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52 Best Landscaping Ideas & Garden Designs

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52 Best landscaping ideas & designs for front & backyard garden, outdoor kitchen, patio, deck, hardscape, pergola, plants, lighting, DIY projects & more!

Before this blog took over, I was actually a landscape designer for over 10 years. Why did it take so long for me to finally write a (super long and detailed) post about garden design and landscaping, a topic I love so much?

landscaping ideas & designs for front & backyard garden, outdoor kitchen, patio, deck, hardscape, pergola, plants, lighting, & more!

There is so much to talk about when it comes to garden design and landscaping ideas. We will start with the most important basics on landscape layout and functional zones for outdoor living. Then we will look at garden design themes, styles, structures, plants, lighting, DIY ideas, as well as landscaping on slope, terrace and hillsides.

How to design outdoor rooms and landscape zones

How to design outdoor rooms and landscape zones

*Some resources in article are affiliate links. Full disclosure here.

This Chicago landscape design offers a great example of creating different functional zones of outdoor living with different plants and hardscape layout. The designers used cobbled brick, pergola trellis structures, landscape lighting, bluestone stepping stones, and plants to define the deck dining area,  fire pit patio lounging area,  and relaxing fountain garden.

Hardscape ideas to create outdoor living areas

Hardscape ideas to create outdoor living areas

Use hardscape materials thoughtfully to create sophisticated outdoor living spaces even in a small backyard. This garden has three distinct dwelling areas: pool, outdoor kitchen, and dining garden featuring a pea-gravel patio encircled by hydrangeas, cast stone table planters, and stepping stones. For more, check out these 58 inspiring outdoor patio design and decor ideas!

Shade structures landscaping ideas

Shade structures landscaping ideas

When it comes to landscape design, shade structures and patio covers are the roofs of an outdoor room. We have an entire article on our 12 favorite functional and beautiful shade structure ideas from simple DIY fabric canopy, to pergolas and shade sails.

Landscaping ideas for outdoor dining

Landscaping ideas for outdoor dining

This backyard before after offers great ideas on how to create a beautiful outdoor dining area surrounded by lush plantings, privacy fence, shade pergola, and outdoor fireplace.

Colorful and creative container garden ideas

Colorful and creative container garden ideas

One of the easiest ways to create beautiful landscape designs and outdoor spaces is to use container gardens. We have detailed designer plant lists for you to recreate these 24 mixed container gardens for sunny areas, and these 16 colorful container gardens for shade areas.

Don’t forget vegetable container gardens like these 35 ideas here can also be attractive and delicious too!

Boho garden design ideas

Boho garden design ideas

Create a little piece of paradise in your own backyard garden with relaxed boho style décor and global inspired furniture. This cozy patio is the perfect place to soak up the warm sunshine while dreaming about your far away next adventures.

Use trees to create magical outdoor rooms in a backyard

Use trees to create magical outdoor rooms in a backyard

When you have beautiful mature trees in the garden, it really doesn’t take much to create a magical outdoor room like in this small backyard. Just add a brick or paver patio, some fun colorful furniture and a happy hammock.

Garden paths landscaping ideas

Garden paths landscaping ideas

There are so many creative ways to design a garden pathway. Here we have an artistic garden path with stepping stones through the lawn.

We also have 25 best garden path ideas you can check out!

Use plants to create outdoor space

Use plants to create outdoor space

Landscaping doesn’t mean lots of construction work. You can create beautiful garden spaces easily with plants and / or pots grouped together like this.

Landscape edging ideas

Landscape edging ideas

Line your flower beds, walkways, lawn, and patio gardens with landscape edging to create defined barriers. You can use aluminum edging, bricks, stones, pavers, or even glass bottles used in creative ways.

Small backyard landscaping ideas with fence and privacy screen

Small backyard landscaping ideas with fence and privacy screen

One of the best landscaping ideas is to use wood fence or privacy screens to maximize usable space in a small backyard. This attractive and modern outdoor room is a great example of how to make a small garden feel bigger and spacious.

English garden design ideas

English garden design ideas

One of the most popular landscape design styles is the English garden, aka cottage garden, featuring lots of colorful foliage and flowers in a formal layout. This blue trellis bench with climbing roses function as a focal point and a peaceful place in the garden to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Landscape lighting ideas

Landscape lighting ideas

Lighting can make an outdoor space so much more usable and attractive. Landscape lights can be as simple as some solar path lights, and as fancy and an entire system of up-lights, down-lights, step lights, underwater lights and hanging lights.  We are sharing lots of ideas in these two articles: 28 DIY outdoor lighting ideas, and 10 garden landscape lighting design ideas.

