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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

39 Backyard Ideas to Help You Declutter, Organize, and Design Your Perfect Summer Oasis!

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

wood bench and bistro table with plant under a tree
Late afternoon in the backyard

Want to spend more time outdoors …

Want to cook outdoors …

Have guests over but…

Well you can!

It’s time to take your organizing superpowers outside and use them on your backyard.

Use some of the ideas in this blog to turn your yard into a beautiful, fun, relaxing space. A place for you and your family to safely enjoy.

Before you start organizing your backyard or any space, it is crucial that you are clear about why you want to do it. What are the benefits to you? Knowing your reasons for why you want this change keeps you motivated!

As important, decide on a clear vision or picture of how you want the backyard to look and feel. Your vision is your road map to your destination - a backyard transformed into a summer oasis.

I’m transforming my own backyard.

Organizing my backyard has been a real gift. It’s kept me more positive and focused.

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed limitations on everyone’s travel plans. As much as I wanted to go somewhere, I decided to stay home. I decided to take charge of something I could control – the design of my own backyard.

When life hands you a lemon🍋. Make some lemonade🥃.

Know WHY you want to transform your backyard!

Know HOW you want your backyard DESIGNED and how you want it to make you FEEL!

I knew why I wanted to organize my backyard and generally how I wanted the yard to look and feel.

For example:

  1. I wanted to organize my backyard because I enjoy puttering in my garden. I love flowers, fresh herbs, and homegrown tomatoes and hate weeds. Don’t enjoy kneeling in the dirt because it hurts my knees. I wanted a very large waist-level planter.

  2. I wanted a private attractive outdoor space to relax and snooze in.

  3. I also wanted a safe place where I was proud to invite a few people over. Considering COVID-19 protocol a spacious seating area was important.

  4. I wanted my space to be green, cool, and peaceful.

  5. I wanted to use recycled and reclaimed materials.

👉 When you envision your ideal backyard oasis take into account:

  • The size of the space.

  • Your budget.

  • The hours of sunlight.


Pretty woman of colour holding glass of cold lemonade
Grab a glass of lemonade - look at your backyard

  • Take the time to think about why you want to organize your backyard.

  • Think about how you want to feel in your backyard.

  • How do you want it to function? Which outdoor zones might you create. If you have children or have children over, you may want to create a kid zone. If you are a gardener a garden zone. If you play sports a sports zone. A seating area. A zone for barbequing.

  • How do you want it to look? Sketch out a plan.

When you've figured out why and what you want, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.


Miscellaneous stuff in backyard
Declutter backyard

No point in organizing things that you don't want or need.

👉Take these five steps:

  1. Declutter before you start organizing your backyard.

  2. Gather things that are lying around.

  3. Sort them into categories: sports gear, garden equipment, tools etc..

  4. Decide what you want to keep or delete.

  5. The keepers need a place to live. The deleted give away, donate or trash.


Patio with potted plants wrought iron table with umbrella and 4 matching chairs
Organized Patio

Organize your backyard.

You want to store items close to where you use them. That will make them easier to find and easier to clean up when you're done!

👉 Here are some common categories and storage ideas:

2 bikes hanging in garage
Hang bikes in garage

Sports Equipment

  • Store sports equipment in transparent containers in your garage or shed.

  • Install wall or ceiling mounts for fishing poles and bicycles.

  • Install net bags to hold balls.


Blue and white patio storage box containing decorative pillows
Weather-resistant storage box
  • Put pillows and seat cushions in a weather-resistant storage box. Can be used as a bench. Makes a great addition to your patio furniture. Use Sand and Sisal's DIY outdoor storage box tutorial to build it yourself.Sand and Sisal’s DIY outdoor storage box tutorial.

  • Group like items together in transparent lidded containers. Items such as sunscreen, sunglasses, citronella candles, paper plates, etc.

  • Store containers on durable weather resistant shelves outside or in the garage. Hang grilling equipment from the grill in waterproof bags. Or store equipment on small water proof table next to the grill.


Large garden tools rakes and shovels hang in garage
Hang Large tools from a piece of wood
  • Store items on the walls or suspend them from the ceiling.

  • Use pegboards, simple hooks, or a wall system to store larger tools on the wall. Tools like rakes, loppers, and shovels.

  • Store less-used items (like seasonal supplies) higher up.

  • Store your go-to items (like tools) on the wall.

  • Use a stand to store gardening tools in one space.

  • Use a hose reel to store your garden hose.

  • See blog for guide to garage organizing

Potting bench.

