13 Best Outdoor Decor Ideas for Your Yard, Patio, or Deck
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
- Adding decor to your outdoor landscape can help boost curb appeal.
- Exterior aesthetics also make outdoor spaces more enjoyable.
- These outdoor decor ideas can help you create a beautiful front and backyard to be proud of.
People often talk about curb appeal as it relates to home value. But you don’t need to be selling your home to worry about outdoor aesthetics. Whether you’re making over a front yard flower garden or adding new backyard landscaping, beautifying your yard can make it more enjoyable to spend time in.
We reached out to two outdoor design experts to get their tips on the best ways to create a gorgeous outdoor landscape. Dave Angelov is the founder and CEO of garden design company Plant Parenthood and Blythe Yost is the chief landscape architect and cofounder of Tilly, an online landscape design company.
If you’re interested in creating a front or backyard oasis, we’ve gathered 13 outdoor decor ideas to boost your home’s outdoor aesthetics.
Integrate calming water features
Water features perform double duty in an outdoor setting. They provide a relaxing, audible water trickle and act as sculptural features. Angelov explains that a water feature serves a few purposes aesthetically, but most important is the sound. “It adds a calming effect and turns an industrial space into a tranquil one,” he says.
Most fountains require an electrical hookup, so keep that in mind when selecting placement. If you live somewhere with freezing winters, you may need to consider storage options, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions regarding winterization. Water movement is also essential. “It’s important to make sure your water isn’t stagnant as that can attract mosquitoes to lay eggs,” says Yost.
What we like:
This Mediterranean-style fountain features handmade ceramic tiles and an elegant brass spout that you can adjust to control the water flow. While it’s designed to mount on a wall, it’s sturdy enough to use as a freestanding fountain.
This unique vertical-style fountain features seven copper spouts pouring into a basin below. The fountain also has a planter top, which can be used to plant tropical greenery or drought-tolerant succulents.
You can easily incorporate this simple, tiered fountain into your yard’s natural landscape. It’s weather-resistant and comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Create a steamy hot tub hangout
A hot tub is the perfect backyard addition for people who love to entertain. Unfortunately, most hot tubs are kind of an eyesore. If you’re concerned about aesthetics, consider choosing a bubbly outdoor tub made of rot-resistant wood to blend into the natural landscape. Or try jazzing up your new hangout spot with a few carefully selected pieces of decor.
“A great way to integrate a hot tub into a yard is to sink it into a deck or add a pergola overhead,” says Yost. “You can also add planters around the hot tub to mask the side. Remember to add practical elements like stepping stones to the tub, a bench to hold your towel, and string lights for evening dips to make this feature more usable and enjoyable.”
What we like:
If a genuine cedar hot tub is out of your price range, consider this faux-wood look inflatable hot tub. It fits up to seven people and comes with a handy insulating cover that keeps the water warm.
Add interest and texture with these natural-look stepping stones. While they have the look and feel of natural stone, they’re a fraction of the cost.
Keep your hot tub guests hydrated with this compact outdoor cooler that doubles as a table. The 7.5-gallon cooler is rust, fade, and water-resistant.
Add trees for visual interest and privacy
A yard without trees may be easy to maintain, but it can also feel bare. Trees add visual interest and can help provide privacy to what was once a wide-open yard.
Choosing the right trees for your climate and space is key. “Remember to consider the mature size of the tree when selecting it for your yard,” says Yost.
If you’re dealing with a compact front yard, opt for bushes or dwarf-size trees that won’t gobble up your outdoor real estate or grow vast roots that may damage nearby structures. If you’re concerned about privacy, hedges may be an option, but consider that they will likely require regular maintenance. And if space or soil quality is a concern, choose statement planters for your new saplings.
What we like:
Make your front porch or stoop more inviting by flanking your entryway with these attractive clay planters. The planters have drainage holes to prevent root rot and are safe for use indoors and out.
Greenery will pop against this dramatic black planter made of durable cement. The planter is frost-resistant and features drainage holes to let water out.
A planter with a unique design can add additional interest to your patio or porch. The frost-resistant planter is made from fiberglass, cement, sand, and crushed stone for extra durability and includes a drainage hole.
Plant a gorgeous flower garden
Adding a flower garden to your outdoor space is a no-brainer in terms of aesthetics. A flower-filled area instantly brightens things up and makes a lifeless garden come alive.
“My favorite projects are when clients say they want a more natural/wild look, fewer straight lines, and more natural curves and organized randomness,” says Angelov, who recommends swapping evergreen shrubs for pretty native wildflowers.
Depending on your property, there are plenty of ways to add a touch of color with flowers, including planters, in-ground beds, and flower boxes. Edging can also help delineate a flower bed and keep things looking neat and tidy.
What we like:
This set of modern window box planters is available in gray, black, and espresso brown. The durable plastic is crack-proof and weather-resistant. It’s also treated with UV inhibitors to prevent fading.
