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Landscaping Your Backyard For Outdoor Entertaining

Summer is outdoor entertaining season, and it’s time to get the most out of your backyard. It’s easy to get your deck and porch ready for guests with attractive furniture and decor – but a great landscape design will make your backyard into a prime spot for visitors. Well-placed plantings can soften the edges of a deck, screen off unsightly views, and create separate areas for dining, relaxing, or play.

If you’re moving to a new home, layers of green and colorful summer flowers will get your outdoor spaces ready for guests. From fast, budget-friendly solutions to garden renovations, we’ve collected our favorite ideas here.

Patio Flowers for Outdoor Entertaining

Container gardens are a quick, low-cost way to add greenery to your deck or patio. Flowerpots let you put the color exactly where you need it, and you can add new plants during the season to keep the containers fresh and blooming. Mix various pot sizes, and add height to your display for extra impact:

Container gardens and flowerpots

Photo Courtesy of Signature Gardens


If your budget has room for a deck upgrade, consider adding a built-in bench. Benches are an easy way to add extra seating, and incorporating planters adds an upscale touch. Since they’re a permanent part of the deck, there’s no need to buy and store extra outdoor furniture for parties.

Planters for a kitchen garden.

Photo Courtesy of Fiberon


Planters near the grill area make the perfect spot for a kitchen garden. Plant salad greens and herbs for cooking, or grow cherry tomatoes on a trellis. A deep planter with an attached trellis is a great solution when you need to add privacy to your outdoor seating area. A wall of green helps keep your space cool, and having ready-to-pick produce is perfect for entertaining.

Dress Up A Deck Or Patio With Landscaping

A landscaped border between your deck or patio and the rest of the yard adds a sense of privacy, and softens hard edges. Use low shrubs and flowering plants for layers of color you can admire from the deck.

landscaped border between your deck or patio

Source: Lowe’s


If you have the budget for a larger project, building a pergola is a great way to bring landscaping to an outdoor seating area. At night, string outdoor lighting on a pergola for romantic dining. Grapevines, wisteria, and climbing roses are gorgeous climbing plants that provide plenty of shade. They’ll grow just as well in planters, so you can easily cover a pergola that’s close to the house.

pergola over an outdoor seating area

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide


This backyard renovation that includes built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees creates an elegant landscape for entertaining right beside the patio:

backyard renovation with built-in planting beds, a bench, and small trees

Photo Courtesy of Swell Homes

Landscape Design Creates Outdoor Entertaining Zones

Great spaces for outdoor entertaining have areas for both dining and relaxing. Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, creates “outdoor rooms” for different activities. Formal planting beds and low walls are attractive landscaping features that separate activity areas.

using Hardscaping, like stone or brick pavers, to create outdoor rooms

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design


Shaded areas are important – carefully placed trees can be as shady as a pergola. Seating areas incorporated into the landscaping let you interact with the garden, while a formal dining area is more practical. This project by Amy Martin Landscape Design has all the features of a great backyard for entertaining:

using shaded areas in your landscaping

Photo Courtesy of Amy Martin Landscape Design


A wide border garden makes a beautiful transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard. Use taller shrubs and small trees to screen off play equipment or a pet run. Small trees like Japanese maples or flowering almonds can be safely planted close to the house for privacy and shade.

using a wide border garden to transition between an outdoor dining area and the rest of the yard

Photo Courtesy of Garden Design


Backyard Destinations For Entertaining

If your yard is large enough, create a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat. Discovering a seating area behind a flowerbed or hedge is a nice surprise for guests, and you’ll enjoy it too.

a pergola that functions as a hidden destination where people can have a quiet drink and chat

Project Source: Lowe’s


If you have a large backyard, a dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining. While a permanent structure can be a big-budget project, an enclosed building isn’t necessary. This pergola by Timothy Lee Landscape Design

dining pavilion or pergola located away from the house makes an elegant destination for entertaining

Design by Timothy Lee Landscape Design


If formal dining isn’t your style, turn a corner of your lawn into a spot to relax. Throw in some curves to break up a boring, rectangular yard. Build a deck around a big tree, or incorporate a patio and fire pit into the landscape. This charming round patio has a matching curved pergola and a swing for fun:

Photo Courtesy of Renoguide


Even a simple landscaping project can completely transform the way you use your backyard. There’s nothing fancy about these chairs gathered around an open fire, but it’s certainly an inviting spot:

chairs gathered around an open fire pit

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Snow Photography


Our balmy summers here on the North Shore make it a wonderful area for summer entertaining. Larger properties are available with landscaped entertainment zones for dining, cocktails or hanging by the fire. Even the smallest cottage is sure to have an outdoor deck for soaking up the sun and relaxing in the evening. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Marblehead, Swampscott, Salem, or on the beautiful North Shore waterfront that’s built for entertaining, we’d love to help – just give Sagan Harborside a call at 781-593-6111

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