Inspiration Ideas for Great Modern Garden Design

We may not all have our own backyard to speak of, let alone a big plot of land. But even with a postage-stamp sized yard or outdoor space, there are a number of creative ways to elevate and improve the layout, look, and design.

A lot of it has to do with welcoming nature in, adding dramatic lighting where possible, and creating an outdoor escape that you actually want to spend time in.

Here are a number of creatively designed outdoor spaces that should inspire you.  Via Real Homes and The Spruce.

Outdoor contemporary

Using contemporary shapes and light materials can create a dramatic effect. Landscape lighting also goes a huge way towards elevating shrubs and trees.


Warm outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting has advanced a lot in the last ten years. Now there are all kinds of warm LED options, giving an outdoor space a great ambience while using a fraction of the electricity of older models. There are also lots of cordless options too, so you don’t need to hardwire everything.

Handsome outdoor kitchen area

An outdoor kitchen doesn’t have to consist of anything more than a grill and a few rolling carts. Adding details like a fence shelf adds a sense of built-in permanence and sophistication. We’d want to be entertained and fed in a space like this for sure.

Green or living wall

A cursory search on the internet will find you hundreds of examples of ‘living walls’, where plants grow on vertical surfaces, either in lattice structures, innovative growing bags, or more permanent boxes. A living wall can serve as a great privacy structure, and also beautifies spaces that may be less optimal to begin with. Plus they’re just flat out cool.


Outdoor furniture matters

While using a folding camping chair at a barbecue is fine in a pinch, proper outdoor seating makes a huge difference in ambience and comfort. These days you can find a number of well made and beautiful options for outdoor chairs that should make a statement and elevate your space into something desirable and fun.


Water features

Whether you’re ambitious enough to build a koi pond or just buy a birdbath, water features can add a lot of interest and ambience to an outdoor space. Obviously having the right amount of space is critical, but there are dozens of small outdoor fountains that fit most budgets, and there’s something ever-inviting about the gentle flowing and trickle of water.

Getting creative with decking

Decking can transform an underused yard into something elevated, both physically and emotionally. If your patch of grass is unkempt or unused, it could serve as a great area to built an extended patio or deck on. We love the way this decking feels integrated into the planters, bringing a truly impressive feel to a backyard.

Outdoor sculptures add interest

Whether it’s an oversized buddha or a friendly garden gnome, an outdoor sculpture can bring character, fun and spirit to your backyard. Outdoor sphinx, anyone?


A fence can be the visual interest

Fencing doesn’t have to be a means to an end. It can be colorful, creative, or downright funky. We like how this example uses just some unexpected paint combinations to create a one-of-a-kind backyard experience. Perfect backdrop for photos or to frame beautiful plants.


Fire it up

From a simple brick fire pit to a dramatic built-in, fire brings people together. It’s as old as time. There are hundreds of options these days, from efficient, smoke-free fire rings to propane fire tables. That orange glow will always be a draw.


Take a load off

A day bed can make an ordinary outdoor space feel like you’re lounging poolside. We love this version, with sleek lines and a warm, inviting modernism. And whether you’re sitting or laying down, it’s effortless and good looking.