With spring taking center stage now, you’re already dreaming of the many days and nights you’ll spend in your backyard with family and friends. You are in good company, too.

Outdoor spaces have long been considered appealing features to homeowners. However, an increasing number of homeowners emerged from the COVID-19 quarantine with a greater appreciation for the outdoors. If you’re not completely satisfied with your current backyard design, you can easily give your outdoor space a backyard makeover to turn it into the oasis you’ve always wanted.

Here’s a rundown of nine modern backyard ideas for you to consider in 2023.

1. Top Modern Backyard Ideas Include All-White Yard

One of the top modern backyard design ideas to consider is introducing a white palette to your outdoor space.

With contemporary design, less is usually more. So, start applying this concept by simplifying your outdoor space’s color scheme.

For instance, introduce a sofa and chairs with white cushions on your backyard pavers. You can also create a white pergola to cover your outdoor kitchen and dining area. This will give your outdoor space an airy and open feel.

Not feeling the all-white vibe? Feel free to add vibrant, earthy, or moody tones (like deep blue or gray) to your space as well. Just be sure to stick to no more than a couple of primary tones.

2. Statement Backdrop

Another way to add a modern touch to your backyard is to incorporate a freestanding stone wall into your design.

A garden wall will instantly grab your guests’ attention and therefore become a show stopper. That’s because the wall will instantly bring a sophisticated feel to your exterior scheme.

A soothing waterfall and tropical plants will also give your wall area a much-needed pop of balance, movement, and color.

You can further make your yard look contemporary by adding a beautiful outdoor mirror to your statement wall. You may also want to paint the wall a bold hue. No matter what approach you take, try to repeat your colors, plants, and materials around the entire backyard to pull everything together. 

3. Outdoor Room

Yet another way to create the perfect modern-looking backyard is to create your own outdoor room.

This type of room will make it easy for you to maximize your yard no matter the weather. It will also create the secondary hub you have been wanting for entertaining friends and loved ones.

A luxurious-looking, louvered pergola will instantly make your yard look classy and modern. It’s also convenient, as you can adjust it to enjoy sunshine or shade depending on the weather and your mood.

To make the space even homier and more inviting, add a bar area and bespoke fireplace to the mix. Sun loungers will also make the space more comfortable and relaxing.

As you seek to create your outdoor retreat, consider using a porcelain slab as well. It’s the perfect material for a contemporary paved backyard due to its ease of maintenance and sleek appearance.

4. Raised Garden Bed Design

You can also make your backyard look more modern by adding a raised garden bed to the space.

A picturesque landscape usually allows the eye to meander. Clear relationships should exist between spaces. Raised beds and half walls together can help you achieve this look and feel.

Consider using steel containers for your raised beds. Then, fill your beds with flowers offering pops of orange, yellow, or purple — whatever colors you like in your garden. Flowers like blanket flowers, daylilies, and hardy geraniums are great options (more on plants later).

Feel free to also add a water feature to the center of each bed to serve as the ideal focal point.

5. Outdoor Lighting

Let there be light! Outdoor lighting will further up your backyard’s atmosphere when the sun starts to set. Plus, it is practical.

Consider adding recessed spotlights to your pavers. You can also add structural wall lighting to illuminate your backyard path (more on paths later).

Strip lighting is another simple yet impactful way to add lighting to your space beneath your step risers.

You can also add stake spotlights to your garden beds to show off your plants’ form. Garden bed lighting can even create a dramatic shadow on a nearby wall or fence for the ultimate contemporary look.

6. Modern Landscaping

As you look for plants for your modern landscape, consider incorporating a muted green and white palette into your yard to highlight parts of your yard that are in the shade. The subtle variation in color will give your yard the consistency found in modern backyard designs in Illinois without being bland.

If you want to give your yard an even more contemporary touch, add ornamental grasses to it. Examples of these include Switchgrass and Juncus. These types of plants lend both softness and structure to spaces.

Bright and deep colors can also give your yard a modern feel if you carefully select them and coordinate them with other elements of your project. Flowers that can help you achieve this include purple-blazing star flowers, orange zinnias, and blue salvia.

When you choose your garden elements, try to repeat them often throughout your yard. This will simplify the maintenance process for you. After all, you won’t have to master how to care for multiple plant species — only a couple or few of them.

landscape design company can help you strategically plant your greenery to give you the ultimate modern backyard design.

7. Natural Elements

As you explore materials for your modern backyard, consider going with modular, large-format hardscapes as well. Hardscapes with neutral hues and smooth lines are wonderful options.

If possible, leave spaces around and between your hardscaping. This will allow room for low-growing green plants to thrive. The greenery will make your yard even more visually interesting and naturalistic.

Alternatively, you can place stones or gravel in your hardscaping gaps to create a satisfying contrast in your textures. With this approach, you can get even more creative with geometric patterns and layouts.

Concrete is an exceptionally modern hardscape option, so you can’t go wrong with it for your yard. You’ll also love the fact that concrete is easy to warm up and soften with natural stone pieces in a variety of textures and colors.

You may also want to add some matching concrete or stone planters with plants to your hardscape for the ideal finishing touch with a hint of greenery.

8. Garden Pathway

Every modern backyard in Chicago needs some garden paths. This will make it easier for guests to navigate your yard in a beautiful, classy way. Plus, paths will allow you to use top-tier materials and straight lines to create the style statement you have always wanted to make.

For instance, you can use stone pavers to create steps that look like they’re floating. The stones’ gray tones and straight lines will give your yard a sleek, organic feel.

9. Contemporary Furniture

Finally, no modern backyard space is complete without contemporary furniture.

Furniture is more than just functional. If you select your furnishings carefully, they can quickly become stylish, too.

In addition to adding sofas and chairs to your backyard oasis, be sure to incorporate a backyard fire pit into the scene. These types of pits are great for bringing both warmth and movement to contemporary spaces.

Backyard pits come in a wide range of streamlined and sleek styles. However, a failsafe choice is the modern-looking fire table. If you place one of these at the center part of your outdoor seating area, you can be sure that everybody will gather around it when night begins to fall.

The right table features clean lines and simple detailing for a quiet, simple addition to your landscape. Also, choose a table that is relatively low in height. This will keep the fire table from overwhelming the surrounding furnishings.

In addition, choose a table that has wide ledges. They are perfect for holding small plates and cocktails during those afternoon or nighttime gatherings.

How We Can Help

The top modern backyard ideas in Chicago include creating an all-white design and introducing a statement backdrop. You can also use contemporary furniture and plants like ornamental grasses to give your yard a modern design in 2023.

At Martin John, we take pride in transforming homeowners’ outdoor living areas. We will handle the entire process from the design stage to the maintenance stage.

Get in touch with us to learn more about our services and book a consultation today!