A modern backyard is one that is characterised by clean lines and open spaces. It may contain a lawned area, or it may be paved or pebbled. There are no rules, other than it needs to be uncluttered and easy on the eye.
A modern backyard will often feature a garden of some description. Modern tastes lean toward native gardens, which are low maintenance and water-wise. It could also be a vegetable garden, or a kitchen garden full of aromatic herbs.
A modern backyard often has a deck for entertaining. The modern style is a square or rectangular deck, set low to the ground, so that it becomes an extension of the lawn or paved area. It will often have no steps or railings.
Again, if it is a warm-climate backyard, it will feature an outdoor cooking area, often a barbecue, and possibly also a bar. Natural materials such as stone or slate lend themselves best to such areas.
A modern backyard is a place for relaxed entertaining and may feature a swimming pool or spa for this purpose. Modern regulations have strict requirements regarding fencing and gates, so glass and low-profile steel would be the materials of choice, so as not to spoil the aesthetics.
A modern family backyard would feature an area set aside for children. Again, modern regulations stipulate play equipment must be structurally sound and the surrounding areas cushioned to prevent injuries, so a modern play centre may be more suitable than a homemade tyre swing under a tree.
Paths lead the eye (and the feet) from one area of the backyard to another. Modern paths are often square stone pavers set flush with the ground, perhaps following the line of a garden bed and with solar-powered garden lights placed evenly along their length.
If the backyard is small, it is best to have just one main feature. It could be a pond or fountain, with the soothing sounds of running water, or a rock garden with cacti and a single tasteful piece of sculpture. More than one feature tends to make a small area feel cluttered and over-crowded.
Fencing provides the backdrop to your yard and a modern backyard would ideally be framed by simple stone walls or Colorbond fencing in a neutral shade. If your backyard is surrounded by ugly wire or picket fences, you can soften the view and provide more privacy by planting shrubs around the borders or growing climbing plants along your fence line.
A backyard is a very personal space and no one can tell you how you should or shouldn’t utilise that space. Whether it’s a playground for the kids, a hub for entertaining, or a quiet oasis to recharge your batteries, how you decorate your backyard will depend on your own particular tastes.
The golden rule for a modern backyard though, is that less is more. Keep it simple and it will continue to reward you every time you step outside your back door.