How To Craft A Magical, Disney-Inspired Backyard

If you're charmed by fairytales, playfulness, and spaces that make you smile, then you might be the kind of person who fills their home with delightful Disney décor. You may also want to create a backyard that's inspired by the most magical place on Earth. Of course, while you might assume that popping a few Mickey Mouse-themed sculptures around your yard will do the trick, there's much more that goes into crafting such a special spot. Jeff Morosky, Managing Executive of Landscape Architecture at Walt Disney Imagineering, told Designing Disney, "The visual aesthetic is strongly informed by the storyline of a particular space or place. With that as a touchstone, the 'green' features such as trees, shrubs and groundcovers are selected by the Landscape Architect to support the story and provide the appropriate character."

Morosky certainly knows what it takes to craft a Disney-worthy spot, since he has worked on beloved spaces like Walt Disney World, Downtown Disney in Anaheim, CA, and plenty of others. He explained to The Ohio State University, "Every environment that we design and develop is based upon creating a great experience for our guests and the opportunity for immersion with the story." You can capture that same kind of enchanting vibe around your home. All you need to do is incorporate some adorable and idyllic accents into your backyard that will Disney-fy it in simple, stunning, and whimsical ways.

1. Welcoming and cheerful signs

When you arrive at a Disney destination, you'll likely see signs in every direction that welcome you to the magical spot and point the way to the fun. You can create the same inviting feeling in your backyard by putting up cheerful signs. Some may simply have positive sayings on them while others could offer directions to various aspects of your yard. However, all should make you feel like you've stepped into a truly special space. Beyond that, keep the signs rustic or paint them vibrant colors to capture the Disney aesthetic.

2. Castle playhouse

If you have little ones with big imaginations or like to keep the childhood magic alive by playing make-believe yourself, then you may want to add a castle to your backyard. Although a real one will surely be too big — unless you have a particularly large property and a massive budget — a castle-like playhouse should do the trick. While there are plenty of stunning castles around the world that you could take inspiration from, a palace worthy of Cinderella would be perfect for a Disney-themed space. Just think about tiny turrets, mini flags, and faux stained glass windows.

3. Train and tracks

One fun way to make your way around a Disney park is to take an old-fashioned train ride on an antique-like locomotive. Not all backyards can accommodate full-sized tracks, but a mini version would be almost as charming. If you have the space, you can set up a railway that's just big enough for kids to take a ride on. On the other hand, if your yard is on the smaller side, set up a toy railway system to play with or simply look sweet among the other Disney-inspired details.

4. Water fountain

Larger Disney locations like Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Park are filled with rivers, small lakes, and countless water features. Each one creates a tranquil spot to stop and enjoy a few calm and restful moments, not to mention an ideal place to daydream. Add the same peaceful feeling to your backyard with a water fountain. Since they come in various sizes, you should be able to find one that's a perfect fit. You'll also be able to track ones down that feature fairytale-worthy woodland animals, quirky cartoon-like creatures, and plenty of adorable artistic details.

5. Walking paths

Transform your backyard into a place that makes you want to wander around while keeping an eye out for magical spots by putting in a walking path or two. Use rough-cut stones or ones that are painted in vivid colors with delightful designs to keep in line with the whimsical look of your yard. You might also want to surround the path with small stones, pretty pebbles, and plenty of flowers. For the latter, perhaps plant wonderfully-colorful flowers or the kind of unique flowers that will have your neighbors staring whenever they visit your idyllic backyard.

6. Fairytale cottage shed

If you wander into the forest, you might come across a charming cottage that's the home of a friendly witch or lost princess. Or, at least, that's what fairytales would have us believe. For those who might require a (real) place in their backyard to store a lawn mower and gardening tools, a cottage-like shed might be just what you need. If you aren't in need of a functional shed, then you may want to turn this tiny dwelling into a fort, playhouse, or even a backyard craft room, art studio, workshop, or office.