Dining patio lighting

Dining patio lighting

In her cottage bungalow backyard makeover, Shavonda at SG Style blog really made a statement with the lighting by hanging a group of beautiful rattan lanterns above the outdoor dining table.

Pergola landscaping ideas

Pergola landscaping ideas 

A pergola is a landscape structure that instantly creates this inviting outdoor room. It also provides shade, and adds beauty to a front garden or backyard. You can also get creative by hanging lanterns or growing flowering vines on a pergola.

Here are 20+ beautiful and easy to grow flowering vines you can plant.

Design a beautiful garden gate

Design a beautiful garden gate

A beautiful garden gate defines the outdoor space and invites us to explore what is beyond. This modern farmhouse kitchen garden at Finding Lovely  is literally lovely with elegant gate, fence, and a sweet little shed.

Outdoor room landscaping ideas

Outdoor room landscaping ideas 

There are so many creative ideas we can learn from in this inviting outdoor room. I love the artistic mix of reclaimed wood, old windows, soft gravel paving, and rustic stone planters. The orange fabric canopy and bright green plants add happy pops of color to this relaxing backyard space.

Garden fountains and outdoor water features

Garden fountains and outdoor water features

Now that we explored landscape materials and structures, let’s look at the important elements of water in the garden. Water features such as fountains, bird baths, backyard ponds and waterfalls bring beauty and soothing sounds into an outdoor space. It can be as easy as this DIY solar fountain that takes just an hour to make.

Here are more DIY ponds and water feature ideas for you to explore.

Courtyard garden patio design with water feature

Courtyard garden patio design with water feature

For this this traditional Georgian home, the designers converted an immense, antique sugar kettle from the owner’s hometown of New Orleans into a stunning garden fountain next to a relaxing gravel patio in the backyard.

English garden landscaping ideas

English garden landscaping ideas

Here are some easy and effective ways to create an English garden like this : use symmetry in the layout, and traditional elements such as clipped hedges, potted plants, and tiered fountain.

Backyard DIY stock tank pool

Backyard DIY stock tank pool

If building a swimming pool isn’t the best choice for your backyard but you love the idea of a pool, how about a stock tank pool you can do it yourself? This small and sloped backyard becomes a lovely retreat with a DIY stock tank pool built into the hillside. Via Cuckoo4design.

Backyard outdoor showers

Backyard outdoor showers

Fountains and pools are not the only way to bring the water elements into a garden. Outdoor showers are so much fun to use in warm weather, and they are great for the planet when we use bio-degradable soaps and let the water soak into the soil. Here are 32 great DIY outdoor shower ideas for your backyard.

Outdoor fire pit landscaping ideas

Outdoor fire pit landscaping ideas

Sitting around an outdoor fire pit offers a blissful and magical experience, which is why they are one of the favorite garden design features for an outdoor space. Here are 24 best outdoor fire pit ideas from in-ground fire pits to cooking fire pits you can buy or DIY.

Outdoor pizza oven ideas

Outdoor pizza oven ideas

Every time we made delicious pizzas with friends from an outdoor wood fired pizza oven, it was always such a fun, collaborative and memorable experience. You can make a very simple outdoor wood fired mud oven ( aka cobb oven ) like this in just 1 day.

Small backyard DIY brick pizza oven

Small backyard DIY brick pizza oven

This beautiful DIY brick pizza oven by Claire at The Green Eyed Girl is made from a kit that comes with a dome with an opening, a chimney, insulation, reinforcement, etc.

Outdoor kitchen landscape design ideas

Outdoor kitchen landscape design ideas

When designing and building an outdoor kitchen with BBQ grill, burner, etc, consider other elements such as shade canopy or pergola (like on this patio), built-in seating (like in this garden ), storage shelves or cabinets, bar tops, etc.

Outdoor fireplace landscape design ideas

Outdoor fireplace landscape design ideas

When building an outdoor fireplace in your front garden or backyard, choose finishes that are in harmony with the style of your home. For example, this smooth stucco outdoor fireplace would look great outside a modern farmhouse or Santa Barbara style home, while this stone fireplace would look great outside a traditional Italian or mountain cabin style home.

