How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

Are you planning for backyard fun this summer? As I mentioned in my last backyard post, I’m starting to plan some landscaping projects. With new house construction you pretty much have a blank slate to work with, which can be both daunting and exciting!

We are endeavoring to make this backyard landscaping project much more manageable by dividing our yard into smaller spaces that will be attractive, easy to maintain and functional. That is the goal anyway! Even if you have existing landscaping to work with, it really helps to divide up your yard into functional zones.

I’m considering how to design a backyard that serves several purposes and a space our whole family can enjoy, while making sure my plans fit our small budget and stay within our limited DIY skill. I definitely want to keep our backyard landscaping ideas simple and affordable!

In order to break the project down and make the most sense of our space, we are dividing up our yard into four distinct areas. A space to grow things (both to eat and to enjoy visually or as cutting gardens), an area to rest and relax, a space to eat and cook all summer, and a place where our family, son and our friends’ children can play.

I have much more to share on these upcoming summer projects, but today you can enjoy a little inspiration for these four zones I think are essential to a successful backyard landscape!

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

How to build a treehouse

How to Design a Backyard {4 Essential Zones}

Sources:  Grow: BHG, Rest: BHG, Eat: Ikea, Play: The Handmade Home

Do you have any backyard plans this summer?

*Scroll through the garden & outdoor room inspiration posts for more inspiration!


  1. This is great! Thanks so much for putting it in simple terms that my brain can remember!

  2. No small children in my house right now. Do you think that cute little playhouse could work for a grown woman?! I could picture myself there with a good book or some hand stitching. (:

  3. Hey no little one’s at my house either but this grown woman definitely plans to build and use this!

  4. This is amazing!
    I’m dreaming f redesigning my backyard coming next Autumn… I don’t want chaos during Spring and Summer and since Autumn is meh let’s add some construction chaos to it ;)
    When I moved to this home everything was so overwhelming (toddler in tow, baby, new in a country environment “what’s that:::?” :D so when husband said he’d cover everything in stone I loved him more than anyone could…. but everything grows – kids, ourselves – and now I dream of true gardens.
    So, these tips will be Gold to us.
    Thank you!!!

  5. Ooo, I would love to have a covered patio and a fountain in my backyard. Someday…

  6. Melissa, great break-down on how to apply changes in your backyard. We are almost finished with ours, still need to tweak one area, but so far we have met all the requirements. In fact I posted a couple of picts today on my blog post on how my backyard and family room are connected in color and design. Thanks for such a great post,

  7. i love this.
    it’s so true….a new construction is exciting and daunting…we have one. :)
    it’s always a work in progress…

  8. Oddly enough, I need to work on the “growing” part of our back yard. We are covered in shade most of the time, which is nice when it’s hot outside, but tough to grow pretty flowering plants. :)

  9. Love the colors in the tree-house…reminds me I need to spruce up our tree house for the summer…great ideas.

  10. I really needed this post! We are moving from a house on .17 of an acre, to a house with 3 acres! And no landscaping of any kind! I have been trying to figure out what to do with the space and how to make it both functional and fun for my family. So this was so timely and I can’t wait to see what else you have up your stylish sleeves!

  11. Hi great post. I love all your pictures. Very inspiring. I’ve been scanning the Internet and books for ideas for my backyard too. I recently wrote about it on my new blog.

  12. I love your inspirational photos, especially the relax area. But thank you, thank you for the link to the treehouse/ playhouse. It’s amazing. We have been promising our kids to build a treehouse forever and now we’re moving. This looks like great idea and so stylish. Will definitely try to use these plans from the site you suggest! Good luck with your ideal backyard!

  13. I absolutely love these photos too, but if there is anyone out there that has beautiful pillows like that outside can you please explain to me how you maintain them? Maybe it’s just because I live in Phoenix where its hot and dusty, but they’d be covered in dust and bugs like every other day! Do you wash them weekly? Hose them down? If anyone is seriously a neat nick and knows how to care for outdoor items like this I would LOVE if you’d impart some knowledge my direction!

  14. One of these days I am going to design a better back yard for myself! Too busy this year but maybe next year :)

  15. so in love with black & white fabrics for outside ! great picture x

Join the Conversation