Some backyard landscaping ideas.

Some backyard landscaping ideas.

When people mention the word “backyard,” they mean the portion of the garden that is reserved for family and close friends. It’s the space for quiet reflection and more often than not, houses the family vegetable plot! But if you want to make your backyard more than it can be, here are some landscaping ideas. Just remember that you should only “do it yourself,” if you only have simple ideas. Complex plans dealing with irrigation, elevation, and adding in small hills are best left to professional backyard landscaping experts!

Backyard landscaping is all about having a construction plan and adding the “components” piece by piece. It helps to draw or sketch them out on a piece of paper beforehand. The “components” would be things like having a specific theme for the backyard, specific zones, walls, and pillars (unmovable objects like trees). Spend some time imagining how the future result will be.

The backyard should have a lot of private character, and this is something you should bear in mind. So, the theme should focus on adding more privacy without sacrificing beauty. This means adding in trees, hedges, and fences to keep out prying eyes. Once the walls are up, you can then proceed to beautify the interior.

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The backyard theme – You may want your backyard theme to be a mini glen, or a mini wood. Your theme could be on “fun” complete with swings, slides, and tree houses. Your theme could be “formal,” or “classical,” complete with paved footpaths, lined with a sturdy hedge lining all the way, and ending in the backyard fence gate. A backyard can also do well with the “meditation” theme. For these, you may want ponds and small shelters. Use your creativity or start a brainstorm with your friends and family, if you are short of ideas.

For hedges – Certain shrubs are good to use for hedge purposes. A hedge is rather prettier usually than a fence. The Californian privet is excellent for this purpose. Osage orange, Japan barberry, buckthorn, Japan quince, and Van Houtte’s spirea are other shrubs which make good hedges.

For suitable trees that screen – Use fast growing trees, they make the best “screeners.” Sawtooth Oaks (Quercus acutissima) are useful screening trees, as are Pin Oaks (Quercus palustris). Pin Oaks can retain their leaves through the winter (a useful feature) and can be quite easily transplanted from one place to another (when young). For year round screening, use the Christmas tree group comprising Firs, Spruce, or Scots Pine. It’s important that the trees fit into the overall particular backyard landscaping plan that you have. If you would rather have smaller trees, you might want to consider Common Chokecherry, Crabapples or Hawthorns.

Walls and fences – Use them wisely and they will frame your backyard nicely throughout all the seasons. You can plant climbing vines to drape your walls with a profusion of green in the summer. Morning Glory, Common Ivy, and Virginia Creeper are suitable candidates. Walls and fences may be made out of rocks, or wooden planks. They denote the “hardscape” of your garden, that mark the boundary of one “zone” to another.

For more ideas on backyard landscaping, try HGTV. DIY backyard landscaping is largely limited to fairly simple plans, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go it alone. Some of the most delightful backyard landscapes out there, are created by just ordinary folks – you and me.

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