Edible garden landscaping ideas

Edible garden landscaping ideas

Edible landscaping is one of my favorite topics of all time. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are beautiful, delicious and help us connect with nature in deeper ways.

More in-depth articles on edible landscaping:

Perennial garden design with ornamental plants and flowers

Perennial garden design with ornamental plants and flowers

If you love a mix of lush greenery and colorful flowers, take inspirations from English gardens and perennial landscape designs. Plant your garden densely, letting the plants spill out into walkways and sitting areas.  Use plants of different height and textures to create layers of colors and textures like in these perennial borders. Source: HGTV | 21Oak

Drought tolerant and low maintenance landscaping ideas

Drought tolerant and low maintenance landscaping ideas

Drought tolerant and low maintenance gardens can look lush and beautiful too. Artificial grass, rocks, gravel, succulents, and drought tolerant plants give us endless creative possibilities. Check out these beautiful succulent garden ideas and design tips.

Mediterranean garden design theme ideas

Mediterranean garden design theme ideas

This low maintenance Mediterranean garden looks beautiful with drought tolerant plants such as Dymondia, Asparagus Fern, and Aeonium. The birdbath attracts wildlife and adds a focal point along the stepping stone garden path.

White garden landscape design ideas

White garden landscape design ideas

This stunning sunken garden designed by Claus Dalby is a white garden with only white flowers and matching foliage plants.  All the plants except from some low yew hedges are planted in pots so it’s easy to move them around.  In spring paperwhites and tulips play the main part, while hydrangeas and dahlias add lushness to the outdoor room from summer through fall season.

Modern farmhouse garden landscaping design ideas

Modern farmhouse garden landscaping design ideas

With an artistic combination of simple clean lines, white fence, white climbing roses and black lanterns, this modern farmhouse landscape design is simple and elegant.

Small balcony patio design ideas

Small balcony patio design ideas

Any big or small outdoor space can be transformed into a beautiful retreat. Here’s how we turned our previous renter’s balcony into a tropical island inspired outdoor patio, using pallets!

Rooftop garden patio landscaping design ideas

Rooftop garden patio landscaping design ideas

City dwellers often have rooftop gardens that offer great views and spaces to enjoy the outdoors. This rooftop garden makes you feel surrounded by nature with well designed outdoor living and dinning spaces, and lush planter boxes filled with large trees and smaller shrubs.

Hillside landscaping ideas

Hillside landscaping ideas

The designers turned what had been a neglected, overgrown hillside into unique, usable spaces. Graceful, curving stone walls tie three terraced spaces together, creating a unified design. The patio on the central terrace is the perfect spot for outdoor dining. Stairs and stepping stones connect the areas and provide an informal border for the plantings. At the bottom of the slope, an open, level lawn completes the design.

Drought tolerant low-maintenance plant ideas for hillside landscaping

Drought tolerant low-maintenance plant ideas for hillside landscaping

The warm-colored planting palette was a conscious choice to counter the cool breezes and saturate this California hillside garden with sweeps of fiery color. Drought tolerant, low-maintenance, Mediterranean plants attract hummingbirds and bees, providing nectar and habitat.

Modern deck and spa landscape design

Modern deck and spa landscape design

This backyard is optimized for relaxation. The level change between a lower paved patio and a raised redwood deck with hot tub makes the small backyard appear larger. At night, strings of bistro lights emit a soft glow, like enchanting stars above the hot tub.

Charming garden sheds landscaping ideas

Charming garden sheds landscaping ideas

Besides housing gardening tools and supplies, a garden can create a charming focal point in your backyard and add additional outdoor living space. This light and airy garden shed would be such a warm and cozy retreat in colder months.

For more ideas, check out these 12 beautiful garden sheds made with reclaimed windows.

Greenhouses to extend the garden seasons

Greenhouses to extend the garden seasons

In most climate, a greenhouse is a must-have for plant lovers and aspiring gardeners. A greenhouse can be a simple glass house like this, or a more elaborate Victorian conservatory like this. We also have 45 best DIY greenhouse ideas here you can explore further.

Patio decor and outdoor furniture ideas

Patio decor and outdoor furniture ideas

No matter the size of your backyard, patio, or balcony, it’s easy to design an outdoor room perfect for spending time with friends and family. Select functional decor pieces like patio furniture sets, outdoor rugs, colorful planters and shade umbrellas to create this inviting, happy outdoor space.

Wish you many blissful days in the garden! See you soon!