Decorating our backyards can sometimes be even more fun than the inside of our homes. Of course a big part of that is the “fun in the sun” but it’s also the freedom of creative design unaccompanied by fear that we may make a huge design mistake. When we began decorating our home I made a deal with my husband that the interior is mine to decorate and the yard is all his. I’m kind of regretting it now because he is having so much fun. He’s being nice though and including me. Our backyards allow for a certain undisciplined look that we can’t get away with inside and I’m learning now that almost any yard that gets care and attention can look beautiful, even without a huge budget.
Over the past few weeks while watching my husband working away on his newest “project” I’ve learned a few things about backyard design which are important to know.
Planning: When starting your backyard the first step should be, as in any other decorating project, the planning process. Think about what you will be using your yard for most; hosting huge parties on the weekends, family fun or a serene place for you to relax. Whatever the case is a backyard is always a place to enjoy so decide what features you want to include to make it the most enjoyable possible. For many this means a swimming pool, others enjoy tons of flowers and some love the sound of a tinkling waterfall. You may need to include exterior lighting, or if you have a pool an outdoor shower. Depending on your desires make sure you have the space and budget to fit in what you love most.
Our yard will be used for small BBQ’s for our friends and family and as a relaxation spot for my husband and me. We sit out there a lot drinking our morning coffees, eating dinner or just relaxing. When deciding on what we want in our yard (which is really tiny) we both right away said water. We love water so we wanted to think of a way to incorporate it into our small space. We definitely couldn’t fit in a pool or even a hot tub but the next time my husband went to Lowe’s, our all time favorite store, he found a DIY pond kit. He is now busy working on it and so far it looks great- I’ll show you pictures as soon as it’s done.
This is a quick sketch of our yard I made . Its just to give us a rough idea of what we are doing. We are not keeping to it exactly but its a good idea to know more or less.
The clearing size: If you plan on having a lot of people over to enjoy your yard you will want to make sure not to clog it up too much. Keep in mind that a lot of bushes and trees expand in width so they will eventually take up more room then you initially realized. Make sure you have enough space for visitors to mill around and sit down.
In our case we have very little space to work with and probably won’t be having more than a few friends or family in the yard at a time. We made the front half of our yard into a patio which opens directly to the kitchen (convenience!) and the back half is grass. The pond will take up the back left corner so the rest of the space is open for us to work with.
Landscape: It’s smart to include some year round plants in your landscape design. This way you will have beautiful flowers and foliage all the time. Also, it will cut down a lot of the maintenance. I have a friend who loves hydrangeas. She planted hydrangea bushes all along the back wall of her house. It looked beautiful for a few weeks but that’s all! Hydrangeas only peak for a few weeks in the spring/summer and then they are done. So her back fence looked pretty plain the rest of the year.
It’s also a good idea to use some pretty rocks or accessories which require absolutely no maintenance and are very cheap. We plan on surrounding our pond with a low wall of stones. I think it’s a pretty design element and it will define the pond making it the focal point of the yard.
Once you have all the essential details planned you can start with the project. Even if you are hiring a crew to do it for you get involved- it’s fun!
More picture and updates coming…