7. Mermaid-themed pool area

Fans are surely well aware of the fact that Ariel wanted to be a part of our world in Disney's beloved movie "The Little Mermaid" — both the animated version and the live-action flick. You can do just that by creating a mermaid-themed swimming pool area in your backyard. This could involve fake decorative seaweed hanging in certain spots around the water and seashell-adorned décor. You could even add a mermaid sculpture to help bring the fairytale to life or sand to create your very own beach.

8. Giant mushroom tent

You and any little ones will feel like you've entered a giant's world when you set up a tent that looks like a massive mushroom. Along with the playful Disney-like shape, the design will bring pops of color to your backyard. Not only will this be the perfect place for kids to play with their imagination, but it can also be a handy spot to get out of the hot sun or pouring rain. If you get a larger tent, then you might be able to set up a table inside to enjoy meals in your mushroom.

9. Outdoor movie screen

What better way to indulge in your love for Disney than setting up an outdoor movie screen to watch the movies as often as you'd like? All you need is a weatherproof screen (if you plan to leave it outside at all times), somewhere comfortable to sit, and a place to set up a projector. If you want the space to be a little more magical, add some hanging lights, a few cozy pillows, and a fire pit to roast marshmallows and make popcorn while you watch (and rewatch) your favorite Disney films.

10. Vintage-like lampposts

Part of the charm of Disney parks is the fact that they create plenty of stunning areas filled with decorative touches that are meant to remind you of the past and story-like settings. That includes the vintage lampposts that can be found lining walkways. While you could always spend some time at markets to try to find genuine antiques, there is also a range of modern versions available that are energy efficient, durable, and look like they were made well over a hundred years ago. Some even have light bulbs that flicker to mimic flame.

11. Disney-themed outdoor mural

An outdoor mural that uses Disney themes can be a great way to bring your favorite stories to life. You could put up memorable scenes from popular movies like "The Lion King," "Encanto," and "Alice in Wonderland." You could also match a collage of different beloved characters like Woody from "Toy Story" and Lightning McQueen from "Cars" as well as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and other classic fictional friends. If you don't have the skills to create a mural yourself, hire an artist to do the work for you.

12. Disney-themed topiary

If you've ever taken a stroll around EPCOT, then you may know that one way those behind the park create magic is with their pro (and super-talented) landscaping efforts. That includes caring for flowers, hedges, and shrubs that have been shaped to resemble well-known characters. Of course, Disney tends to take its topiary to the extreme when it comes to artistic creations. If you have the talent and resources, then you can certainly do the same. If you don't, then you can opt for simple-shaped perennials like a Mickey Mouse-like hanging plant.

13. Artistic gardens

Adding a topiary to your backyard isn't the only way to incorporate flower-filled Disney-inspired accents into your yard. Instead of or on top of that, you can also create a garden that's shaped like your favorite Disney character. Although you could choose pretty much anyone you like, some might be harder than others. That's why a classic Mickey Mouse shape with his easily recognizable (and simple to craft) ears is a great option. Make the shape with bricks or stones, lay down some soil, and plant a few flowers that will burst open with colorful blooms.

14. A fairy house

Fairies like Tinkerbell, Fawn, Silvermist, and Periwinkle are treasured — as well as tiny — members of the Disney family. Thanks to their itty-bitty stature, the fictional characters live in homes that are just as small. These abodes are also whimsical places tucked into spots like old hollow trees surrounded by little twinkly lights, cozy moss, and miniature accessories. You can add a fairy house to your backyard by putting a small door at the base of a tree. If you're thrilled by how it turns out, then you can add an entire neighborhood of fairy houses.

15. Hidden Mickeys

Hardcore fans will know that there are hidden Mickeys all around Disney World. SPOILER: They can be found concealed in tiles, murals, and carpets, as well as disguised in pavement, among plants, and on many details (both big and small) around the rides. If this has given you a few ideas, then you may already be excited to add hidden Mickeys around your backyard. You could embed rocks in a wall that make the shape of Mickey's head and ears, lay down stones along a path with the mouse's silhouette, or come up with other fun ideas.