This flexible, hammer-in edging is a simple option for marking off garden territory. Each kit contains a 20-foot coil of serrated edging and a pair of heavy-duty anchoring stakes. The plastic is also easy to snip, so you can customize the length of each section as needed.
These bold hanging flower pots are perfect for displaying colorful, trailing plants. Available in small and large, the handpainted stripey planters feature black leather straps for hanging.
Go vertical with structures and climbing plants
Looking for a touch of shade in a sunny yard? A trellis can help keep the sun off your face and provide privacy when you feel like hanging out outdoors. It’s also a great way to incorporate plant life if you’re short on ground space.
“When selecting plants for a trellis, consider companion planting to allow for multiple bloom times,” says Yost. “A classic example is the New Dawn rose paired with a Jackmanii clematis. The rose provides a woody structure that the clematis can climb, and each will bloom in the same space.”
What we like:
Use this gorgeous pergola to frame an outdoor dining area or act as an entryway to an English garden. The rust-proof aluminum gazebo features a dark iron finish and is outdoor safe.
If a towering gazebo is out of your price range but you still want to add height to your garden, consider this vinyl trellis. Both decorative and practical, the 90-inch tall trellis is easy to assemble and comes with a 20-year warranty.
Add a bit of privacy to a balcony with the help of this raised bed trellis combo. The planter portion features drainage holes, and the planter comes equipped with wheels so you can easily rearrange your setup if the mood strikes.
Use the right lighting
Outdoor lights aren’t just for the holidays anymore. They can help brighten up your yard, make it safer, and create the perfect atmosphere for outdoor get-togethers.
“Lights add another 12 hours of decor to your house every day,” says Angelov. He recommends adding uplights (lights pointing upward) to medium-size trees and around the house. For pathways, he says, pick lights that point down to light the way. Some decor pieces also feature built-in lighting, like fountains or other water features.
You can also add lighting to other spots in your yard, like around an umbrella, hanging from a pergola, or right in your pool.
What we like:
This market-style umbrella delivers shade during the day and pretty, practical lighting at night. It’s made with fade-resistant material, and its solar lights can last up to 7 hours depending on the forecast.
Use these delicate string lights to add a twinkle to your outdoor decor. Wrap them around twigs, branches, or a deck railing for a hint of golden light. A built-in timer keeps the lights on for 6 hours and automatically turns them off.
If you have a pond or pool, it’s probably already the focal point of your backyard, so why not use it to boost visual interest? Drop these floating lotus-shaped lights into the water and watch them float and light up the night.
Incorporate a sculptural focal point
When you think of sculptures, your mind probably goes to indoor spaces. But a sculptural piece can be an incredible focal point for your front or backyard garden. Plenty of options blend in well with different aesthetics, from modern Zen gardens to romantic English-style landscapes.
“Sculptures can make a space feel really special when chosen correctly,” says Yost. “You can align them with views from your windows so you can enjoy them or so that they draw you out into the landscape. Alternatively, you can tuck them away so that they become surprises in your space, an exciting and unexpected moment in your backyard.”
What we like:
This kinetic sculpture moves with the wind and comes with a lifetime warranty. The 7.5-foot-tall spinner also features a durable copper and brass construction.
This 16.5-inch tall spherical sculpture will develop a patina over time, giving it an antiqued appearance. Position a pair near your entryway for a subtle lawn or porch accent.
Place these elegant orbs in a garden bed or along a pathway for added visual appeal and a hint of nighttime lighting. Available in three sizes, the glass balls automatically turn on at night and give off a gentle warm glow.
Drought is a common issue for gardeners throughout the US, and people are more concerned than ever about conserving water and choosing plants that don’t require gallons of it to survive. Consider a rock garden filled with drought-tolerant succulents if you’re interested in reducing water usage or don’t want to spend much time watering. Bonus: Many succulents spread easily and create a gorgeous carpet of greenery over time.
While rocks look great, Angelov says that it’s important to put down weed fabric to keep weeds at bay since they’ll quickly crop up among rocks without any kind of barrier.
What we like:
The perfect addition to a relaxing Zen garden, these sturdy terrazzo balls are available in small, large, and extra large. The stone design is outdoor safe, but the manufacturer recommends covering the balls when extreme weather hits.
This budget-friendly patio stone from Lowe’s comes in four finishes, including grey, red, white, and tan. Use the simple square shape to create a walkway or outdoor patio area.
Not sure where to start when it comes to drought-tolerant gardening? Nan Sterman’s book about waterwise gardening includes tips for how to pick the best plants for dry conditions and design a garden that’s better for the environment.
Set the scene with outdoor furniture
Adding outdoor furniture is another way to increase the visual appeal of an outdoor space for those who prefer not to get their hands dirty. Creating a comfortable place to sit will make it easier to enjoy the outdoors and entertain guests.
