Designing Your Backyard Oasis

designing backyard oasisWe’re all spending a lot more time at home this spring. Even if we’re working outside the home for an essential business, fewer or non-existent extra-curricular activities and obligations mean we can more readily tackle some home projects, if we’re up for it.  And now that the weather is milder, outside might be a great place to start. The backyard of your dreams just takes a little planning.

First, take a look around and think about how you want to use your backyard. Your goal might be a private, cozy place to relax. Do you have young children who need a playspace? Maybe you want to entertain and need an area with seating to accommodate a group. Keeping these options in mind will help you with your plan.

You should also decide what you want to keep, move, get rid of, or replace in the yard. Your redesign might require taking out some plants and shrubs. The big old shade tree could inspire you to create an outdoor reading nook right where it is.  If you have an existing deck, determine if it’s in the condition and size you want it to be or deserves its own facelift. Is your storage shed in the best location, or does it stand in the way of the perfect spot for a new patio? If the kids have outgrown the swings and play structure, consider taking them down.

Once you have a list of ideas, it’s helpful to sketch out your dream backyard on paper before setting plans in motion. As accurately as you can depict the backyard with paper and pencil, label the spaces that represent the areas you want designated for different purposes. Add in the details, such as flowers and connecting walkways.

Design experts recommend a few general guidelines and tips to follow:

  • If too much sun is an issue, create shade where you need it and be smart about how you place furniture or where there isn’t any.
  • Allow at least three feet of open space around patio furniture to ensure easy movement.
  • Take note of the mature size of a plant before you plant it so you can leave enough space to accommodate it as it grows.
  • Choose plants that provide something nice to look at all year long, such as interesting bark or foliage.

Whether you need professional assistance to make those plans a reality or can put in the time and effort to do a lot of it on your own, there are also some landscaping tasks that are affordable and easy enough for do-it-yourself warriors. Even small projects can give your yard a fresh look!

  • Put down materials like mulch, bricks, or stones to create a path from your house to the backyard play area or gathering place.
  • A trellis can add a little charm, and there are creative ways to build your own. Then plant climbing roses on either side to grow a garden to new heights.
  • Speaking of plants, a vertical garden is the perfect solution when ground space is limited.
  • Create ambience with a backyard fire pit. You can purchase one, or build one out of stone.

Check out our previous posts to help get your garden started or come up with some new ways to enjoy leisure time in your backyard as the weather warms up this coming summer. No matter how you’re spending your time at home, do it safely and be healthy!