Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Most homeowners put thought into their front yard. After all, first impressions are important. But what about the backyard? That’s where the children play, the family hosts get-togethers or maybe just enjoys a quiet meal on a summer evening. Designing a landscape for your family needs doesn’t take a lot of work and may birth a new hobby.

Instructions

Things You’ll Need:

  • Tape measure
  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Soil tester
  • Gardening books and magazines
  • Colored pencils
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Step 1

Draw an outline of your backyard on graph paper. Use the tape measure to get accurate measurements. Note any permanent things-such as large rocks, decks or patios, storage buildings and trees or shrubs-on this outline. If you have a scanner, save this design to your computer’s hard drive. Make several copies of the design; you might have to make notes on more than one copy.

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Step 2

Test the soil in your backyard. Do this in several places, as it can vary depending from one location to another. For instance, soil under pine trees has a higher acid level. Note the test results on one of the outline copies.

Step 3

Watch the sunlight in the different areas of your backyard. This can be full sunlight, sunlight half the day, dappled sunlight or full shade. Knowing the sunlight in your backyard will determine what you plant. If you are hoping to plant roses, they require 6 hours of full sunlight each day to thrive. Certain varieties of hydrangeas need morning sun and afternoon shade to bloom. Note the sunlight on the backyard outline copy.

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Step 4

Determine the use of your backyard; the answer to this will involve who will use the backyard and why. If you have children or pets, there will be certain plants that should not be planted. Do you want to have an easy-to-care for garden for barbecues or do you want a formal garden? Would you like an herb garden near the kitchen door?

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Step 5

Get ideas for your backyard. Look through gardening books and magazines. Check out gardening websites. Browse the local garden center. Make notes of plants and flowers you like. Then read about them to see whether they fit your needs. Be sure to look at their mature size as well as what they require to grow.

Step 6

Take a blank copy of your backyard outline and begin putting flowers and plants on it. You can use colored pencils or cut pictures of the flowers or plants out of the gardening magazines and glue them on the outline. Make several different colored outlines using different plants and flowers; this will allow you to look at different designs for your backyard and select the one you prefer. Now you’re ready to start buying plants and flowers!

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Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with your backyard. Many plants and flowers are flexible. If you have a rose on one side of the deck and would like it near the fence, it can be moved.
  • Keep receipts for flowers and plants purchased for your backyard. Most gardening centers have a one-year guarantee but require the receipt for returns.

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