Whether you are just looking for a fun backyard weekend activity, or currently do not have the financial means to hire a professional landscaper, tackling some DIY backyard project is both fun and rewarding. There are many different designs and ideas to choose from — suitable for any budget or skill level. The following are just some key tips on how to transform your backyard into a truly perfect space.
Consider some hardscaping
One of the most common DIY landscaping projects is hardscaping. Hardscaping includes designing and constructing things like a deck, fence, arbor, patio, driveway, sidewalk, and porch and is generally a good place to start. Sometimes requiring a lot of construction, it is best to complete this — with a risk of compacting and damaging the soil — before any project that may involve plantings.
Prepare the soil
If you are picturing a backyard full of plants and flowers, it is best to ensure that your soil is healthy enough. Soil tests are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased online or at a local hardware store. Adding organic matter in the form of mushroom compost, leaf mold, peat moss, or shredded pine bark will provide some essential nutrients to the soil. If the soil is loose and fertile, the root growth of your new backyard additions will not only be healthier but will grow and become established more quickly. Additionally, when building the soil, you can define your bed lines and even use a rope or spray paint to stay within your designed areas.
Consider the edges
Another good place to start is right outside your back door. Planting close to the foundation will embrace your home and can accentuate some of your lower windows or porches. Small trees or large shrubs look nice around the corners of your homes and work well to soften the geometric harshness of your house. By incorporating flowers, the splash of color will add instant charm to the somewhat bland siding.
Extend your backyard space
Your backyard should be an area that is suitable for nearly year-round enjoyment. Adding trees can provide long-lasting focal points and make for areas of serenity. Large shrubs or fences can be utilized to create a perimeter. Building a deck or patio can provide an additional seating, dining, or entertaining area for your home — and many of which can be completed in as little as a weekend or two.
Outdoor fire features
Imagine gathering around a fire with friends and family — an outdoor fireplace, grilling station, or even an outdoor kitchen is perfect for both entertaining and relaxing with the family. Fire pits are relatively easy to build, taking as little as four hours, and can provide endless hours of winter warmth or summer entertainment — picture all of the marshmallows that could be roasted with kids!
Personalize for the needs of your family
If you are considering landscaping ideas for your bachelor pad, you may want the ultimate grilling area, a gazebo for warm summer nights, or a hammock to relax after a long day of work. For young families with children, a play area can provide endless entertainment for kids and can be established close to a deck so that relaxing adults can keep a watchful eye on the young ones. If you are a culinary genius, perhaps consider establishing a small kitchen garden in a sunny spot of your backyard — many herbs and vegetables are easy to grow and can provide fresh ingredients for your next dinner.
Use the side if needed
The side of your yard is generally overlooked and make for perfect locations to house all of your supplies — tools, firewood, garbage cans, and even a small garden shed can be housed here to remain somewhat hidden from guests while also providing easy access for you while you are working.
Be sure to include appropriate plants
It is always wise before beginning any landscaping project to take a full inventory of what is already there. Are there any plants that are already well established that could be added to? Are there any weeds that need to be taken care of before beginning? How does the area receive sunlight — are there any shaded areas that may not be suitable for plantings? Many vegetables and herbs, as well as roses, require at least five hours of adequate sunlight daily, so be sure to consider this in your design.
Your backyard space could be considered an extension of your personality. Instead of having an area that receives attention only when cutting the grass, think about how you could provide an area for fun, entertainment, or total relaxation. Doing your own landscaping is not only a fun weekend project — but can also provide benefits for you and your family for years to come.
Michael is a professional landscaper who has worked with many landscape companies across the years. His keen eye for detail has helped him in his work develop some amazing finished backyards. Now working for Xteria Landscapes he loves to help clients every way he can to make their dreams come true.