Two pints of beer and pretzels with ribbons on an outdoor table
(Image credit: happy_lark)

A DIY backyard beer garden is easier to create than you might think. Some shade, seating, and good beer is really all you need. But to create a dedicated space and a more special home beer garden, use these ideas for inspiration.

What is a Beer Garden?

A beer garden, or biergarten in German, is an outdoor space that serves alcohol. It usually serves food as well. Beer gardens originated in Bavaria in the 1800s. At that time, laws in many local areas forbade brewers from making beer in summer due to fire hazards.

Brewers began storing more beer in cellars to get them through the summer. To keep the beer cool, they planted trees to shade the cellars. This created a pleasant area to drink outside. Breweries capitalized on the gardens to expand seating.

Today, a beer garden serves only the latter function: to give people a nice outside space in which to enjoy a cold beer. Modern beer gardens typically include trees and other plants to make it a more pleasing space and to create shade.

Beer Garden Backyard Ideas

Seating and beer might be all you need, but these beer garden ideas for the home will help you create a space that is unique and great for entertaining:

  • Consider the views when picking a spot. The first step in creating the perfect beer garden is choosing a location. If you already have a nice garden, you’re most of the way there. It should be a nice spot with views of your garden beds and flowers. Part of the fun of a beer garden is being outside and enjoying the scenery.
  • Create shade. Take a cue from the originators of the beer garden and include shade to make the space more enjoyable on hot summer days. Ideally, you’ll have some dappled shade from trees. If that isn’t possible in your space, use vines and a structure they can climb to create a green ceiling for the beer garden. For bonus points, stick with the theme and grow hops vines. Of course, you can also use umbrellas, awnings, and shade sails to create pockets of comfortable shade for guests.
  • Add seating. This is a fundamental part of any beer garden. Include multiple seating areas for entertaining with chairs, benches, and barstools. Every seat should have access to a table or bar top for holding drinks. For an authentic beer garden feel, use communal seating, like long tables with benches.
  • Put in a sound system. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but being able to play music will level up your entertainment space. You can install outdoor speakers or just use Bluetooth speakers you can take outside as needed. Sounds from a water feature can add a pleasant ambience.
  • Light it up at night. String lights will allow you and guests to enjoy hot summer days that transition into warm evenings. String lights are great for setting the mood.
  • Consider building a bar. A bar isn’t necessary for a home beer garden. You can use coolers or bring drinks and food from the kitchen indoors. On the other hand, a bar allows you to put in a kegerator and taps so you can serve freshly poured beers outside.
  • Don’t forget snacks. Snacks are a must in a beer garden. If you want to be authentically German, serve wurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, and good bread. Charcuterie boards work well too. You can make them in advance and set them out for guests as they arrive.
  • Set out games. Keep your guests entertained with a few yard games. Good options include corn hole, lawn darts, ladder toss, oversized Jenga, bocce ball, and if you have room for it, a croquet set.
  • Finally, the beer. The most important element of all is the beer. Keep a supply of several varieties (including non-alcoholic options) on hand so you have something for everyone. German lagers are great for hot days outside, but choose whatever beers you know your guests will enjoy.

A DIY biergarten is a fun project for summer. You can enjoy it at the end of a long day as a way to relax after work, or use it as a gathering space for friends and family. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but a successful beer garden should be welcoming and relaxing.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.