“The right outdoor furniture for your garden or patio can really add the finishing touches to your space,” says Yost. “A great wicker sofa can quickly create a beachy vibe, or a bold-colored bistro table can be the perfect set for the corner of a cottage-style garden.”
It’s also important to keep climate in mind when selecting furniture. Yost says recycled plastic works well for rainy and humid clients and cautions that metal is susceptible to water damage and can get very hot.
What we like:
Use this geometric-patterned outdoor wicker chair as part of a dining set or solo on the front porch. The weather-resistant chair is handmade and features sturdy aluminum framing.
This charming outdoor conversation set includes an L-shaped couch and a compact table. Both pieces have a sturdy steel frame and a rustic rope wicker design.
Give some love to your front porch area and outfit it with this cozy cushioned swing. The deep seat cushion makes it a perfect spot to curl up with a book.
Hang a wreath on the front door
Decor to boost curb appeal doesn’t need to be complicated or pricey. Adding a simple wreath to your front door can make your entryway look more put together. You might even try changing wreaths seasonally or according to upcoming holidays.
Yost says she’s especially fond of DIY wreaths. “It can be easiest to start with a wire frame and then use young boughs and branches to build structure,” she says. “Stick in anything you find in your garden like seed pods, leaves, flowers.”
What we like:
Add this colorful wheat wreath to your front door to celebrate the coming of fall. The 24-inch wreath is a great textural addition to an otherwise bare door.
Crate & Barrel’s spring wreath features eucalyptus and boxwood greenery along with pops of hydrangea blooms. The hand-harvested wreath is free of pesticides and reportedly lasts up to a year once the greenery dries.
The vibrant autumn colors of this wreath make it a cheery addition to any front door. The 24-inch wreath combines natural materials like twigs and pine cones with artificial pumpkins and berries is safe for use in covered outdoor areas.
Plant an herb garden
Flowers are beautiful, but most of them aren’t edible. If you’re a bit of a foodie, consider planting a fragrant, mouth-watering herb garden that you can harvest from as needed. Herbs like mint and thyme are low maintenance and attract pollinators like butterflies.
Adding an herb garden effectively reduces lawn, which Angelov points out is a huge waste of water. “Think of your garden as a long-term project,” he said. “It’s not a paper you hand in and never read again. It’s a live ecosystem that constantly needs to be nurtured.”
What we like:
Only have a small shelf or table to dedicate to growing herbs? No problem. This herb garden is compact enough to fit in small spaces and comes with metal scissors for snipping fresh herbs.
If you’re new to gardening, you may have difficulty remembering which plant is which. Use these handy labels to identify your growing herbs. The engraved labels are water-resistant and much more durable than traditional wooden stakes.
Plant your herb garden in this convenient wheeled raised bed. It features drainage holes, a liner to keep soil from dropping out, and a handy bottom shelf for storing supplies out of sight.
Add a weatherproof rug to your patio or deck
Arranging a rug underneath your outdoor dining or lounge set is the perfect way to add a burst of color. Placing a rug also makes a space feel more cohesive and ties the whole “room” together.
“Make sure the rug you purchase is, in fact, for outdoor use because outdoor rugs must withstand the elements, heavy foot traffic, and be able to dry,” says Yost. “One of my favorite things about outdoor rugs is it’s a great place to have a little fun! You may be less likely to take a risk with an indoor rug that you see every day, but a great pop of color or bold print outside might be just the right option for an evening or weekend relaxing outdoors.”
What we like:
This modern rug features a trendy geometric pattern and is made of fade-resistant Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex polypropelene. It’s available in two sizes and can be hosed off to clean.
This simple flatweave rug comes in multiple sizes and colors and is easy to rinse off with a hose. And the polypropylene material can withstand harsh outdoor conditions.
This rug features a trellis-like design and comes in several sizes and colors. It has a soft weave for a comfortable feel underfoot. The fade-resistant rug is also simple to clean.
Apply a fresh coat of paint
Whether indoors or out, sometimes all you need is a fresh coat of paint to beautify a space and breathe some life into it again. Consider repainting your front door or window trim to give your home’s exterior a quick facelift. And if you’re feeling adventurous, opt for a bold color choice like dramatic black, cheery yellow, or vibrant red.
Yost says there’s been an uptick in interest for neutral paint colors with blue and green undertones. Some favorites include Raccoon Fur by Benjamin Moore and Anonymous by Sherwin Williams.
What we like:
Painting outdoors requires the right kind of paint. Well-known for its range of durable paint products, Rust-Oleum latex paint is suitable for outdoor and indoor projects. The water-based formula is chip-resistant and long-lasting.
Kilz paint is a durable crack, peel, and blister-resistant option for refreshing your exterior. It’s safe to use on various surfaces, including exterior masonry and wood.