How To Create A Themed Yard: 5 Backyard Garden Ideas

One of the greatest perks of having a garden is the ability to get creative with it. Your garden should elevate your outdoor space and express your sense of style. 

From cottage style to eco-friendly gardens, we’ve put together 5 fun backyard garden ideas you can use to start planning out your own unique space. First, let’s take a look at the garden structures you can use to take your space to the next level.

Using Garden Structures As a Focal Point

The best backyard garden ideas use more than just plants to create visual interest. Adding garden structures is a great way to add a focal point to your landscaping and make the rest of your garden pop. 

You’ll find the following structures work well across the board, regardless of which garden theme you decide to go with. Let’s take a look at the most popular garden add-ins to pick from.

Garden Bridge 

There are so many garden bridge ideas you can implement, whether you have a water feature or not. While a bridge looks elegant over water, it can also look just as beautiful arched over a bed of colorful flowers or a manicured lawn.

There are different types of garden bridges to choose from so you find the best style to suit your theme. From small garden bridges (for tight spaces) to a large decorative garden bridge (for sprawling acreage), these are a versatile decor option.

Garden Arbor

Adding a garden arbor to your outdoor space is another great way to add visual depth. Oftentimes, people use garden arbors to accent entrances, pathways, or as a standalone focal point. 

There’s a lot of flexibility when deciding where to place your garden arbor, and how you want to use it. You can choose to have flowers growing on top, on the sides, or keep it bare for a more minimalistic look. 

Garden Wishing Well

Garden wishing wells are a timeless piece for your garden. You may think there are not as many garden wishing well ideas, but with some creativity, you might be pleasantly surprised. 

Your garden wishing well can be made of stone or wood. Plus, they vary in sizes and styles, giving you the flexibility to choose what fits best in your backyard. Take a look at some wishing well garden ideas.

5 Decorative Garden Themes

If you’re having trouble putting backyard garden ideas into practice, here are 5 themes for inspiration. Each one brings its own unique spin to a garden and can transform it into a stunning spot you can enjoy year-round.

Backyard Garden Idea #1: Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens are becoming increasingly popular, and that’s no surprise. Centuries ago, Japanese gardens were created for contemplation and serenity, making them a perfect fit for anyone who is searching for zen backyard garden ideas

These gardens draw from Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist philosophies, focusing on calm and simplistic elements. There is a wide variety of backyard Japanese garden ideas, but all revolve around the same characteristics. The design for a Japanese garden usually includes:

  • Stones
  • Water
  • Bridges
  • Landscaped hills
  • Plants 
  • Traditional Japanese ornaments 

You can incorporate stones by creating winding paths, made of simplistic and natural elements, like gravel or river stones. 

When choosing plants, focus on those that symbolize strength and endurance, such as different evergreens of all shapes and sizes. 

Water will create a calm aesthetic, and whether it is a small running stream, waterfall, or stagnant pond, you can add a Japanese garden bridge to pull everything together. 

There are tons of Japanese garden statues for you to choose from, but remember to keep it natural, use stone or wood. A natural wooden garden arbor may also help you create a bold yet simple entrance or focal point. 

The most important thing to remember is that Japanese gardens should be balanced, simple, and natural.

A picture of a garden arbor bridge in a Japanese style garden.

Backyard Garden Idea #2: Eco-Friendly Garden

Eco-friendly gardens are exactly what they sound like. Focusing on natural elements, local plants, and fewer fertilizers or chemicals, these gardens give you more than a  beautiful spot to look at. They give back to the environment too. 

Creating an eco-friendly garden with sustainable practices is not as complicated as it seems. It’s a great way to put some DIY backyard garden ideas into practice. To make sure your garden is eco-friendly and appealing to the eye try to use:

  • Local plants, flowers, and vegetables
  • Natural pest control
  • Permeable paving
  • Recycled or reusable materials

Choosing to use native plants, flowers, and vegetables helps to decrease the number of fertilizers and chemicals needed to keep your garden alive and thriving. These plants are easier to grow and are eco-friendly.

Using natural pest control is also extremely important in eco-friendly gardens. You should limit chemical pesticides and start using natural methods, such as growing garlic, rhubarb, and elder leaves. These will prevent certain insects without the use of chemicals.

Permeable paving such as gravel, porous asphalt, or slate chips will help prevent local flooding which greatly affects wildlife. If you are going to use paving like asphalt or cement, make sure it drains into a flower bed as a precaution.

