5 beautiful ways to fuse your interior design style with your backyard – and reflect your personality in the garden

Interior and garden design experts share ideas on how to blur the lines between the indoors and out

Modern yard landscape with tropical planting and defining natural materials
(Image credit: Lisa Romerein / Assembledge+)

Indoor-outdoor spaces are the epitome of summer living. And if you have the most gorgeous interior design scheme indoors, it is only natural that you will want to reflect its beauty outside.

The best-designed backyards always feel convivial and equipped for the warmer months when outdoor entertainment is on the agenda, so if you have your indoor dining area perfectly styled, you'll want to make your outside table just as beautiful. 

Whether you are designing a new planting scheme from scratch, or hope to make your yard space feel more dynamic for the summer season, we have spoken to experts in the world of outdoor living and interior design for their advice on how best to reflect the style and personality of your home outdoors, for you and guests to enjoy.

brick pathway through flower beds with a slatted fence at the end of the path

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs/Future)

How can I reflect my personality in my backyard?

If it is only once in a blue moon that you would find a pair of secateurs in hand, it is only natural that you might avoid designing your yard.But if styling your couch and coffee table sounds like ideal R&R, rest assured that applying the same care and attention to an outdoor couch or dining space will be worth the time. 

'We treat outdoor living spaces in the same way we style indoor spaces,' say Christie Ward, and Staver Gray, Co-Founders of the interior design firm Ward + Gray. The design duo recently fitted out the interiors of Wildflower Farms. With advances in fabrics that are now suitable to withstand the outdoors, you can be more experimental with how you curate your entertainment spaces and this is a fine way to help your indoor efforts shine outdoors too. 'There are so many beautiful outdoor fabrics now, a simple way to dress up an outdoor sofa is to add a patterned throw cushion,' continue Christie and Staver.

Anthropologie has lovely jute outdoor pillows, which would suit the outdoor space of wicker-filled homes, bringing a sense of continuity. We are particularly fond of the Maestas Flatweave Southwestern Rug at the moment too.

Then just as you would create ambiance with a lighting scheme indoors, give this care and thought for your outdoor space too. 'We also focus on lighting - battery-powered outdoor table lamps, such as these from Zafferano, come in an amazing array of colors and make a space glow in the evenings. We always finish a space off with great potted plants - we love to use vintage planters.' Be mindful of wildlife when doing so, so as not to interrupt their natural rhythms. 

Christie and Staver of Ward + Gray in living space
Christie Gray and Staver Ward

Christie and Staver met while studying interior design at Parsons School of Design in New York City. They’ve worked side by side ever since, and with a home base in Soho, Ward + Gray works on boutique hospitality and residential projects across the US and internationally. Most recently they decorated the interiors of Wildflower Farms.

How to fuse your interior design style with the outdoors

Outdoor decorating trends bring joy every year and make for an effortless refresh. 'I think landscaping is really fun,' says interior designer Henriette Kockum.

Naturally, this comes with some design pressures if you are new to decorating beyond the comfort of an enclosed space. 'It is not a space with four walls, so sometimes it is hard to understand how can you make that translate outside,' says the designer. 

But there are some simple ways to reflect more of your personality in this part of your home – even if that is as specific as repeated plantings of particular colors, or something more definitive like a curved pathway. Here are some simple ways to get started:

1. Let your indoor color palette spill outdoors

Peach and pink tulips in bloom

(Image credit: Getty Images/Jasenka Arbanas)

Whether you have a neutral interior color scheme or louder looks, continuing similar colors and tones in outdoor flower beds is an elegant way to define the landscape. 

'I think color is number one,' says Henriette Kockum. For the green-thumbed, this is an opportunity to marry up white border flowers, for instance, or the colors you have in artwork, on walls, and even soft furnishings inside. 

But it needn't stop there. Similar patterns can be integrated onto objects on your patio and smaller accessories. 'You can have them spill out into little things like, cushions, umbrellas, even, ceramic stools,' Henriette adds. 

Henriette Kockum
Henriette Kockum

Having lent her talents to renowned firms like Selldorf Architects, Soho House, and WeWork, Henriette Kockum seamlessly blends her love for art history with her design expertise. Her approach is characterized by a dedication to contextual relevance, ensuring that each project tells a story that is both authentic and captivating.

2. Work to your interior design scheme's narrative

Modern home with stone sculpture and aloe vera planting

(Image credit: Lisa Romerein / Assembledge+)

The key is to not force anything Henriette tells me, let it feel natural. When reflecting your home's design style outdoors, look for features that are ripe for continuity for a natural finish, 'If you have a very organic furniture style inside, you can try to mimic that outside.'

Teak patio furniture sets are easy to come by now from lots of retailers so you can find a shape that suits your scheme. 'You can try to expand on similar pieces outside. That follow that same look.' 

