Outdoor nautical theme ideas

Updated April 17, 2017

Whether you want your yard to have a permanent nautical theme or you simply want to decorate it in a nautical style for a party or event you are hosting, there are plenty of ways to transform your outdoor space. Use anything from shells and sand to pieces of old rope and flags to create your personalised nautical theme.

Seaside Garden

If you want to create a cosy outdoor space that reminds you of the seaside, then a seaside garden theme is for you. It's important to remember that the seaside is not a pristine, ordered space, so you don't need to arrange your props neatly to create the right look for your seaside garden. Place fishing floats and buoys haphazardly in one corner of the garden, together with some discarded lobster pots and scattered shells. Dedicate patches of the garden to hardy plants and shrubs that remind you of plants you'd see growing on sand dunes. Create small sand pit areas and add light-coloured gravel to the garden for the seaside feel.

Ship Theme

If you love ships and you want to bring them into your yard or another outdoor space, there are plenty of perfect props you can use to achieve the theme. First, find an anchor -- the ultimate nautical symbol -- to add to the yard. Search in a ship yard, if you have one nearby, or a salvage yard or flea market. Alternatively, buy anchors online from websites such as Marine Megastore and Scruton Marine Services (see Resources 1 and 2). Hang up flags on strings across the yard, just like ships would use as signal flags. If feasible, add an old row boat to the design; fill it with sand or dirt and plant your choice of flowers.

Desert Island

If a remote desert island is closer to your idea of a nautical theme, then there are some easy ways you can transform your yard into a desert island hideaway. To create the feeling of the tropics, place palm tree planters around the yard. Add a hammock to the design. If you have two sturdy trees set at the right distance from each other, attach the hammock to those. Otherwise, determine the best place to hang the hammock, or buy a freestanding hammock. To complete the look, scatter pieces of driftwood and coconut shells around the yard.


Pirates are synonymous with the sea and nautical life; it is easy to transform your garden into a whimsical pirate treasure trove. Make and hang your own version of a pirate flag. In addition, use treasure chests or wooden boxes as planters. Fill the chests with soil and plant your favourite plants or flowers in them. Create a rock garden in one corner of the yard and paint some of the stones with the pirate skull and crossbones symbol. Alternatively, paint the rocks to look like coins and pirate treasure.

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About the Author

Summer Sartori has been a professional writer and editor since 2004. Her career includes working as a reporter, an editor for a lifestyle magazine and an online content producer for several websites. With expertise in geography, travel, literature and cookery, Sartori holds a Bachelor of Arts in geography from the University of Nottingham.