You can let your creativity flow by using recycled materials and more sustainable decorative structures in your garden. Tin tubs, clay pipes, and old scaffolding are great materials to use, as well as real natural wood. Anything you can reuse or that is sustainable can work in an eco-friendly garden. 

Backyard Garden Idea #3: Cottage-Style Garden

Cottage-style (also known as Cottagecore gardens) have become extremely popular as of late. The nostalgic countryside aesthetic delivers a quaint coziness that people can’t seem to get enough of. This style focuses on simple, fairytale-like elements that help to create a garden right out of your favorite childhood storybook. 

If you are looking for a garden that accentuates wildflowers, climbing vines, and natural elements, then the cottage-style garden is for you. Try incorporating these elements to bring your fairytale to life:

  • Garden wishing wells
  • Colorful wildflowers 
  • Natural stone
  • Old repurposed furniture or antiques

Adding a garden wishing well will bring your garden back decades, giving it a timeless feel. You can try planting flowers all around, or even inside of it.

When choosing your flowers, don’t be afraid to let loose. Colorful wildflowers can create the perfect backdrop for your garden. Use climbing roses, honeysuckles, wisteria, peonies, and geraniums, as well as daffodils, foxgloves, and clematis. 

Natural stone pathways and secluded patios will add a secret garden style to your backyard. Traditional limestone, sandstone, and granite are great choices for you. 

As for different decorative elements for your Cottagecore garden, try using antiques or repurpose old furniture. This will help give your garden an old-fashioned feeling and add a place to relax.

Backyard Garden Idea #4: Butterfly Garden

If you are looking for stunning backyard flower garden ideas, why not add butterflies into the mix? Beautiful and whimsical, a butterfly garden is a unique way to bring life to your flower garden. 

The key to creating a successful butterfly garden habitat is to pay attention to which flowers you plant. To effortlessly attracted these winged visitors, try planting:

  • Flowering nectar plants 
  • Varieties of native plants and flowers 
  • A mix of trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials 
  • Garden arbor with climbing vines 

There are lots of types of flowers butterflies like, but the very best are nectar plants, such as lilies and lavender. These provide food and energy for butterflies. On the flipside, leaves of larval plants, such as milkweed and parsley, help nourish growing caterpillars. 

Adding a mix of native plants and flowers to your region will be helpful because that is what the butterflies in your area will be most accustomed to. Do some research to figure out which kind of native plants and flowers grow around you.

Mixing trees, shrubs, annuals, and perennials gives butterflies a chance to explore different levels of nectar. There are all kinds of butterflies, some search for nectar high up while others focus on lower sources. 

Once you have your flowers picked out, you may want to add a garden arbor, bridge, or bench to create a focal point.

Keep your area sunny, and provide some water for the butterflies. You can do this by adding a feeding station filled with water and some small rocks. 

Backyard Garden Idea #5: Water Garden

Water gardens bring a whole new side of gardening to the table. They’re a unique way to spruce up your backyard. Unlike the typical flower garden where the flowers and plants are the focal points, a water garden focuses on aquatic beauty.

Creating a water garden from scratch does take time, but it’s worth it in the long run. Before you begin you need to think about the size of your garden and its structure.

From there you can pick which elements you want to include. Popular choices include:

  • Waterfall
  • Variety of aquatic plants
  • Fish
  • Natural stones
  • Garden bridge(s)

In order to truly bring your water garden to life, a waterfall is key. The flowing water is not only calming and refreshing, but it adds movement to an otherwise stagnant pond. 

When choosing the plants for your water garden you have some options. You can choose from water plants, floating plants, submerged plants, or edge plants. Hardy water lilies, tropical water lilies, and lotuses are all great choices. 

Adding fish to your water garden makes it more vibrant and exotic. The most common fish used in water gardens are koi fish, but there are many others to choose from as well, such as goldfish or hi-fin sharks. 

Natural stones are both a practical and decorative addition. Not only do they help tie the whole scene together, but they help with creating a definite edge to the pond. 

Whether you choose to create a water garden or any of the other ideas above, creativity is key to having fun putting your area together. Don’t hesitate to try mixing or matching elements you like to create the perfect space, unique to you!

Ready to Create Your Dream Garden?

Check out our wide selection of garden structures and being bringing your ideas to life.

ARB11 Summer Breeze 48” Round Top Arbor 48” Wide Opening ~ Shown in Cedar Poly 42” Deep ~ 54” Wide
Summer Breeze Round Top Arbor In Cedar