When you spend more time outdoors, you just feel better, so why not give yourself a reason to spend more time outside each day?  

There’s no better way to upgrade your lifestyle than to make your backyard feel like the best room in the house. With the right vision and the help of some pro designer tips and tricks, you can transform an ordinary yard into your own personal oasis.

At Forest Cooperage, we’ve made it our mission to bring people closer to nature with products designed to draw you outdoors, all year round. We’re sharing expert advice, inspiration and our top backyard landscape design ideas to help you create a space that you’ll enjoy season after season.

backyard landscape design

Planning a Backyard Landscape Design

Before you dive into your backyard renovation, take a moment to think about what you want to do and how you want to feel in your outdoor space. Trends may come and go but create a space that’s tailored to your own lifestyle and wellness goals and you can expect to get years of enjoyment.

Will you use your yard for socializing, relaxing, recreation or a bit of each? Do you have kids, grandkids or pets who need space to play? Are you an avid gardener or would you rather have a low-maintenance yard? What’s the climate like where you live? What does wellness mean to you?

Questions like these will help you focus on getting the basic requirements before you get into the fun part: designing your dream backyard. 

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Whether your backyard is big or small, be strategic about how you design the space to make it both beautiful and functional. 

Though we may be known for extreme weather, here in Canada people are looking for ways to extend their outdoor living season making outdoor rooms one of the top renovation trends. By designing your space around features that allow you to use your outdoor space no matter the weather you’ll get more value from your backyard design.

Think Beyond the Summer: Our top tip is to consider what you would need to feel comfortable each season. A pergola for shade in the summer? A hot tub, sauna or fire pit to keep you warm in the winter? A pool or cold plunge to cool down or soak up the benefits of contrast therapy

Consider Sustainability: Opt for native plants that require less water and maintenance, use permeable surfaces to reduce runoff, and integrate eco-friendly materials into your design.

Create Zones for Different Activities: To make the most of your backyard, divide it into separate spaces for various activities. Consider spaces for outdoor dining, lounging, gardening, wellness and play. 

Outdoor Lighting: Incorporate functional and accent lighting to highlight key features, create a cozy ambiance, and make your backyard inviting after sunset.

Incorporate Natural Materials: Embrace the beauty of natural materials like wood, stone, and plantings to blend your outdoor living space with the environment 

Add Privacy: If you want to create a true oasis, consider ways to add privacy to your backyard. Tall plants, trellises, or fencing can create privacy around a hot tub or sauna and provide a sense of separation from your neighours.

Make a wishlist of key features to design your backyard around. Go ahead, we’ll wait! 


backyard cedar hot tub

Backyard Landscape Design Tips

From sites like Arc Digest or Houzz to Pinterest, Instagram and Tik Tok, there are endless places to scroll for inspiration. We love a good old-fashioned print magazine or coffee table design book too. 

Seeing is one thing, but experiencing a design firsthand will give you so much more to consider. If you can, pay a visit to physical spaces that you’re drawn to, like resorts, hotels, bnbs or spas.

We asked Nick Van Buren, founder of Havn Saunas, for his design advice. Havn has been recognized for the artful design of their floating urban spa, featuring saunas, hot tubs and cold plunges, all set in a park-like setting on a reclaimed barge.

“Carry consistency of conceptual drivers from the macro to the micro. Pick a design element that can be used consistently; it will tie the different elements together and make it feel cohesive and well thought out. It’s calming for people to see a constant design.” -Nick Van Buren

Inspired by the merging of the building and the natural world, Nick points out that at Havn all built elements are square and ridged (saunas, furniture, wall panelling) and all-natural elements are circular, (windows, garden planters, water, hot tubs). Ideas like this can transform your landscape design from ordinary to remarkable.

Finding inspiration is the fun part, but honing in on your style and sticking to it is key to a cohesive backyard design. Our friends at Yardzen explain, “In the best designs, planting, materials, furnishings, and decorative elements all work together to collectively express a focused look and feel.”

Bottom line? Determine the design aesthetic you’d like to achieve and stick to it when making design decisions. Are you modern or traditional? Formal or informal? Maybe you’re somewhere on the spectrum or something else entirely, but whatever it is, consider it your guiding light. 

To Hire a Designer or DIY your Backyard Landscape Design

Ready to roll with your wishlist of design features, Pinterest boards filled with inspiration and a personalized design aesthetic to guide you? Great! The next step is to bring it all together in a cohesive layout that you can build into your existing space.

The question is, should you DIY your design or hire a professional who brings design education, skills and experience to the table. There’s no right or wrong answer here! 

If it’s within reach, a designer can help you create a landscape that’s beautiful and functional, whether you choose an online option, a talented local designer or an internationally recognized landscape architect. On the other hand, it can be incredibly rewarding to design your own space just the way you want it. 

It’s not always an easy decision. Take these questions into account:

  • How extensive is your backyard?
  • What are your goals for your design?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you have prior experience or an interest in learning about design?
  • How much time do you have?

Whatever you put into your backyard landscape design will come back to you in spades. Your backyard can be a place to make memories with loved ones, an escape from the daily grind or your own wellness oasis, whatever that means to you. 

Looking for more backyard landscaping ideas? We’re endlessly inspired by our fantastic customers