  • Store your gardening tools and supplies.

  • Useful as a workspace and as a nice focal point in your yard.


Heat and light, bugs, and of course physical distancing are prime considerations.

What you do. What you serve. How you decorate your backyard. All should contribute to the style and mood you want to create.

👉 Here are some strategies to stage and decorate your backyard:

  1. Keeping cool. Shade and privacy

We love the sun but who wants to be hot and uncomfortable? Encourage that cool feeling. Shade provides physical relief. Water features such as a fountain or fish pond provides mental respite.

There are lots of ways to get shade:

  • The cantilever umbrella is great for maximizing open space.

Orange Cantilever umbrella shades patio
Cantilever umbrella maximizes open space

  • Attach outdoor shades to your home. They'll also fasten to a pergola or other structure to block or filter sunlight.

  • An Outdoor umbrella with light-weighted stand makes it easy to move around the yard.

  • Add a Patio Umbrella to a table. To stay in the shade, make sure the umbrella extends at least 2 feet past the table all around.

  • Enjoy a Pergola. A free-standing structure with a lattice roof for partial shade and air circulation.

Pergola over stone patio with cushioned chairs and outdoor fireplace
Pergola for partial shade and air circulation.

  • Sunshades are some of the best temporary deck shade ideas for outdoor areas. They’re easy to move or re-position as the angle of the sun changes.

  • There are lots of simple water features either to DIY or buy. Check out this article at HOMEBNC for water feature ideas:

Bamboo and stone fountain
Small fountain provides big relief

2. Invest in lighting.

Extend your time outside. Create ambiance.

The options for outdoor lighting range from simple to high-tech.

Low tech:

  • Lanterns

  • Candles

  • Twinkling outdoor string lights or Thomas Edison string bulbs.

High tech:

  • Sit Deck post lights on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar-powered.

  • Portable lantern lights designed to look like they belong on a coffee table.

  • Insert Solar garden lights along walkways or in flower beds.

  • Fit LED walkway lights under stairs and around walkways. They improve safety and are battery-powered.

Solar garden lights illuminate walkway
Solar garden lights illuminate walkway

3. Create Dividers With Gravel

pea gravel beside planter
Create areas with gravel
  • If you want to create a dedicated place for dining in your yard, use gravel instead of grass to identify this area. Add an outdoor rug to stop the chairs from getting stuck. The rug can also serve as a focal point and visual boundary.

4. Go Au Naturel

Adding Greenery provides shade, privacy, and beauty.

  • Tend your garden. Keep it weeded watered and well-loved. Consider a pollinator garden attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and honeybees during the day.

Butterflies foraging amongst Lantana
Butterfly Garden

  • Plant Trees to naturally shield your patio or deck from the hot summer sun. Deciduous trees give plenty of shade in the summer and shed their leaves in the fall.

  • Grow Vines for Shade.

  • Use a trellis, lattice or arbor to train up fast-growing vines.

  • They provide a privacy screen and leafy shade. Some even have attractive blooms.

Vine-covered trellis behind patio chairs
Trellis provides shade

  • Clusters of potted plants soften a concrete or monotone space.

Variety of potted tropical plants
Variety of potted plants provide interest

5. Serve Cold Refreshments.

Set up a cold refreshments mini bar for outdoor happy hour. Invite a few triple-vaccinated guests. Serve drinks in insulated drinking glasses to keep cool. Serve cold snacks like tea sandwiches, devilled eggs, crostini, and salad rolls. For some great ideas check out realsimple "serving safe food for entertaining".

Stainless Steel Cooler with ice and drink bottles
Stainless Steel Cooler as mini-bar

Love the one you're with.

As you know, hosting a big cookout or throwing a party is still NOT A GOOD IDEA.

However, You can still have a good time.

Family mealtime can be a special feast. Why not make it so!

Young Mother and Father with daughter eating dinner on patio
Family Meals

How about a round of croquet or bocce ball before or after dinner.

Excited couple Playing Croquet
Playing Croquet

When the world hands you a lemon, make lemonade. Do something positive. Declutter, organize, and design your piece of paradise. Create a getaway steps from your own back door. Try some of the backyard ideas in this blog and may you enjoy a safe summer in your backyard oasis


In and Out Organizing is a Toronto-based professional home organizing business.

We enjoy our backyard oasis in Roncesvalles Village.

Let us help you organize your backyard or any space to enjoy this summer and all year round. Your safety is our first priority. Find out how we can help you. Call Brad at 416 859-0518.


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