From the indulgence of sheer luxury to the practicality of countryside rustic, your back yard should be considered an extension of your home. These inspirational gardens and uses of outdoor space are crucial components of each property that they envelop. In this list, we showcase both opulence and understatement, including a number of down-to-earth, sustainable backyards for eco-friendly living. Enjoy!
This outdoor space is as ambiguous as it is serene and luxurious. More an atrium than a back yard, weather-proof outdoor furniture lets the homeowners relax shaded from the sun. The cool white walls and architectural plants add a gently tropical feel.
This striking wooden-slatted gazebo takes its cues from everyone's childhood fantasy – the ultimate treehouse – to bring arboreal living down to earth in inimitable style.
This home emphasises natural flow from indoor to outdoor, with a covered terrace and dining area connecting a lounger-strewn lawn and the body of the house.
Minimal, modern design transforms this backyard pool area into a work of art. Asymmetric blocks of stone impart a degree of privacy, but moreover provide a vertical, visual counterpoint to the tranquil, horizontal surface of the swimming pool.
This simple woven wicker wall recalls ancient countryside practices, underlining this property's semi-rural location, providing shelter from wind (and the neighbours).
Another water feature – but one not intended for human bathing – this stone-ringed pond is filled with Japanese koi carp, creating a tranquil spot for reflection in the garden.
This compact garden makes extensive use of recycled materials to not only bring down costs but create an eye-catching space in which to kick back. Cable spools sunk into the earth provide soil stability, stepping stones in wet weather, and visually punctuate this long, side-slung backyard.
Increasingly, forward thinking homeowners are turning to their backyards to furnish their kitchens with the freshest produce possible. This functional garden has been filled with elevated planters made from recycled timber – an essential ecological gesture in today's world.
For a home with a green heart, take a look at: A modern and nature-friendly home in Japan