Unique backyard and patio design ideas include turning the patio into an outdoor room, using shrubs and plants instead of walls or railings, building an outdoor, open-hearth brick fireplace, and using overhanging branches to string overhead lighting. Another good idea when designing a patio and backyard space is to separate the patio area from the house with open yard space, incorporating a variety of garden sections and stone or brick walks in between.
Ideas for and pictures of a variety of backyard and patio spaces of all sizes are available at websites such as HouseBeautiful.com, Sunset.com, CountryLiving.com, HGTV.com and Houzz.com. Using shrubs such as hydrangea, lilac, rhododendron or clematis help soften the divide between patio and yard spaces while still providing borders. Flowering shrubs also add color and/or fragrance to both yard and patio spaces, either when they're free growing or climbing up a trellis or arbor system.
Backyard spaces with mature trees lend themselves to variety of unusual yard and patio designs. Using trees to define a patio space can help maximize yard space. Using the tree canopy and boughs to create unique lighting and design options can create a truly one-of-a-kind patio space in the yard, and is a great way to give shade to a hot area of the garden.