13 Exotic Ideas to Transform a Basic Backyard

Don’t bother booking that summer vacation in the tropics, because with a few well-chosen touches, you can enjoy a verdant oasis right in your own backyard. In fact, it doesn’t take much to transform a plain deck, patio, porch, or yard into a dazzling exotic hangout. Take some hints from these 13 backyards that demonstrate the power of details and show you how to create an inviting escape without breaking the bank.

Live Graciously in a Small Space

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Exotic Balcony Outdoor Space

An odd-shaped gallery is transformed into a cozy outdoor living room in this backyard revamp. Greenery, assorted accent pillows, and a smart mix of materials make for a lush and welcoming spot.

The DIY Playbook

Add Curtains to a Pergola

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Curtains on Pergola Beachy Backyard

Outfit a pergola with durable, UV-resistant outdoor drapery for a resort-worthy patio. The billowy curtains add a touch of luxury and provide privacy when needed.

A Beautiful Mess

Oh, the Wonders of Tropical Plants

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Tropical Plants Exotic Backyard

A monochromatic patio morphs into an exotic cabana, thanks to elegant curtains, dainty lights along the ceiling, and leafy tropical plants. In regions with ultracold winters, bring potted greenery indoors before frost arrives, then set the pots outside again when summer returns. 

Related: 18 Plants Perfect for Hanging Baskets

A Beautiful Mess

Carve Out a Tropical Corner

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Tropical Plants Backyard Seating Area

You don’t need decking or an expanse of pavers to define an inviting spot in your backyard. Large majesty palms, twinkly lights, and jewel-toned accents transform this simple corner into a tropical retreat. 

Related: The Best Ways to Light the Backyard

Jen Woodhouse

Bring the Beach to the Backyard

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Exotic Hammock Backyard

A small urban yard becomes a sandy shore with the help of plants, a comfy hammock, and bright, playful chairs. Tall cedar fencing blocks out surrounding buildings and provides the privacy that's crucial for a beach retreat.

Sweeten Stories

Use Texture to Add Interest

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Exotic Backyard Hardscapes

A bit of elbow grease and the right selection of plants turned a blank slate into a two-person sitting area. Plantings provide a green backdrop for the space, which is enhanced by the range of textures and a smart mix of materials.

Table and Hearth

Capture a Little Zen

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Exotic Backyard Succulent Garden

Clean lines and drought-tolerant plants pull together this Zen-style backyard garden. A simple fountain situated above the rock "pond" is highlighted with strategically placed lighting.

Studio H Landscape Architecture 

Compose a Natural Landscape

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Exotic Backyard Landscape

This backyard gem blends recreational and landscaped areas into a cohesive relaxation space, complete with a sitting area, fireplace, and a pool that fits naturally into the flow of the landscaping.

AZURO Concepts Inc. via Houzz

Design a Luxurious, Relaxing Cabana

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Luxurious Backyard Seating

In this dramatic patio transformation, repurposed furniture sits beneath a generous gazebo, creating a plush outdoor lounge that wouldn't seem out of place at an upscale hotel. Comfy pillows in a variety of colors add interest and contribute to the soft, soothing vibe.

Centsational Style

Off to Mykonos

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Blue Accents Exotic Backyard

A few bright accents help create a Greek-inspired backyard getaway in this small outdoor space. The blue pillow, rug, and pot bring life to a previously bare patio and pair well with the texture and color of the home’s exterior.

Centsational Style

Lay Down a Colorful Rug

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Colorful Rug Exotic Backyard

A vibrant rug ties this small patio together, transforming it from concrete jungle to relaxing oasis. A few carefully selected plants bring life and color to this comfortable nook that's just perfect for digging into your next read.

A Beautiful Mess

The Right Patio Furniture Makes All the Difference

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Exotic Backyard Furniture

A few key pieces of summery, comfortable furniture turn a drab back patio into a Mediterranean retreat in this outdoor makeover. Complete the breezy effect with colorful flowers, pillows, and greenery. 

Related: 8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio

Four Generations One Roof

Play with Plants

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Exotic Backyard Plants

Don’t let a small patio limit your vision. In this makeover, a bit of DIY, a host of container plants, and a vertical garden turn a formerly barren space into a California-style back porch.

Related: Growing Up: 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens

By Brittany Goldwyn

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