Backyard Landscaping

Designs and plans for the backyard will focus more on usable living space than in the front yard and other areas of your property.

The front yard generally centers on appearance and appeal while backyards focus more on ideas for gardens, living, entertaining, enjoying, and where landscaping for privacy is most generally a main concern.

As with all plans, it's suggested that your backyard design begins with a question of what elements and functions are necessary before concentrating on recreational areas and functions related to lifestyle.

Next, as you begin to form ideas and a plan, give some thought to your personal needs and wishes for your backyard that will address such things as access, entertaining, and lifestyle. These can be broken down into many different areas that need consideration in your analysis such as -

  • Ideas For Entertaining Areas
  • Recreation Areas
  • Ideas For Paths and Walkways (access)
  • Children Play Zones such as sand boxes, swing set areas, batting cages, etc.
  • Swimming Pools
  • Gardens
  • Utilities

These basic design elements can also be broken down into several other areas as well such as swimming pools, patios, outdoor kitchens, and other areas such as garden paths, utilities, pets, walls, fences, etc.

Developing A Backyard Plan

You should also begin with a Site Analysis and by becoming familiar with The Principles of Landscape Design.

Generally, our first thoughts for any backyard ideas would be the question of necessity that was mentioned earlier. The next question would be from sort of an architectural standpoint. We usually take a view of the backyard as though it was a building with a floor plan, walls (boundaries or property line), and a ceiling. We also should start thinking right away of the other "rooms" that can be created for specific purposes.

The floor plan is obviously your basic structure. It contains your basic ideas, necessities, and wishes for your new backyard haven. It may help to read the planning your landscape page to get this in order.

You can also check out the free galleries of backyard landscaping plans, pictures, and ideas to get design tips and inspiration.

When we speak of "walls" or boundaries, the vision is usually of creating height of some sort. Height will be used to hide or accent an existing boundary such as a fence, used to create the boundaries, or used to create rooms and spaces. And generally, the primary element for creating height and boundaries is plants, shrubs, and trees.

Some consideration should be given to the fact that they are part of the design whether they are living plant or a solid structure. These are your boundaries and they are part and should fit with the rest of the design.

Think about your ceiling. The ceiling or ceilings in your backyard create more atmosphere than you might think. And especially in the areas of solitude, privacy, and noise reduction. Give your design some thought as to how tall should your boundaries grow, would sitting areas have a more secluded feel with a roof, or would a tall tree in the middle of the backyard create a desired canopy, etc.

Choosing plants for your backyard tends to be a little different than for the front. In the front, planting ideas concentrate more on framing and accenting the home with plants. In the backyard, the landscaping plants might concentrate more on framing individual areas, creating solitude, hiding unwanted areas, and accenting hardscape such as paths, accent rocks, and walls.

A few Specifics For Planning Your Backyard

These are a few design specifics that are often found in backyards that can be large complete projects within themselves. These directories will be helpful and inspirational if you choose to make them part of your backyard landscaping ideas.

Patio Design IdeasPatio Design Ideas

Because of the private nature of backyards, most of them will have a patio area as a main gathering place for entertaining and relaxing. See this directory for several pictures and plans that are sure to inspire you.

swimming poolsSwimming Pools

Let's at least consider a swimming pool in our backyard. While most people would like to have a pool in their yard, only those with the time for maintenance or the budget to hire it out should consider one. Also see planting around swimming pools for more ideas.

outdoor fireplaceOutdoor Backyard Fireplaces

One of the most requestedbackyard additions over the past few years has been outdoor fireplaces and fire pits. These gathering areas go great with patios or really anywhere in the yard. If you have one, you'll find you spend a lot of time there.

garden pondsBackyard Garden Ponds

Again, another high maintenance addition. These are landscape design elements that add motion, sound, and sight to the design. Also take a look at garden ponds if you're the type who doesn't mind the work of taking care of one in your backyard landscape design ideas.



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