Small Ideas for Big Backyard Transformations

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Sometimes, small outdoor design ideas are all you need to make a big impact in the backyard. A modern lantern, a new chair, or relaxing hammocks are some great add-ons to make you move outdoors in style. And create the perfect atmosphere. There is no doubt that there are myriad things you can do to upgrade the garden. Landscape architecture has nearly no limits. From planting trees to adding a wooden deck and creating pathways with interlocking pavers, you can engage in all sorts of projects to make the outdoor environment fascinating. But we are not talking about big projects here. As long as you have a neat yard, the key to making it more welcoming is to grab the best exterior design ideas and bring them outdoors.

Smart deck makeovers

rocking chair

Let’s assume you have an outdoor decking. Apart from the usual maintenance, you can also consider upgrades to transform entirely the area. How about changing the color? There is no doubt that the dark reddish color of ipe decks is extremely attractive. But not all decks are made of ipe and the initial beautiful color fades over the years. If it’s time to stain it, think if you would prefer to paint the deck green. It will fit perfectly in the natural surroundings. Blue tones are lovely too. Although black is everyone’s favorite hue, it might be overpowering if the deck surface is large. Go with gray. It looks lovely. Our advice? Choose colors based on two factors.

  1. The surroundings. Do you have a rather colorful yard? Prefer darker hues for the deck. Is your garden rather dull or covered with greenery only? Prefer vibrant hues.
  2. Find a color that will pair nicely with the indoor flooring. After all, the deck is the extension of your living room or kitchen. When you select a similar hue, you create continuity and your space will look bigger.

Expand the sitting area

One thing you don’t want to do is to clutter the sitting area with furniture whether you have a deck or not. Some of the greatest design ideas for small outdoor spaces is to create a faux sitting area. That’s by placing an outdoor rug and creating shade with a white canopy or umbrella. Speaking of shade, if you plan bigger projects, check out pergola options. They are some of the best add-ons, especially if you already have a deck or intend to install one.


Create privacy

One of the most annoying things, when you are trying to relax outdoors, is to have people looking at you. Or being compelled to talk to neighbors just because they see you sitting doing nothing. As if we don’t deserve some alone (and doing nothing) moments! If you can afford it, get a fence. Another alternative is to plant tall trees that will serve the purpose of a fence. A frugal solution is to get a bamboo screen. If you have a canopy, you can hang outdoor curtains and thus kill two birds with one stone: increase privacy and make the outdoor sitting area more inviting.

Get outdoor rugs

You won’t believe how many outdoor rugs there are available on the market. You can find outdoor rugs in all sorts of styles, sizes, and patterns. There are recycled plastic options, which are ideal for those of you seeking mold resistant solutions for the patio. If you prefer the soft feeling of real & thick piles, you can get handmade or machine made outdoor rugs too. They look great on any surface. And don’t forget that a new door mat is always useful – you don’t want to bring mud in the living room floor. Do you?

Decorate your outdoor area with plants

I know. It sounds silly to suggest outdoor decorations with plants! But you cannot believe the difference colorful flowers make when you place pots on the deck or patio. Even if you have a beautiful landscape with trees, shrubs, and flower beds, deck flowers will beautify the outdoor living room. Create your own stairway to heaven by placing flower pots to define the steps. They will also act as guard rails.

Treat yourself to new furniture

Are you planning to get garden furniture this year? Time to start checking out ideas and options. There are all sorts of products out there. You can really create a whole new outdoor dining room and living room. The materials range from wood and metal to glass. The styles range from modern to traditional. One thing you should consider before you buy new outdoor furniture is how space you’ve got. Don’t clutter the sitting area in your garden. You need to leave pathways, enough room for the kids to play, or even space for a few tango steps with your better half. Okay, you get the idea. Don’t make your patio or deck too busy. Think about balance the same way you would think about your living room. You need furniture that will meet your personal needs based on your activities and hobbies. Some of your choices?


They are lovely, come out in all sorts of materials and styles, and don’t occupy too much space.



Who can resist? They scream relaxation. Don’t you have the space for a hammock? How about a swing chair? Or a rocking chair? Which product will offer more pleasure than anything that swings! Just picture you sitting in a hanging swinging chair (Emmanuelle style without the nudity) and think about it.

Where are you going without a chaise?