Part of making this feel natural is also looking at the context of your space. 'I think it depends a lot on the location,' continues Henriette, who recently refreshed the indoor and outdoor space of the Lifehouse Palm Springs hotel that has its roots in desert modernism and mid-century styles, with some Japanese influences too. 'We didn't try to force a certain type of landscaping onto the climate. We leaned into the desert, and, that was part of our story, this kind of desert modernism look.'

As the space also took on Japanese influences, there were water features and other odes to a more zen garden style. They decided to install a very minimalist desert Japanese garden. 'So, we had a lot of quite spaced out plants with gravel in between and just really making it very curated so that that kind of belonged to our narrative and just felt cohesive.'

3. Gently complement your home's architectural design

Modern wooden decking in outdoor space looking onto house with desert plants in borders

Tim Hirschmann for Assembledge+

(Image credit: Tim Hirschmann for Assembledge+)

As we have seen, color and unique sculptural objects that reflect the inside design story can bring more of your home's style outside. Let this be an opportunity to soften architectural features too with sensory garden plants and more. 

'When envisioning your outdoor space, consider how your landscaping and furnishings can harmonize with the interior of your home rather than simply match it,' says David Thompson, Principal and Founder of Assembledge+. 

Consider the stance of your home to find balance and cohesion. 'For instance, if your home is oriented horizontally and rectangular in form, consider incorporating vertical elements in the planting like spiked agave to add dimension, or softening the edges with native grasses.' 

Ornamental grasses can make a beautiful, textural addition to an outdoor space for length and form. Likewise, round and bulbous plants can bring softer appeal to a more angular exterior house design. You might even make it look more expensive.

 David Thompson, AIA Principal and Founder of Assembledge+
David Thompson AIA

David Thompson has over 20 years of diverse architectural experience in design and is the Principal and founder of Assembledge+, a beautifully progressive architectural and interior design studio that is dedicated to creating 'enduring spaces,' that are uplifting and innovative.

4. Choose materials that reflect your home's aesthetic and era

teak furniture set on modern patio in front of home with lots of glazing

(Image credit: Getty Images / AzmanJaka)

Whether for a deck or in your outdoor furniture, to make your yard feel more like a natural extension of your indoor style, Joe Raboine recommends blurring the lines with the right choice of materials that suit your home's aesthetic era. 

'For those looking for a more traditional design, look for outdoor furniture or materials that offer a legacy or heritage style,' says the vice president of design at Belgard. 'Antiqued and tumbled pavers or traditionally structured furniture add charm and warmth to neutral palettes.'

For homes that lean towards more contemporary and minimalist looks, favor lighter-colored materials or deeper hues with unfussy detail and upholstery. A similar teak set to the above can be found at Wayfair, The Birch Lane Bogota 2-person seater comes with cushions and is very sophisticated. We love its lofty and modern finish. 'Look for materials that emphasize natural light and neutral tone with wood accents to give a modern flair that is cozy, but not cold.'

Man in white shirt smiling is Joe Raboine
Joe Raboine

Joe oversees the Belgard Residential Program, striving to promote the idea that outdoor living is not only a good investment for homeowners but can also fundamentally change lives for the better by bringing people together.

5. Let your indoor plant choices inform outer borders

outdoor gray couch nestled in rugged and wild trees for freeflowing outdoor space

(Image credit: Laure Joliet / Assembledge+)

If houseplants and greenery define your inside space, lean into it. Consider those that can be kept outside too for a seamless link. Aloe vera, for example, looks spectacular in a gravel border. Climate-permitting, it can be grown outdoors too.

 'Two easy ones to implement are including the same varieties of plants indoors and out,' says Rafi Friedman who is the president of Coastal Luxury Outdoors. 'Potted plants in your home and on your deck or patio can create a clear unified sense of style.' 

Much like eclectic decorators might want a maximalist wild outdoor space, minimalists might gravitate towards a more manicured design that aligns with inside your home. 'Well-maintained flower beds, planters, and edging are ideal here for a clean and tidy landscape,' continues Joe.

A headshot of Rafi Friedman
Rafi Friedman

Rafi Friedman is the president of Coastal Luxury Outdoors, a pool building, construction, and cleaning company based in Florida. Coastal Luxury Outdoors provides a five-star service to over 1,000 clients, building more than 100 pools annually, to deliver a sublime outdoor living experience.

From clever planting to subtly mimicking the elements that define your indoor space, there is much that can be done outside to help your yard feel connected with your interior design style.

Camille Dubuis-Welch
Contributing Editor

Camille is the former deputy editor of Real Homes where she covered a broad range of topics, including house tours, small space design, and gardens. She studied English language and Italian at the University of Manchester and during a year abroad studying linguistics and history of art in Bologna, Italy she started documenting her adventures and observations in a blog. Camille is always creating and spends her downtime painting, taking photos, traveling, and writing short stories.