The difference between simple gardening and landscaping is that the latter aims to create a delightful view that suits the space. It incorporates not only plants, but pathways, water features, and other elements of hardscape. 

A well-landscaped backyard can be a source of immense pride, as well as a place where you can relax and enjoy the outdoors. But coming up with creative landscaping ideas that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing can be challenge. To help jumpstart your creativity, here are 9 themes to consider for your backyard landscape.

Tips for choosing a landscaping theme:

  • Match your location. To be cohesive, the theme should ideally match the setting, depending on whether your property is near the woods or seashore or right in the middle of the city.
  • Match your house. Landscaping should go well with the architecture of your house. For example, formal gardens with neatly clipped hedges and topiary and well-disciplined hydrangea bushes complement Victorian architecture, while an informal planting with lots of color and winding pathways goes well with a cottage-style home. 
  • Choose a theme you love. Yes, you need to take your location and the style of your house into consideration, but ultimately, you should choose a landscaping theme that suits your personality. If you aren’t excited about landscaping and spending time in your yard, it doesn’t matter how good it looks!
  • Don’t box yourself in. Look at these themes as starting blocks, not finish lines! Take inspiration from other yards you love and use these themes to inspire you and give you new ideas.

9 landscaping theme ideas

Zen Garden

Transform your backyard into a peaceful retreat with this serene theme. Incorporate elements like boulders, gravel paths, evergreens, and water features like fountains or waterfalls. This theme is all about simplicity and nature. Bonsai trees are also a common feature in this type of garden. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance option, the zen garden is definitely worth considering.

Pollinators Oasis

This whimsical theme is perfect for those who want to attract local wildlife to their backyard. Brightly colored flowers such as daisies, roses, and lilies are common in butterfly gardens. To make your garden extra inviting to these lovely creatures, add a water feature or some rocks for them to perch on. 

This is also great way to get children interested in gardening! They’ll love spotting butterflies and bees that come to visit.

The Edible Garden

More and more people are interested in growing their own food these days. If you have the space, why not dedicate a portion of your backyard to an edible garden? Fruits, vegetables, and herbs can all be grown in an edible garden. And there’s nothing better than picking fresh produce from your own backyard!

Utilize pots, trellises, and raised beds to add visual interest and keep your yard from feeling flat. These elements also serve great practical purposes. 

English Garden

This classic theme features manicured hedges, rose bushes, and a variety of flowers arranged in a symmetrical pattern. The English garden is perfect for those who love to garden and enjoy spending time outdoors tending to their plants.

This type of garden is characterized by its focus on fragrant flowers and herbs. Roses, lavender, and mint are common plants used in English gardens. To create this look, use stone pathways and trim hedges into shapes.

Tropical Paradise

If you live in an area with warm weather year-round, why not turn your backyard into a tropical paradise? Palms trees, bamboo, and bright flowers will make you feel like you’re on vacation every time you step outside. Just don’t forget the tiki torches! 

The Kid’s Playground

Got kids or grandkids? Create a fun-filled backyard that will keep them entertained for hours on end! Think about adding a swingset, playhouse, or sandbox into your landscaping design. Don’t forget the rubber mulch to help cushion any spills or falls. 

Outdoor Kitchen

Love spending time in the kitchen? Bring the cooking outdoors with an outdoor kitchenscape! Incorporate a grill, mini fridge, prep station, and dining area into your design for the ultimate al fresco dining experience. Plant some herbs around your patio for easy access!

Entertainer’s Backyard

If you love hosting friends and family for outdoor gatherings, this one’s for you. Think about incorporating a built-in fire pit or barbecue into your design. String lights add a touch of whimsy and make for a perfect gathering spot after the sun goes down.

Rock Garden

Rock gardens are a great way to add interest to a yard with limited space. These types of gardens can be created using any type of rock – from gravel to boulders – and often feature succulents or other drought-tolerant plants. If you live in an area with little rainfall, a rock garden is a great solution for you!

Have fun!

No matter what type of style you’re looking for, there’s sure to be a backyard landscaping theme that’s perfect for you. By considering your climate, budget, and interests, you can narrow down the options and choose the best one for your needs. So get out there and start planning your dream backyard today!

Happy Growing,

Hi There! Susan Here.

(aka the Earthen Mamma)

As a Certified Health Coach, Master Gardener, and Author, my goal is to equip and inspire you to live the healthy and sustainable life you deserve.

Let’s Grow Together

Sign up for our newsletter to get gardening tips and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox!