1. Bocce Ball Court

With a bocce ball court, fire pit and minimal plantings, this water-wise Austin, Texas, backyard by is primed for parties. String lights around the perimeter illuminate the court at night and add to the ambiance.

Modern Landscape by B. Jane Gardens

B. Jane Gardens

2. Small on Lawn, Big on Play

A central rectangle of lawn offers comfy play space for little ones without giving over the entire backyard to grass. Surrounding the center green in this design are cement and gravel paths leading to a fire pit, covered seating area and deck.

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Modern Landscape by Seed Studio Landscape Design

Seed Studio Landscape Design

3. Cool Urban Hangout

This small San Francisco backyard was transformed from a jumbled mishmash of potted plants and wonky brickwork into a flowing space ideal for relaxing with friends. An outdoor living room positioned at the highest point in the yard provides a lookout over neighboring Bernal Hill, while the Cor-Ten steel fire pit creates a welcoming spot to gather in the evening.

Contemporary Landscape by Fork Garden Design

Fork Garden Design

4. No Mowing Needed

Artificial turf forms the centerpiece of this small city garden in London, where a real lawn would be challenging to care for. Surrounding the artificial turf with real plants and trees, as seen here, is a good way to help the fake stuff blend in.

Contemporary Landscape by P2 Design

P2 Design

5. Private Putting Green

For a golfer, having a private putting green may just be the ultimate backyard accessory. A seating area next to the artificial turf green allows spectators to lounge in comfort.

Eclectic Patio by Kayla Stark

Kayla Stark

6. Sweet and Petite

This Alabama backyard may be small but it still manages to pack in tons of features, from the raised deck dining area to the office shed. A hanging chair, gas fire table and mini-lawn area provide nooks to explore.

Traditional Landscape by Shapiro Didway

Shapiro Didway

7. Room for Entertaining

This luxurious yard was designed with entertaining in mind, with a series of outdoor rooms spanning the length of the yard. Shown in the foreground is a comfy outdoor living room zone with ample seating for a crowd. A path meanders by a small green space and ends at an outdoor fireplace and dining table.

Mediterranean Patio by Taylor Lombardo Architects

Taylor Lombardo Architects

8. Chic Mediterranean

Enjoy leisurely alfresco feasts on your own Mediterranean-style patio. Here, a long table sits between two rows of olive trees with an outdoor kitchen and fireplace on one end. The arrangement is ideal for preparing — and savoring — a meal.

Rustic Patio by Margie Grace - Grace Design Associates

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

9. Hot Tub

Unthirsty plantings and a hot tub nestled into a flagstone patio give this Southern California backyard a lush look. At the opposite end, a rustic stone fire pit continues the naturalistic look.

Contemporary Patio by Shapiro Didway

Shapiro Didway

10. Outdoor Cinema

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy dinner and a movie outdoors when it looks this good? Crisscrossing string lights overhead boost the ambiance and wide doors provide easy indoor-outdoor flow.