There is no relax time without a chaise! Get it with cushions and prepare for some unforgettable naps. Get them in neutral colors to create a serene atmosphere. Choose turquoise fabrics to bring a summery look to the yard. Prefer orange cushions to make the environment cheerful.


Bars, not just for drinks

Outdoor bars are excellent ideas for small outdoor spaces, where large tables and ten chairs will simply not fit. Or will just clutter the space. They are also ideal for those who seek simpler solutions and dislike the traditional dining sets or live alone but still want a small area to eat dinner outdoors.


Dinner for the whole family? Get a set

If you enjoy outdoor dinners, get a set. The most elegant dining sets are made of bamboo. The trendiest ones are made of wood. Although they belong to the same family, their appearance is different. And no matter how traditional wood is, it is far more beautiful than metal. Since maintenance is always an issue with garden furniture, be sure to get dining sets of good materials which are designed for the outdoors.


Sofa sets

If you love sets, get sofas and chairs too. Patio furniture is available in all types and finishes. Keep one thing in mind: their size. They must fit. You want the porch cozy but comfortable too. You don’t want to push the chair to reach the sofa. So avoid oversized sofas or whole sets if your space is rather limited. In this case, settle with a couple of comfy chairs. On the other hand, don’t sacrifice size if you have plenty of space. With a large deck or porch, you have the opportunity of having a large sofa set that will host many people – that’s if you have a large family or guests over often.


Want to get chairs independently?


We are in favor of this choice because it gives you the freedom to choose the chairs and/or sofas you want. Don’t forget that sets are easier to get – you simply pick & buy. But they are kind of passé.

Food for thought before you choose outdoor chairs

  • Measure to avoid overcrowding the patio.
  • Choose chairs based on your needs. If you need dining chairs, they shouldn’t be too high or low. They shouldn’t be too wide or narrow either. If you want to get chairs to sit and relax, avoid narrow ones. Think comfort. But if there are aged people in the home, don’t get them too low.
  • Prefer resistant materials – plastic, aluminum, PVC.
  • If you insist on getting wood, get sturdy chairs and more resistant species – like cedar, redwood, or teak.
  • Invest in color but don’t overdo it. You don’t want the patio turned into a circus. Choose one main color or variations of the same hue family and add accent chairs in any color. Alternatively, add colored cushions and/or fabrics.

Speaking of fabrics…if you already have furniture but the fabrics are old, perhaps it’s time to get new ones.

Thumbs up for new fabrics

It’s the cost-effective solution for quick outdoor renovations. Although the furniture will remain the same, the patio will look entirely different if you just change the fabrics. Choose a different color than the existing one to create a new environment. Blue & white is one of the best color combos. Stick to white if you like serenity. Stick to one color if you like the idea of having colored cushions.

And one more thing: prefer fabrics made for outdoor use. They dry easier and are far more resilient to UV rays. In other words, their color won’t fade easily. Make sure they can be easily unzipped for fast replacement and cleaning.

Light up the garden

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No backyard transformation is complete without the right lighting fixtures. This category is actually huge and so let us focus on three main points.

  • Outdoor lights, which will help you read, walk, eat, and do anything you like but standing in the dark. Not all light bulbs emit the same kind of light and the fixtures you choose will also have an impact on light emission. In order to choose the right outdoor lights, consider the size of the patio or landscape. Larger spaces need more lighting fixtures. And then again, you will need lights on the deck stairs and walkways.
  • Decorative lights will play a great role in creating the ideal outdoor environment. You can get pendants but don’t forget the convenience of lanterns. They are portable and available in all styles and sizes.
  • Although they don’t actually belong in the outdoor lighting section, pits will still brighten up the deck. The main thing though is that they can keep you warm if it gets chilly or like to spend time outdoors before the summer comes.

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When it comes to backyard transformations, the idea is not only to tame the landscape but turn it into a tranquil and comfortable environment where you can relax in the company of others or alone. There are all sorts of things you can do but since not all exterior home décor ideas are ideal for all backyards, consider the requirements of yours and start planning. The summer is almost here.


Alexia studied sociology at Essex University and did postgraduate studies at Sussex University in the media field. In Greece she worked for many years in printed and electronic media. She has written and illustrated the children's book "Little Bobby Steps Into the World", which is available on Amazon. Today she is spending endless hours with, regularly writes articles for websites in America and Europe, and is a top rated content writer on Upwork. Alexia has always been interested in interior design and has written relative content over the years.

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