Dwell's Favorite 44 Outdoor Gardens Design Photos And Ideas

As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day usually draws crowds to beaches, parks, and campgrounds—it goes without saying, however, that this year, things will look different. With stay-at-home orders just starting to loosen up in some parts of the country, this long weekend calls for some creativity, and offers a chance to cultivate a greater understanding and appreciation for the holiday’s true meaning. Below, you’ll find some ideas for spending this Memorial Day with family while staying at a safe social distance from others.
To most eyes, Ezequiel Farca’s 1970s-style concrete home in Mexico City looked like a teardown. Even the lot itself—shallow and crammed against a steep hillside—wasn’t particularly alluring. But Farca saw through all the restraints to create a spa-like refuge in one of the world’s most energetic cities. "It’s is such a hectic place. You’re bombarded by so much information the moment you step into the streets," says Farca, who first gained prominence as a furniture and interior designer. "So we envisioned this house as a retreat, a kind of a temple." The rooftop courtyard is lined with a verdant mix of indigenous plants, including banana trees, palm trees, lion’s claw, Mexican breadfruit, and native vines. The chaise longues were designed for Farca’s EF Collection.
The backyard is one of this home’s best features. With a lot that nearly equals the square footage of the home itself, there was plenty of room to play with landscaping.
In the coastal town of Byron Bay in New South Wales, Australia, local practice Harley Graham Architects elevates the Australian "garden studio" with this 646-square-foot granny flat. Named Marvel Street Studio, the guesthouse is an addition to a home designed by Paul Uhlmann.
“The darker, midnight blue exterior paint color was used on all of the existing building elements to create more of a dynamic contrast with the new structure, which was painted white," says Ryan. Tomatoes, little gem lettuce, green beans, a tobacco plant, and a few strawberry bushes (tended by the kids) grow in the courtyard.
The South Elevation provides complete transparency through the main level to established gardens beyond
The internal courtyard is the heart of the home.
Stone stairs on the perimeter of a main courtyard ascend to a rooftop garden. Large windows on the other side of the living area overlook an enclosed water feature with a statue of a monk.
Water features pepper the gardens throughout.
Just off this kitchen is this gorgeous "edible garden" making garden-to-table dining a reality in your very own home.
A courtyard creates visual separation between the main house and the addition.
The garden has been prepared with electrical and plumbing services in case they are required for the future installation of a summer house.
The kitchen, the property's only modern addition, has been created from a garden courtyard. The space has been enclosed by a glazed roof and wall with sliding door, yet it retains its open feel.
A common space features Hee Welling’s About a Chair 12 for Hay and a Stick round table by Valsecchi 1918.
The villas provide an intimate setting for guests to unwind in the privacy of their own home away from home.
A peaceful corner of Casa Meleku.
Architectural designer Sebastian Mariscal and project manager Jeff Svitak created a house in Venice, California, for Michael and Tamami Sylvester. Known as Dwell Home Venice for its role as an exemplification of modern architecture, the house is an homage to indoor-outdoor living. Photo by Coral von Zumwalt.
Torcuato House Pavilion - Besonías Almeida arquitectos
New addition and patio from outdoor garden: the concrete terrace extends into the garden, and receives daylight over the house from the southern sun.
Planters have been placed around the pleats to create pockets of sky gardens on the perimeter of the building, with some featuring steps that lead to other outdoor terraces.
In contrast to the industrial neighborhood, the views from the upper-level deck look directly into the canopies of surrounding established trees.
The rear of the house features Victorian brick, a modern extension, and Velfac windows. Landscape designer Matthew Wright was inspired by the art of Henri Rousseau when choosing plants to set amid the garden’s Dorset pebbles.
Sitting on the edge of a lake in the Mornington Peninsula, this house by Melbourne-based MA Architects was designed as a series of teak-clad modules with the main living areas in the center and large deck that extends from the living room.
Rear wall of courtyard
Private garden with deck
Designed by Boston-based architect Sebastian Mariscal, this house, which celebrates the best of Californian indoor-outdoor living, was designed to frame views of the trees and the surrounding landscape.
On approach to the guesthouse, the family keeps an edible garden in concrete planters by the property’s landscape designer, Cielo Sichi of Landfour.
In the back, ivy climbs across the garage’s raw cedar cladding next to a gate that allows access to the laneway—but the boys prefer to climb the fence.
Lynn
The west patio
The west patio opens up to a grass area that can be enjoyed by many.
Fashion designer Josie and her husband Ken Natori are big fans of traditional Japanese architecture, so when Brooklyn-based practice Tsao & McKown Architects designed their home in Pound Ridge, New York, they used a heavy, exposed-timber structure, and included Japanese-style gardens and landscaping.
Abernathy House

Whether it's a backyard patio, an infinity pool, or a rooftop terrace, these modern outdoor spaces add to the richness of daily life. Escape into nature, or get lost in city views. Wherever you are, let these outdoor photos take you somewhere new with inspirational ideas for yards, gardens, outdoor tubs and showers, patios, porches, and decks.