15 Modern Backyard Ideas to Try This Summer

Light and bright modern backyard with low couches.

Molly Rose Photo for DMAR Interiors

While a modern design may seem intimidating and a bit outside the box for outdoor spaces, it’s actually quite easily achieved as long as you follow its basic design rules.

Clean lines, neutral colors, geometric shapes, functional decor, and minimalism are just a few of the key principles of modernism. If you need some inspiration on how to apply modern design in your backyard, we’ve got you covered. Here are 15 modern backyard ideas to try this summer.

  • 01 of 15

    Keep Furniture Minimal

    Modern backyard with minimal furnishings and ambient lighting.

    @huntergreennyc / Instagram

    This super trendy and minimal backyard by Huntergreen Garden Design features just a few practical furnishings to allow the landscaping to shine through. Built-in seating along the back fence and plenty of ambient lighting create an inviting space that needs little more than a few chairs to make it feel complete.

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  • 02 of 15

    Opt for Square Pavers

    Outdoor dining area with large modern pavers.

    Acme Real Estate courtesy of Yardzen

    Large square pavers are in when it comes to modern backyard design, and this cutting-edge design by Yardzen proves it. To get the look, space them out slightly and add contrasting gravel or sand in between to create a geometric design and make the pavers pop.

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  • 03 of 15

    Add Statement Planters

    Small seating area in a modern backyard with large planters.

    Sasha Reiko Photography for Yardzen

    No need to go all out with elaborate garden beds if you’re aiming for a modern look. Several statement planters featuring small trees, shrubs, grasses, or flowers are all that you need to make a minimal and contemporary space.

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  • 04 of 15

    Stick to Black and White

    Small backyard with modern black and white design.

    Brana Designs

    Opting for a neutral color palette is always recommended when it comes to modern design. Black and white is a classic pairing that feels instantly modern and is simple to put together. This chic space by Brana Designs features primarily white furnishings with pops of black to provide contrast and drama.

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  • 05 of 15

    Add an Unexpected Pop of Color

    Modern, clean backyard with a large pool and bright yellow chaise lounges.

    Harold Gomes for Maydan Architects

    While neutral palettes are the goal, don’t be afraid to add a pop of unexpected color to your backyard, particularly in a bold or neon shade. Maydan Architects used neon yellow chaise lounges as the finishing touches on this modern poolside design.

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  • 06 of 15

    Try Horizontal Fencing

    Modern backyard with horizontal fence.

    @mgbbuildinggroup / Instagram

    Most wooden fences are made using vertical fence boards, so if you’re going for a more modern design, try installing fence boards horizontally as MGB Building Group did in this downtown Toronto backyard. The result is contemporary and unexpected, not to mention super stylish.

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  • 07 of 15

    Keep Decor Minimal

    Modern backyard with a pergola and minimal decor.

    Molly Rose Photo for DMAR Interiors

    Modern design requires clean lines and uncluttered space, so avoid going overboard with decor and accessories. Instead, choose a few practical decor pieces like a fruit bowl or a small planter with herbs inside to finish off the design.

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  • 08 of 15

    Choose Low-Seated Sofas

    Light and bright modern backyard with low couches.

    Molly Rose Photo for DMAR Interiors

    Low seating is a quick way to give any space a modern feel. Just take a look at this modern outdoor seating arrangement designed by DMAR Interiors. Add an outdoor rug and some shade cover to make the space truly functional and inviting.

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  • 09 of 15

    Add a Concrete Patio

    Modern concrete backyard patio.

    @huntergreennyc / Instagram

    When it comes to modern design, clean lines, and minimalism are the goal, and nothing checks those boxes quite like a concrete patio. Opt for large concrete slabs with a smooth finish over smaller and more intricate designs, and use furniture and landscaping to add texture and contrast to the space.

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  • 10 of 15

    Incorporate Different Textures and Materials

    Large modern backyard with a plunge pool.

    Kenton Waltz for Yardzen

    When furnishings and decor are minimal, adding interest through the use of different textures and materials is important. This backyard design by Yardzen incorporates wood, concrete, metal, and fabric in strategic ways to create contrast and visual interest without making the space feel cluttered.

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  • 11 of 15

    Add a Fire Table

    Large modern backyard with a fire table and couches.

    @proscape.land.design / Instagram

    Fire tables are a great accessory for modern backyards. Not only are they stylish and super functional, but they are literally more modern than alternatives like open fireplaces or fire pits. Choose a fire table with a minimal design to achieve that modern look.

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  • 12 of 15

    Make It Moody and Dramatic

    Modern black and white backyard.

    McNeill Photography for Allweather Landscape

    The exaggerated use of black in this trendy backyard by Allweather Landscape gives the space a super modern and moody look. The use of white furnishings with light wood and textured plants like grasses and palms keeps the space from feeling too dark while providing plenty of visual interest.

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  • 13 of 15

    Add a Pergola

    Modern backyard with a large pergola.

    @interiorwife / Instagram

    Pergolas are a great addition to any modern backyard because they are sleek and minimal structures that provide shade and make a space more functional. Instagram user @interiorwife added some string lights and tarps to her pergola for some added shade and ambient lighting.

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  • 14 of 15

    Incorporate Geometric Patterns

    Modern backyard with geometric design.

    Sasha Reiko Photography for Yardzen

    This modern backyard may have a neutral color palette, but it’s certainly not lacking in interest thanks to the bold use of geometric shapes and designs. Square pavers and angular furniture are accented by high-contrast patterns on the throw pillows and ottomans for a super contemporary look.

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  • 15 of 15

    Match Your Patio Furniture

    Thin backyard patio with a pool and patio furniture.


    Another way to keep things simple in a modern design is to use the same patio furniture throughout the space, rather than mixing and matching different styles. This provides a simple backdrop for features like a large pool and clean landscaping to shine.