Tame the Rectangle Design Tips for Rectangular Backyards

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Many homeowners find themselves with rectangular backyards – a standard shape that can feel a bit uninspired. However, with a little creativity and some clever garden design techniques, you can transform this basic layout into a beautiful and functional outdoor space. Here are some ideas to banish the boxy feel and create a backyard that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

Breaking Up the Box

The key to revamping a rectangular backyard lies in breaking up the harsh lines and creating a sense of movement and flow.

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Here are a few ways to achieve this:

Angled Garden Beds: Instead of following the straight lines of your property, consider placing your garden beds at an angle. This simple tweak creates a softer look and a more interesting path for navigating the space. Think of gentle curves rather than sharp corners.

Curvaceous Paths: Ditch the straight path leading directly from your patio to the back fence. Opt for a winding path that meanders around your angled garden beds. This not only adds visual interest but also encourages exploration and discovery within your garden.

Designated Seating Areas: Create dedicated seating areas throughout your garden. A cozy nook tucked beside a flowerbed or a spacious patio set at the back of the property – these designated spots invite relaxation and provide opportunities to enjoy different parts of your transformed backyard.

Planting with Purpose

Once you’ve softened the layout with angled beds and winding paths, it’s time to bring your garden to life with strategic planting. Here are some tips to consider:

Height Variation: Don’t settle for a flat plane of greenery. Introduce plants of varying heights to create depth and visual interest. Use tall grasses and perennials near your house to add a touch of drama, while lower-growing flowers and shrubs can fill in the foreground of your garden beds.

Softening Boundaries: Strategic planting around the entire perimeter of your backyard can effectively blur the harsh lines of the rectangular space. Climbing vines on fences and walls, overflowing flower boxes on the patio, and a thoughtfully placed hedge can all contribute to creating a more cohesive and inviting atmosphere.

Planting for Color and Texture: Play with color and texture to add personality to your garden design. Choose flowering plants in complementary or contrasting hues, and incorporate foliage with varying textures for a visually stimulating space.

Additional Considerations

Focal Points: Every garden should have a focal point, something that draws the eye and creates a sense of interest. This could be a beautiful sculpture, a trickling water feature, or even a brightly colored flowering tree.

Lighting: Don’t let your garden disappear after dark. Strategic outdoor lighting can extend the usability of your space and create a magical ambiance in the evenings. String lights, solar-powered lanterns, and well-placed spotlights can all contribute to the overall mood.

Accessories: Don’t forget the finishing touches! Incorporate garden furniture, decorative planters, and colorful throw pillows to personalize your space and make it feel truly inviting.


Transforming a rectangular backyard from ordinary to extraordinary is all about embracing the power of design. By breaking up the boxy layout with angled beds and curving paths, strategically planting for height, color, and texture, and incorporating creative elements like focal points and lighting, you can create a backyard oasis that reflects your unique style and provides a haven for relaxation and enjoyment. So, unleash your creativity and get ready to watch your rectangular backyard blossom into a beautiful and functional space.

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