It’s hard to overstate how much we Americans love our lawns. We spent around $105 billion on them in 2020 alone!
But, trust us, your backyard could be so much more than a patch of bright green grass with bushes and beds dotted around. As nice as this classic design is, proper backyard landscaping can take things to a whole new level.
Want some tips, insights, and ideas on how to transform your garden this year?
Well, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’re going through a complete beginner’s guide to landscape design in your backyard. Check it out!
What is Landscaping?
A key first step to successful backyard landscaping is understanding what landscaping actually is! In simple terms, it’s a process of making changes to a piece of land to enhance its appearance, functionality, and/or its financial value.
Those changes can involve adding or removing new plants or trees, as well as altering the architecture, and creating new elements by moving the land itself. Not to be confused with gardening, landscaping is about designing and cultivating the space versus the maintenance of plants/flowers.
Now we know what it is, let’s move on to how to do it…
Create a Plan
Failing to plan is like planning to fail. Like all home renovation projects, you should never dive straight in and start making changes to your yard. You’ll obtain much better results by drawing up a plan in advance.
Have a think about the garden design elements you wish to see outside. Do you want more shrubbery? How about a new stone pathway leading to your front door, a flag pole kit for flying the Star-Spangled Banner, or a patio area for hosting summer BBQs?
Perhaps you like the idea of a raised flower bed, a deck, or a pergola for adding shade on sunny days? Whatever the case, you should consider the many options, decide where each element would go, and then set a budget for the project.
DIY or Professional?
The next major decision to make is whether you attempt backyard landscaping alone or with the help of a professional company. There are pros and cons to both!
As for the DIY approach, you’ll save money on labor, get the work done on your schedule, and learn a lot in the process. The downside’s that landscaping is time-consuming, involves hard manual work, and could end in substandard results.
The opposite applies when you hire the pros. You’ll spend more money, but benefit from expert support. You’ll absolve yourself of responsibility, save time, and have a beautiful backyard by the time they’re finished.
Clear the Land
With your plan in place, the next step is to clear the current space so you can start making the new design.
This could be a big task, so get some help to speed things along! There’s a lot to do, from removing weeds and clearing unwanted plant life, to throwing rubbish away, leveling the ground in preparation for flat lawns, and shifting land from one place to another.
Top tip: try to salvage as much as possible! For instance, do you really need to get rid of the tree in the center of your yard? Or could you turn it into a feature instead, orienting the rest of the design around it?
Understand Landscape Design Basics
Taking the DIY route? Awesome. Here are a few basic tips and concepts to help you create the garden of your dreams:
The Law of Enclosure
Did you know that the real meaning of the word garden is something akin to “enclosure”? More than a mere fun fact, this definition is a useful thing to remember for anyone who wants to create that reassuring sense of refuge most homeowners look for in their backyard!
The law’s simple: you’ll feel enclosed whenever you establish a vertical edge that’s at least one-third of the horizontal space.
For example, imagine creating a decking area that’s 18ft across. Following this law, you should install a hedge or fence alongside it that’s at least 6ft tall. Do so and you’ll enjoy a lovely sense of enclosure, privacy, and peace.
Lines and Form
The best designs use clever strategies to emphasize lines. Trust us, the lines in your backyard can work wonders. They’ll establish focal points, draw peoples’ eyes, create balance and uniformity, and provide a sense of direction around the space.
For instance, a straight pathway could cut through the center of your yard and lead to a covered seating area at the end. Likewise, the clean edges of your lawn could direct a viewer’s attention to the beautiful views beyond the hedgerow.
Don’t forget about form either.
This is what helps you achieve the overall aesthetic you’re aiming for! The 3-D elements of the features you incorporate will establish a particular theme that extends throughout the space. Those curved walkways create a sense of fluidity; your rigid lines are more formal, rounded hedges seem welcoming, and so on.
Color and Texture
The best backyards set the mood using colors. After all, different colors produce different emotional reactions! Blues and whites tend to be calming and tranquil; reds and yellows are warm and exciting, and so on.
As for texture, this is a clever way to add aesthetic interest and variety to the space. Play around with spikey garden plants, heavy tree trunks, fine grass, and anything else that adds texture. In combination with the colors, your backyard will start feeling more vibrant, personal, and full of life.
Remember This Guide to Backyard Landscaping
Countless Americans pride themselves on the state of their lawns. Yet, as we’ve seen, a lovely lawn only scratches the surface of your yard’s potential!
Get to grips with backyard landscaping and you’ll end up with a space that’s as functional as it is attractive. With any luck, the tips in this article will help you do it. To read more articles like this one, stick around and browse the rest of our blog today.