12 Ways to Make a Big Outdoor Statement

This post was published in March 2016 and updated May 2020.

Your outdoor spaces deserve just as much attention as the rooms inside your home. With just a few statement pieces, you can take your backyard from boring to beautiful. To get you inspired, here our top 10 favorites this season.

1. Garden Spheres

These simple round Volcanic Ash Spheres from Suzanne Kasler are great for adding sculptural presence to your outdoor landscape. Try grouping them together on a path or porch or use them as a large-scale centerpiece on a table. They may be new, but they take on the weathered appearance and texture of a centuries-old garden sculpture.

2. Bold Umbrellas

Summer is no time to be a wilting flower. Create a focal point in your outdoor room with a patio umbrella with personality. We love the idea of making the umbrella an essential part of the decor, rather than choosing a neutral fabric to make it disappear. Black and white is classic — and goes with everything — but stripes and fringe add a festive summer-loving vibe.

3. Serving Pieces

Whether you’re hosting big groups, an intimate outdoor party, or a pool day for your immediate family, a few serving pieces can give your space function and personality. Add all the entertaining bells and whistles to an outdoor etagere or baker’s rack. Or bring a standing beverage tub outdoors for keeping drinks handy.

Pergola outside with long dining table from Ballard Designs

4. Pergola

A pergola adds architectural interest to your backyard and offers respite from the afternoon sun, making it a super functional addition. Create privacy or delineate different zones with drapery panels.

Black and white towel cabana from Ballard Designs next to pool5. Striped Cabana

Our Positano Towel Cabana makes the perfect poolside companion — and a fun focal point. Use it to store towels, pool toys and floaties and other outdoor items or turn it into a bar for your next party. Hint: the black and white stripe pairs perfectly with the umbrella!

6. Outdoor Rug

The best way to define an outdoor area for seating or dining is with an outdoor rug. Choose a pretty color and pattern to create the look you want. 

Chaise lounges beside pool

7. Symmetry

Have you ever admired an arrangement of furniture, yet couldn’t put your finger on why it was so visually pleasing? Chances are it has something to do with symmetry, a key design principle that brings order to the outdoors. The repetition here of Suzanne Kasler’s stately Directoire furniture, paired with classic white cushions and umbrellas, brings a refined elegance poolside. The timeless motif is reinforced by the classical boxwood hedges behind it.

8. Lighting

The secret to making any evening memorable? Great lighting gives any room (indoors or out) a magical quality. Set your space aglow with candles, outdoor string lights, and even outdoor lamps. It’s not just pretty, it makes it easier to enjoy your space once the sun goes down. 

9. Porch Swing

Nothing says “lazy day” quite like a porch swing, especially our daybed-style Ceylon and Sunday styles. Outfitted with cushions, it’s the most comfortable seat outside the house. The only problem is, your guests may never leave.

10. Fire Pit

You don’t have to have a built-in fire pit to enjoy the ambiance and warmth of one. Create an instant gathering spot for friends and family with a portable fire pit and a few chairs and poufs. When summer heats up, you can easily stow it until fall.

11. Color

Use color to complement your home’s architectural style and any plants you have in your landscaping. We love bold cushions because they instantly give your outdoor space a fun feel.

Stylish outdoor games from Ballard Designs12. Outdoor Games

We’re always game for more ways to enjoy the fresh air, so we added style and durability to two favorite outdoor games. Our acrylic corn hole and outdoor ping pong table are the perfect addition to your outdoor room. 

Want more outdoor inspiration? See our favorite posts about decorating your porch or patio:

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.

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    Ann ette Nazari Suares

    April 24, 2016

    Stunning Collection 2016 Love it

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