When you talk about backyard landscaping most people think of where their kids play, or maybe their pets. You might even think of your patio, or fire-pit. Perhaps you have a swimming pool in your backyard which may share your landscape.
But what is backyard landscaping, and how do you go about addressing it with a design?
You may have a outdoor kitchen in your backyard landscape, and maybe even some plants to go with it. Perhaps you enjoy a few evenings a month outside on your patio with those plants, and hopefully a few friends or family.
Most people have a dream or a vision of what they feel like their backyard landscape should be. But perhaps you are struggling with how to bring your backyard into a complete package.
A landscape designer such as myself will starts with the big picture. In all backyards there are always areas to work with, and design around. You might even begin to think of your back yard like rooms.
It's important to consider your backyard an extension of your living space. You should think of your patio almost as a seamless extension to your living room or kitchen. After all you want to spend time in your backyard, or that's at least the goal.
A backyard landscape is predominately known for three major areas.
1. A patio area
2. A yard area
3. A service area
We've all seen the TV shows where the couple is enjoying the beautiful landscaping around their backyard patio, or playing in the yard. You've also prolly noticed the need to store things like garden tools, garbage cans or a lawn mower in a particular area in the backyard.
These three major areas are meant to bring about something you might feel inside your home.
A backyard landscape design is about creating an outdoor environment for you and your family to enjoy. To do that, you need to understand what your family needs, and would enjoy doing in the backyard.
Sure a patio area is number one on the list of areas, but how much patio space you want is determined by what you wish to do most in your back yard.
If, for example, you are more of the type of person to play football in your back yard, you prolly don't want a lot of your space taken up by a delicate patio with an outdoor kitchen and thing which can be broken. You would prolly want to focus your priorities on the yard area, and ensure whatever plants you put in would compliment the main activity you wished to perform in your back yard.
The plant placement, and tree placement in your back yard landscape will depend greatly on your main activity.
Deciding your main activity can be more and more important depending on the amount of space you have to work with in your backyard.
For example, if you have five acres of land in your back yard, you prolly have enough space to do a full size patio, outdoor kitchen, and a football field. All of which would be able to co-exist in the back yard with out impeding on the other one's space.
But if, for example, you live in a small town house, you might consider not playing football in your back yard.
To come up with these types of answers, it's important to talk with all the people who will be participating in using the backyard. At the very least a designer would need to talk with someone who understands what takes place, or what the goal is in the backyard.
Going through each activity is important to discover how the area should be laid out. However, you can't leave out the maintenance side of your backyard landscape.
Maintenance is key to think about, because it can determine gate size, path size, amount of shrubs, and the use of trees.
Think for a second about a pool in your back yard. Would you want tree's and a pool? Maybe, if you are OK with the high maintenance of keeping leaves out of the pool. Perhaps you might be thinking about having a lot of flowers to enjoy? Then it would be important to have a good edge to keep weeds out of your beds, and less trees so you will have more options for flowers to choose. You might even be thinking about having a large yard? So you should consider having a service gate to drive an equally large mower through to care for said yard.
A backyard landscape when done correctly is a beautiful, seamless extension of the home you already enjoy. There are many obstacles to a beautiful back yard landscape, all homes have them. But with careful planning and a lot of brainstorming you can create an environment inside of your budget which you will enjoy for years to come.
I hope this has been helpful. Designing a backyard landscape can be tedious, and is not something you could fully grasp in a single article. But hopefully this put you on the right track towards achieving your backyard landscape goals.