Looking Forward to Summer: 8 Backyard Ideas From Our House Tours

Looking Forward to Summer: 8 Backyard Ideas From Our House Tours

Tess Wilson
Apr 25, 2015
(Image credit: Julia Brenner)

I am so excited to have an honest-to-goodness backyard! This summer will be nothing but hammocking, fireside chatting, and dining al fresco— there's no room for mosquitoes and yardwork in my daydreams....

Amy & Todd's Mod Chicago Home
I can't tell you how many of my friends in Chicago live in buildings with this exact backyard— and how much fun can be had in such spaces. Amy and Todd have added shady seating for sunny days, string lights for after-dark fun, pops of color to set them apart from their neighbors, a stone sidewalk border for a hint of formality, and the perfect amount of grass for a game of bags!

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Tasha's Colorful & Comfy Austin Home (& Backyard "Beach Lodge" Studio)
Tasha took an overgrown mess of a backyard and transformed it into a quirky (and colorful & comfy!) place to hang out. The xeriscaping, bright benches, vegetable garden, bistro table and chairs, firebowl, and side-by-side hammocks all add up to an incredibly relaxed space for humans and dogs alike.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

John's Memory-Filled Miracle Mile Home
If you've got the space and the means (and the climate), why not create an entire extra living room? John has doubled his living space with a couch, coffee table, fancy hanging lanterns, chaise longues, luxurious cushions, sturdy curtains, and— the holy grail— an outdoor fireplace.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Mark's Comfortable Contemporary in Houston
This backyard is proof that an outdoor space doesn't have to be fancy to be awesome. Mark has a few nice but not coordinated-within-an-inch-of-their-lives pieces, a lovely fence, plenty of seating, a cornhole set a couple of plants, and the ever-important string lights. What more could you need?

Note from Mark: his biggest indulgence was "Installing fancy astroturf in the backyard. The real grass wasn’t growing very well, so I took a leap of faith and installed this awesome turf called SYNLawn. The turf drains like normal grass, so my dog can do his business on it. Plus, it comes with a 10-year warranty!"

(Image credit: Marcia Prentice)

Beatrice & Ramsey's Cultured Echo Park Casa
You can keep your backyard simple or you can use it for All Of The Things. Here, Beatrice and Ramsey use their outdoor space to line-dry clothes, keep chickens, display art, grow plants, grill, and dine.

(Image credit: Chris Perez)

Tolly's Peaceful Home andAdventurous Backyard
In a similar vein, Tolly and her husband have transformed their backyard into a place to pursue their passions and professions: the patio is now a woodworking studio and soon-to-be yoga studio, her husband built a music studio back there, and Tolly practices as an aerialist on the gorgeous length of silk hanging from the oak tree. And there's a lovely bench in case they ever get tired!

(Image credit: Adrienne Breaux)

Eric's Stylish, Sunshine-Filled House
Here we have three chairs, a little table, and a tub of plants— and I can't think of a single way this backyard could possibly be improved. If you've got an absolutely dreamy outdoor space, don't feel you have to make it fancy or jazz it up with a bunch of stuff. A simple arrangement such as this one keeps the focus where it belongs- on the beautiful surroundings.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

The Beautifully Strange World of Miranda Lake
I'm not even sure what to say about this one— I mostly wanted to make sure you haven't missed it. Miranda's house sits on a double lot which also includes a '60s camper trailer, a '50s double-decker bus/cabana, three dining tables, intimate seating areas, lush plantings, and a gorgeous pool. I guess the takeaway is, "dream big, be bold."

What are your backyard daydreams for this summer?

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