5 outdoor items you should banish from your backyard now — according to experts

Frogs garden ornament
Frogs garden ornament (Image credit: Shutterstock)

With summer here, it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy your backyard. And while you’re making sure it’s tidy and presentable, you might also want to pay attention to your garden decor style, too. 

Whether you have favorite/sentimental items, or insist on following the latest garden trends, certain items are actually making your backyard look cheap. And it's not just us saying that. According to decor experts, not only can these items make the space unappealing and lacklustre, but can also devalue your home  — especially if you’re trying to sell. 

And since your outdoor space is an extension of your home, you’ll also need to avoid these backyard design mistakes you’re probably making. This is especially the case if you’re hosting outdoor gatherings and mastering your best grilling skills. 

So if you want to level up your outdoor style, be sure you don’t have any of these items anywhere in view as summer rolls around.

1. Worn furniture or garden buildings 

Broken white fence

Broken white fence (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If your garden furniture has been battling the weather elements, or you’ve been holding on to them for years, these can often look lacklustre. The same applies to your outhouse or shed, that might be looking a little worse for wear, and in need of some TLC/restoration. 

Experts say these unkempt-looking flaws will make your yard look cheap and unappealing. “Old and damaged sheds, log cabins, summerhouses, and other garden buildings in poor condition create a lasting negative impression,” says Sam Jenkinson, garden expert for Garden Building retailers Tiger

“Unattractive flaws like broken windows, peeling paint, or mossy roofs signal that these issues need attention and make your garden look low quality. Opt for a high-quality shed or garden room that will endure over time for a more premium look”

The same principle applies to having broken or damaged fences. After all, there’s nothing worse than having a beautifully landscaped or striped lawn framed by a damaged or tired-looking fence!

“Broken or damaged fences can lower your home's value, even though fences themselves don't raise property prices. Fences provide privacy, safety for children, and containment for pets. Damaged or shoddy panels can decrease your property value by up to $1,200, as new fences are costly to replace.”

If your fences don’t need replacing however, check out these 5 ways to maintain your wooden fence and keep it looking new. 

2. Ditch any viral garden ‘hacks’ 

Blue and white shower curtain

Blue and white shower curtain (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Social media is full of all sorts of garden "hacks", promising  a quick and easy way to spruce up our yards. However, experts state that while some trends may be appealing at first glance, they might not stand the test of time — more notably the "Shower Curtain" garden hack.

“Whilst the viral TikTok shower curtain hack - whereby a wall is covered up by a decorative shower curtain - might be creative and fun, it takes away from the luxury atmosphere that you are trying to achieve,” states Andrew White, Marketing Manager from Harbour Lifestyle. “Instead, try exploring other feature wall designs, such as a statement trellis adorned with vertical crawling plants, or unique water features, which naturally exude a quintessential British charm.” 

3. Plastic plants 

Plastic topiary balls

Plastic topiary balls (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you’re an amateur gardener, or simply don’t have the time nor planting space, faux botanicals and plants can make a nice alternative. However, if you go overboard with plastic plants or topiary balls, you’re in danger of making your backyard look cheap. 

“Plastic plants unmistakably signal artificiality, giving a garden a cheap and uninviting look,” agrees Jenkinson. “They lack the vibrancy and natural beauty of real plants, making the garden feel more like a low-budget display than a welcoming outdoor space. 

Investing in live plants, even low-maintenance ones such as bulb plants like daffodils, tulips, and lilies are all incredibly easy plants that will add colour to your garden without any needed maintenance., can create a much more attractive and genuine garden environment.”

For more top tips, check our guide on how to create a low-maintenance garden according to a landscaping expert. Or the 7 best plants for your patio to give it an uplift. 

4. Novelty lawn ornaments 

Frogs garden ornament

Frogs garden ornament (Image credit: Shutterstock)

While you might want to personalize your backyard, and add character to it, steer clear of having too many novelty ornaments. Be it garden gnomes, and quirky animal sculptures to buddhas or signage, these can all make your backyard look cheap and tacky. What’s more, these will only clutter your space, which in itself, is unappealing and not inviting. 

Rather than buying the latest trends, be selective and make sure your ornaments actually suit your backyard style. Keep it simple with maybe one stand-out, feature piece and a few smaller items for variation. This will work to make your space look less cluttered and more spacious.

5. Mis-matched garden furniture 

Colored chairs in garden

Colored chairs in garden (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Whether you want to relax or hold a summer gathering, you’ll want to provide enough seating for your guests. However, if you have uncoordinated garden styles, this can make your backyard look cheap and hold it back from its full potential. 

“Mis-matched furniture can create a cluttered and unrefined look in your garden,” agrees White. “To establish a more cohesive and stylish aesthetic, select outdoor furniture pieces that complement each other seamlessly. For example, if you have a rattan sofa, why not opt for a dining set in a similar colour and texture?

“Another great way to pair pieces together is by using matching accessories. If your sofa set has neutral throw cushions, add some more onto your dining set chairs. Then, add a neutral outdoor rug to a patio or decking area. This repetition of colour will help to create a consistent theme throughout your space.”

In the meantime, here are 5 things to know before buying garden furniture for your yard — expert tips. 

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!