A collection of great landscaping articles and favorite links that cover various topics from principles of design to landscape design gurus.
The design that we created for the backyard of this big estate project is my favorite part of the entire totally large plan. The ideas here have the most character and usability than any other part of the landscape.
Generally, the backyard is the most used, personal, and private area of a property. So usability and privacy are big concerns. However, sometimes the bigger a yard is, the more area and angles you have to address to create privacy. Fortunately, a seven foot stucco wall was already constructed around the backyard so a large part of the privacy issue is taken care of from the start.
The first thing we wanted to accomplish with this backyard was to use up the space in a classy way without making it just a large expanse of lawn.
We knew we wanted to create a garden patio at the very opposite side of the back door patio, but didn't want to have a walkway to it that went right through the center of the lawn. It just didn't feel right to the minds eye. So we came up with the walkway path that goes around the side. And even though it is a little more distance to travel from the home back door, it forces visitors to view more of the landscaping.
This not only helped create the shape and character of the landscape design, but also helped create a bedding border.
The element we used for the walkway and patio is stamped decorative concrete. It helped add a whole new characteristic and texture that was unique from the rest of the estate landscaping plans. Coming into this big backyard has a feel all its own. Another reason we used stamped concrete was the economical factor. It is much cheaper than using tile or brick pavers and much classier than using just plain concrete.
The rest of the shape of this yard doesn't necessarily have any usability at all. It's just to look cool, have some character, and to create a matching balance for the lawn area. It would have looked very wrong to just have lawn extend to the fence border. Sometimes, regardless of elements, you just gotta think in terms of what flows, looks cool, and is balanced.
O.K., now the area in the top right with the red step stones in a semi-circle pattern is more of a space user and focal point than a usable area. While it does have a sitting bench at the center of the step stones under the small tree, it was not intended to be the main sitting area of the backyard. The main sitting and gathering area is the stamped concrete patio area.
Once again, I won't spend a lot of time on the planting ideas of this backyard design. It is mostly generic. However, the larger dark plants are the large Mondale Pines. I used these in this backyard as well as throughout this entire landscape as they are a very fast growing medium sized element that helps create privacy and boundary definition. In the first designs of this big estate landscape, I pointed out that we used multi-trunk Red Oaks in the front yard as the larger planting element to keep the home from standing out so much.