Most of us dream of an beautiful yard, especially during this time. We want to be able to relax with family and friends. However, creating the perfect backyard can often end up feeling like a burden — and the result no one uses it. How you can turn your backyard into a space that everyone in your house will want to spend time in.
Prioritize your needs
Big, square backyards can be a challenge for homeowners. Landscaping is expensive — not only for the initial build, but for ongoing maintenance. Landscape areas often include grass, garden beds and trees that require continuous maintenance. Regardless of your budget or scope, the challenge is getting the best bang for your buck and prioritizing the landscaping features you want when looking at your budget.
Before you design your outdoor space consider how you want it to function and who it needs to work for. The best design is one that knows where it is going before the various elements are selected.
Use borrowed landscapes
Your backyard does not need to be limited to what is within your fence line. Your neighbour may have large hedges or trees along their boundary, or you have a beautiful view. If so, you could incorporate these elements into your design to maximize the outcome.
Vary plant sizes
Planting smaller hedges along fences will help your backyard feel more private.
Enhance your views
You might align a group of trees to draw focus to a distant view to help extend the focus beyond your yard.
Create landscape rooms
A large backyard provides the opportunity to break the space down into areas of different uses. This works particularly well when the backyard has a slope and retaining walls are needed. Different areas could include a seating area, a fire-pit area, a grass play area, a garden etcetera. These zones can be defined by different materials, with hedges or trees, decorative screens, gates or an archway — you can get as creative as you want.
Breaking down the space into differen areas also gives you the abiliy to landscape at different times. This can be helpful if you have a limited budget, which does not allow for the entire design to be done at once.
Keep materials and colors to a minimum
For a successful design, it’s best not to go overboard. Landscapers recommend a maximum of two types of hardscaping like pavers, concrete or cobblestones, one type of timber finish and a planting palette that complements the style of garden you are looking for. The goal: to create a landscape that works harmoniously.
Choose plants that suit the environment
Your plant selection will be based on your location, sunlight and climate. Choose plants that have complimentary foliage, colors and flowers.
As a general rule, landscapers layer plants from low ground covers at the front to taller hedges along the edges or fences. This helps draw the eye upward and makes the yard feel bigger. When layering your planting, make sure the colors work well together.
If you have a large garden and a limited budget, try to include varieties of wide-spreading ground covers and bigger shrubs or hedges. Flowering ground covers are affordable, cover a lot of space, are relatively low-maintenance and come in an endless variety of foliage and flower colors.
Consider less mature and more affordable plants
These will take longer to grow to maturity but will create serious cost savings.
Frame the perimeter
Most boundary fences are fairly unattractive. Planting fast-growing, dense hedges that grow to at least the height of the fence is the most common approach for perimeter screening.
Screen the perimeter
Another method for disguising a fence is to attach mesh panels or climber-plant wires to create a green wall.
Paint the fence
A dark colour, such as charcoal, will provide an attractive backdrop to the green foliage of your hedges and create visual depth – without breaking the budget.
Use shade trees
These can provide attractive spaces for relaxation and entertaining. When placing shade trees in a large backyard, consider the species (deciduous or evergreen) and the location.
Ask yourself questions about your existing yard
- How much are you willing to spend?
- What are the main strengths of the site and how best can it be designed to support or further strengthen them?
- Are there any issues with the garden you want to overcome or features you’d like to conceal?
- Where is the sun at different times throughout the day?
Add elements to enhance backyard interest
- Create an entertaining zone.
- Promote movement through the garden with informal access routes to different areas and zones.
- Play with shapes to create interest and blur straight boundary lines. This can be achieved with something as simple as a curved and flowing garden bed or deep borders.
- Choose fast-growing plants to fast-track your design.
Ask yourself about your design requirements
- Do you have privacy requirements (for example, do you wish to inhibit a neighbor’s view into your garden or a view from the street)?
- Do you want to add in seating or a dining area?
- Does the design need to cater to children or pets?
- Are there any easement restrictions on your garden?
Consider a Native Planting Scheme
Native plants are great, as they require less water and maintenance. Growing taller plants around the perimeter will soften the fence and provide privacy.
Create a Formal Planting
Creating spaces and experiences in a formal garden is typically done using straight lines, glossy green leaves and white flowers.
Try a Cottage Garden
This design is all about creating meandering paths, mystery and intrigue to draw you into the next part of the garden. Use stepping stones rather than solid paths and add in lots of flowering plants and color.
Add a Striking Feature
Create a focal point by adding in a beautiful water feature or a statement plant that provides a pop of bright color.