shape of the Weeping Norway Spruce at right and the delicate Japanese maple at left draw attention in this Illinois garden.
This classically styled bench is both a practical and decorative accent in an Illinois back yard.
A Wisconsin homeowner constructed this sturdy arbor using cedar logs. The rustic design suits the country garden, which is on property that was once a Wisconsin dairy farm and cheese factory. The tall blue delphiniums are 'New Millennium' hybrids.
Step it up
Three wide steps transition from the yard to a wide deck featuring an area for conversation and one for dining. Note how accessories pull the house color onto the deck.
It's easy to relax when burbling fountains and chattering waterfalls supply the soundtrack. As nature's kinetic art, moving water is a surefire crowd-pleaser. You can DIY a fountain by adding a submersible pump to a ceramic pot or urn.
Surrounded by lush plantings, a table sits on pavers almost overgrown with greenery. Centerpieces of potted plants enhance the garden theme, and a fountain adds a burble. The combination creates the feel of an escape-no matter how close to neighbors.
Carve out a corner
With a drive running behind this home, the owners had to carve out privacy. Surrounded by planters and picket fence, the simple pad is fun and functional. Two tables, a buffet and a stunning light keep the party zone useful day into night.
Two tiers of function
These homeowners make the most of the space below their deck with seating, a hanging chair and curtains that close for privacy.
Placing a picnic table in a nook between planters makes for a shady dining area, and the planter walls guarantee privacy.