15 ways to update your backyard to entertain all year long


October 8, 2020

outdoor entertainment area set up for party with friends on a warm night

As summer approaches, there’s nothing more Australian than gathering with friends and family around the barbecue on a hot day. There are so many ways to update your backyard and take your entertainment to the next level. From little DIY work to a complete rehaul and renovation of your outdoor space, a makeover will be sure to transform your backyard into the ultimate entertaining area. In this article, we’ve put together 15 incredible ways to update your backyard, balancing function with style without breaking the bank.

A little TLC can go a long way and is a very cost effective solution to freshening the look of your backyard. Rather than buying a new outdoor living set, revive what you have with a new colour. Bold tones work best to stand out from everything else, drawing your eyes to the dining area. If you’re looking for something more toned down, grey is a great neutral choice that works perfectly as a complement to a garden and colourful table decor.

You can easily spruce up an empty corner in your garden with a collection of potted plants. Play around with mismatched pots in different sizes to create some dimension and height in your display. You can also go for contrasting colours which work well with the backyard without standing out too much. Plant a mix of herbs and plants or turn it into an edible garden filled with everything you love to cook with.

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A fire pit is a great addition to instantly elevate your backyard. Not only does it add light after dark and warmth to your outdoors. Fire pits are inexpensive to install (and you can even build your own) and are perfect for cooking a meal outdoors. To decorate, use large pebbles, blocks and stones to build a circle around the fire pit (this keeps the fire away from any grass but also adds a stylish touch).

Fire pits are also a natural bug repellent, as the smoke detracts any pesky fliers. If there are a lot of bugs out, adding sage into your fire will act as a deterrent for any mosquitos and alike.

Use shady space in your backyard to your advantage and create a cozy area to relax in, your summer self will thank you once the temperature rises! Consider setting up seating near tree branches in the backyard or building a dining area near shaded spots for you to enjoy lunch or hosting in the summertime. Lightweight dining set ups are perfect for this as their versatility means you can move it around out of the shade and into the sun during winter time. If there is no shade in sight in the backyard, you can always get creative and create your own with an outdoor umbrella or fold out canopy.

There are many outdoor lighting options you can play around when updating your backyard look. If you’re looking for an ambient look, set up small candles and lanterns. This will instantly brighten up the area where it’s placed, but still leave the backyard dim to create a romantic mood. To add light throughout the whole backyard, stringing outdoor lights across trees and posts will be the best option as it places the lights away from the main table. Lights will also work to deter any creepy crawlies away (or you can burn citronella to help with that too).

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Style your outdoor dining table with a centrepiece of fresh greens. Succulents and plants are a good place to start, as they can be removed and planted in soil during the winter. They’re also easy to maintain and create an instant display without much work. Because succulents are tougher than normal plants, they also don’t mind baking in the sun if your dining table gets a lot of rays throughout the day.

Investing in some lush plants around your backyard will save you money at the florist and also add a pop of colour to your surroundings. Flowers, vines and bushes are great additions that you can start planting, not to mention they smell incredible too. If you want to try out for green thumb, you can grow your own veggies next to plants and use them for cooking when they grow. For those who want a bit of privacy, consider growing a plant screen door which adds lush greenery to your space whilst keeping your backyard away from any nosy outsiders.

If your backyard has no dividing point, it may be hard for guests to walk around and navigate their way through all the grass. Put in a pathway with stones, gravel or sand so it’s easier to walk across. You can also add paving stones to mark as steps in order to get to specific areas of the yard, such as the garden, play area, dining spot and firepit.

Every backyard left to its own devices will start accumulating gardening tools, extra plant pots, kids bikes and more piles of unused items. Sell or give away what you no longer use, then for the things you do want to keep, arrange for them to be organised in an easy to find manner. One possible solution is to build a garden shed in the corner of the backyard where you can keep all belongings for seasonal or occasional use items. This will create even more room in the backyard for you to entertain guests and renovate.

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There’s no point of spending time and money to update your backyard space if you’re not going to keep up with the maintenance. Maintaining your backyard is key to having it look like it’s in pristine condition. Trim trees and bushes back if they are overgrown, and remember to mow occasionally to keep the grass at a suitable length. All outdoor furniture requires a dust off every once in a while whilst pools need to be regularly cleaned and the filter needs to be changed. Doing this will save you more work in the future and all the tidiness will keep nasty bugs and insects away!

This goes without saying as it’s a holy grail tip for all interior decorating: add comfort with home accessories. Having inviting home furnishing pieces will be more inviting to guests that are seated outdoors. Small additions such as cushions, throws, side tables and rugs will make all that difference in creating a relaxing environment for you and your guests to enjoy and be able to unwind in. If it gets too hot for throws in warmer weather, simply add a basket next to your outdoor seating and store the throws there instead.

Wall art just isn’t for the interior of your home! Spice up the exterior walls of your home with some wall art. There are so many options you can choose from, including framed prints, hanging plants and woven wall decorations. Choose something that works with your overall theme and blends in with your decor rather than stand out. If you’re feeling ultra creative, you can even stick wall decals on the walls of your backyard to make it a little more interesting.

Set up very distinct zones to get more use from your backyard space. Different flooring materials can help separate hangout spots and distinguish themselves from one another. For example, concrete flooring under a firepit is both sturdy and durable. It also acts as a hard surfaced floor so you can move furniture around from a shaded area to the sun during the summer. For the pool area, a fresh lawn can act as a nice transition from the garden.

Take in what’s around you and use that as inspiration when you go about updating your backyard. If your house is close to a beautiful natural landscape, opt for a rustic dining table with wooden stools to act as dining chairs. Or if you’re living near the ocean, you can turn your backyard into a tropical oasis using lighter colours, and bright decor to brighten up your backyard. It’s edgy and seek whilst still being stylishly approachable.

If grass and maintenance isn’t your thing, you can go for a sleek, minimalistic patio and backyard. Give your wood deck a new splash of colour with a whitewash and keep things tonal with a gravel garden and walkway instead of grass. Floor cushion can also become a great option for extra lounge seating.

Words by Joanne Ly


Written by Refinancing.com.au


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