4 Timeless Outdoor Design Styles for your Backyard and How to Achieve Them

7 min read

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Are you looking to spruce up your backyard and don’t know where to start? Perhaps you’d like to completely renovate your outdoor space but are lost for inspiration? From your outdoor entertaining area, to your garden, to pergola lighting, there’s a lot to think about.

But there’s no need to get overwhelmed—the first step is to think about the overarching ‘theme’ or ‘style’ you want to achieve and then tackle the individual elements with that theme as a guide.

With so many new design trends popping up each year, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype, but changing up your outdoor space every couple of years is not really sustainable. So, here we’ll take you through 4 timeless outdoor design styles we love, and how you can achieve them in your backyard…

Modern Contemporary

A staple in many homes, modern contemporary is often described as ambiguous. Dating back to the 1970’s, this style typically borrows from several other design styles and is constantly evolving. However, it can generally be characterised as sleek and minimal. Think curved and clean lines, neutral tones with dramatic pops of colour, and overall sense of simplicity and sophistication.

If you’re opting for modern contemporary, the materials you will be choosing should be eco-friendly, containing a mixture of earthy and darker tones. Monochromatic colours are a staple in modern contemporary homes. Consider grey tiles, dark timber, concrete and steel in your space—and don’t stray away from large structures in your outdoor entertaining areas, such as pergolas and patios.

This outdoor entertaining area reflects a sleek and dramatic colour palette. The dark wood and eco-friendly elements ensure than the space doesn’t look clinical or stark, whilst the mixture of steel and timber help the space feel streamlined. This particular combination—natural materials paired with industrial style elements—as well as the space being very minimal and open, is a staple in a modern contemporary home.

Now that you’ve got an idea about the base elements, it’s time to think about key pieces and finishing touches that will ultimately help you achieve this look. Minimal décor and statement pieces are key. Less is more. Add pops of colour with an art-deco piece or a ripple vase, or consider LED pendant lighting for your pergola.

You may want to also consider adding dramatic plants in simple neutral containers around backyard—think birds of paradise or rubber plants.

The Hamptons

The Hamptons style is a popular option in many Australian homes. Originating in Long Island, what makes the Hamptons style so distinct is the sophisticated but airy use of space, as well as the famous crisp white look. The minimalistic Hamptons style ultimately makes it feel modern, chic and structured.

Quality materials are a must in Hamptons homes. You want to opt for materials that are clean and durable, and ooze luxury. Think white tiles and paving, dark or white-washed woods and decked entertaining areas, glass features and accents, and touches of marbled texture. If you’re adding sheltered structures to your backyard such as a pergola, consider timber over steel.

Maximising white and neutral shades is a key factor to nailing this style. The addition of sleek furniture and soft furnishing touches, with touches of greys and blue hues, add to a Hamptons-esque space, ensuring it feels more comfortable and inviting. An attainable luxury.

Finishing touches and key pieces to elevate your Hamptons exterior may include geometric and industrial style glass pendant lights, and manicured lawn and garden areas—such as artificial grass. Another consistent piece in a Hamptons style home is a gable style pergola.

Wicker furniture is also a consistent element, due to its natural texture. To complete the area, add pops of greenery. Consider classic flowers such as hydrangeas or orchids in sleek pots.

Coastal Farmhouse

Coastal Farmhouse boasts warmth, serenity and comfort, and allows you to be creative and takes advantage of the colours of nature. Effortless and rustic, Coastal Farmhouse is a mixture of beach and farm—blending different materials, textures, and colours to achieve an open and airy feel. This style of home is relaxing but fun.

Materials present in these homes are generally a combination of oak woods and minimal touches of metal. It’s important that in these homes, you’re opting for mostly light, earthy materials. You don’t want the space feeling industrial. A mixture of old and new wood is a staple for coastal farmhouse homes. You want the home to feel modern, with rustic touches.

The colour choices to opt for are colours that reflect the earth. Neutrals, blues and greens are recommended. This outdoor space has subtly brought in a coastal farmhouse feel, with an entertaining area that feels light and inviting. The little touches, such as the blue and white striped table runner and the patterned cushions, perfectly suit the desired style.

To make this area the ultimate ‘Coastal Farmhouse,’ we recommend using a mixture of rustic and DIY pieces. Think woven rugs, mason jars and driftwood wreaths.

Country Bohemian

Bohemian means gypsy in French. Bohemian inspired design therefore naturally equates to an eclectic and unconventional style; one that features bright colours and various textures. The style feels very free-spirited and laidback, in comparison to those of modern contemporary or Hamptons. A true bohemian space is devoid of structure and order.

Materials used in your country bohemian outdoor area should be earthy and light. Limit your use of bulky overhead structures and straight lines, as well as distinct zones that make your area feel less fluid.

When opting for a country bohemian space, a mixture of bright, happy colours and earthy tones is ideal. Make a statement with jewel tones and metallics, and don’t be afraid to throw in a variety of patterns and textures. Bohemian textiles often include Persian and Southeast Asia inspired pieces, so incorporate these into your design.

To complete the look, consider low-level and vintage furniture, a variety of soft furnishings with bold colours, and an abundance of statement plants, such as Fiddle Leaf Figs in large, patterned pots. Like everything else bohemian, mix and match, and don’t be afraid to go overboard—the sky is the limit! Woven wall hangings are also a nice, earthy touch; and consider backyard lighting options such as rattan pendant lights or fairy lighting.

Are you looking to spruce up your area? Let us help!

Australian Outdoor Living is passionate about helping people love their life outdoors. We offer a range of products, including:

Have you been thinking about renovating your home? Fill out the free measure and quote form at the top of this article. A member of our dedicated sales team will be in touch.

Our stores are located in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, NewcastleCanberra, and Brisbane.

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