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Backyard landscaping ideas that will inspire your next remodel

Backyard landscaping ideas that will inspire your next remodel

Backyard landscaping ideas that will inspire your next remodel

The backyard is a space of possibility in the modern home. From fire pits to swimming pools, a landscaped backyard can provide all manner of joy.

Backyards are a place for fun and play – especially if they are shared by the whole family. Many Australian homes will find space for a swimming pool in the backyard, with more than 13% of all Australians living in a home with a private pool. This is undeniably a consequence of the fierce Australian summer heat, which sends families splashing eagerly into the water as temperatures rise.

As such, the backyard provides a sense of refuge. Refuge from the weather, the eyes of neighbours, the streets and even the pressures of adult life. Backyards are an escape to a private world – and you want to make sure this private world is as comfortable as possible.

Most Australian backyards are around 50 m2 or less (though many properties can rise over 100m2, especially in remote or rural areas). Almost 90% of Australian homes have access to a private domestic garden. Backyard ideas are therefore extremely common and tend to spread like wildfire.


There are a few things to consider when designing a backyard. The first is the size of your backyard; what can you realistically expect to fit inside the space? Ideally you will be able to include everything from a fire pit to a swimming pool, but for the majority of Australians this is not the case. The next consideration is budget: what can you afford to have done? Devising a budget for your backyard remodel before looking into design ideas is a good way to manage expectations and keep your projects grounded in reality.

To help you narrow down your search, here are 12 cheap backyard ideas for small yards.

Backyard landscaping ideas for all home types: The best backyard design ideas

12. Retaining wall ideas for sloped backyard

retaining wall north shore sydney backyard

Sloped backyards are very common, especially in the suburbs of major Australian cities such as Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Canberra. A sloped backyard may sometimes feel limiting because the space is not as open for running or playing sport.

However, a sloped backyard has its own advantages, especially if you can afford to install a retaining wall. A retaining wall can create multiple levels in the one backyard, so it will feel much larger. It will also provide more opportunities for seated areas and paths to follow around the backyard.

11. Drainage ideas

natural drainage in garden with pebble river and lilies

While it may not feel as extravagant as a retaining wall, changing the drainage in your backyard can be a quick and affordable way to enhance the overall aesthetic. A stone path like this one will help to direct the flow of rainwater throughout the year. It also provides a beautiful accent to the garden and will help the nearby plants obtain more water.

10. Privacy fence ideas

bamboo privacy screen fence vertical planks

A privacy fence is a solid barrier which screens your backyard from outside view. This is an excellent way to create your own personal space and ensure that you can truly relax in the backyard. Privacy fences can be made out of many different materials. The most common materials for a privacy fence are bamboo, aluminium, vinyl, steel, timber and even living plants such as bushes.

09. Deck ideas

custom made deck with tree outside of house backyard

Decks are perfect for making the outdoors feel a little more like indoors. They level the floor space and ensure that you won’t get dirt or mud on your feet should you walk around barefoot. They are easy to install and simple to design, so you can tailor them to the specifics of your backyard.

08. Patio ideas

small stone patio with wicker chairs

A patio is an outdoor courtyard attached to your home building. They are installed on top of the ground and will usually remain uncovered. Patios drastically change the aesthetic of an outdoor area by adding a touch of sophistication. They are also affordable and simple to install. For more specific patio design ideas, see here.

07. Pathway ideas

garden path with overgrown flowers

Garden pathways are an enchanting sight to behold. For a romantic slice of secluded nature in your backyard, consider installing a pathway through a garden. You can even do this with a small backyard and create a little escape. For specific garden bed and paver ideas, see here.

06. Gazebo ideas

gazebo at night with fairy lights and curtains

Pergola and gazebos are the perfect spaces for those who love entertaining. They provide a lovely little getaway from the hustle and bustle of a full house, which is perfect for relaxed afternoons with friends or on hot summer nights.

05. Dog fence ideas

tall white stylish fence to keep dog inside

A functional fence does not have to be a boring one. You can install a fence that will safely keep your canines contained in the backyard whilst also providing aesthetic enhancement to your home. Just remember to check how high your dog can jump first! Many dogs can spring surprisingly far.

04. DIY backyard outdoor play area ideas for toddlers and for kids

children's cubby house DIY backyard play area for kids

Nothing will delight your kids more than their very own playground. The best part? They’re easy to make! Whether it’s a cubby house, a sandpit, a swing set or a slide, your kids are guaranteed to have hours of outdoor yard fun in the playpen you build for them. Bunnings supports parents every year to do just this – see here for more.

03. Swimming pool ideas

small plunge swimming pool in tiny yard

Swimming pool ideas are everywhere in Australia. This is true even for small homes. Small swimming pool ideas are easy to come by, from plunge pools to freeform and above ground models. Pools can be made from a variety of materials including steel and various tile. For a natural effect, consider a pond pool (a pool where 50% of the water contains plants which filter the water without chemicals).

02. Spa ideas

above ground private family spa

A backyard spa is undeniably the height of landscaping luxury. They are perfect for older kids and adults. The main charm of a spa is that you can use it even in winter (sometimes especially so!).

01. Fire pit

outdoor private fire pit for family at night

Fire pit ideas are very common in Australia. Bonfires are among the most popular birthday party ideas for adults, because they provide a welcoming place for people to gather around and tell stories or sing songs. Read about Australia’s best outdoor fire pits here.


Juliet Taylor is one of the leading content writers for Indesign Media Asia Pacific where she publishes weekly research articles across multiple platforms. She graduated from the Australian National University in 2021, with a strong portfolio of academic writing as well as writing for entertainment. Her specialty is in media and philosophy, though she shares a passion for interior design with the Indesign Media conglomerate. Her work with Indesign Media covers a broad range of subjects including interior design trends, architectural advancements, materials and the evolution of modern construction, products and processes for a healthier home, and the proper care of flora. Juliet writes for both residential and commercial audiences and over the past year working with Indesign Media has produced research articles in the hundreds for architects and interior design enthusiasts alike.