When you’re looking at a blank slate in your outdoor space, it can be hard to decide where to start. Where should the patio go? Flagstone or gravel? How should you arrange flower beds? Do you really want to deal with pool maintenance?
Luckily, we live in the information age, and inspiration is never far from your fingertips. So we’ve put together a list of five abundant resources where you can ogle all the drool-worthy pools, pergolas, and patios that you could ever wish for!
1. Architectural Digest
If you think Architectural Digest is limited to grand interiors, you’d be wrong. (At least about the “interiors” part.)
What started out as a California-based architectural trade magazine has evolved to a sumptuous catalog of truly enviable homes. AD’s house tours of wealthy celebrities and tech magnates show us plebians how the elite live their daily lives.
But it’s not all lifestyles of the rich and famous. While their website certainly devotes space to grand gardens, patios, and pools, they also provide helpful tips, tours of famous gardens around the world, and all the latest trends in horticulture.
Check out this list of beautiful small outdoor spaces to get started!
Instagram is a platform for a lot more than selfies and overhead food shots. It has literally millions of photos of gorgeous gardens, patios, and yards for you to explore.
So how do you find them? With the magic of hashtags.
On mobile, click on the little magnifying glass at the bottom of your Instagram feed, and type in one of these popular gardening hashtags:
Then click on “Tags”, and you’ll be able to select one of the incredibly popular gardening tags on Instagram. If you’re on a desktop computer, you can just type one of the hashtags into the search bar at the top of the screen.
Here, you’ll find inspiration galore from around the world, as well as accounts to follow like @thehappygardeninglife and @dacha_blog. The content at @dacha_blog is in Russian, but you don’t need to speak the language to appreciate the beauty.
Don’t do this unless you have plenty of time to kill, because you’ll be down this rabbit hole for a while.
3. This Old House
What started as a little public access show dedicated to remodeling period properties back in 1979 has proven its staying power. They’ve expanded beyond their TV show to a monthly magazine and a great website, equal parts visual inspiration and helpful how-to. But if you do want to watch the show, most episodes are available for free on their website!
You don’t have to be renovating an old Victorian farmhouse to appreciate This Old House. Their photos feature enough meandering walkways, eclectic outdoor art, and profusions of blooms to inspire you. It doesn’t matter if your house was built in 1905 or 2005. You can find the flagstone patio of your dreams and get step-by-step instructions for how to install it yourself!
4. Local Public Gardens or Home Tours
Pictures are one thing, but there’s nothing quite like being able to wander around a space in person. You can’t smell the roses through the internet (yet)!
Does your city have a local botanical garden? These are a great resource to help you home in on native plant species. Spend an afternoon wandering the paths to see what you like! Many botanical gardens also provide classes where you can learn about local plants and how to care for them.
Or, do a quick Google search for “garden tours near me”. Many cities and towns have annual garden tours, where local green thumbs open up their homes to visitors. You can spend a weekend seeing how real people have set up their outdoor space, and adopt what will work for you.
What would a list of visual inspiration resources be without Pinterest? The “pinboard” site is inspiration central. You can search their user-generated catalog for images of outdoor living space, poolside cabanas, flower beds, gardening tips, and more.
Many images are also linked to tutorials, so you can learn how to DIY projects in your own yard to cut down on costs.
To stay organized, you can create your own board of outdoor inspiration, where you can save all the pins you find. And you can create pins from other websites like Architectural Digest, Instagram, and This Old House. Just download their “Pin it” button to your browser so you can easily save images from any website.
The internet is a wealth of ideas where you can find enticing photos of outdoor spaces to suit any house type or climate.
But remember that the pictures you’ll see are from around the globe. Just because you fell in love with that picture of an English country garden doesn’t mean it’s possible to grow one in an arid desert climate. Nor would it be stylistically appropriate in an ultra-modern minimalist home.
So get out there and see what your neighbors are doing. Adopt what you love and bring it home to your own little corner of the world.