No matter how large or how small your backyard is, this all-important area can be transformed into an oasis of peace or a paradise for play with some careful planning and a moderate investment of time and money.
The first step to upgrading your backyard will be to remove any items that you no longer use, repair anything that is broken, and prune back the bushes to be able to see the available space more clearly. Then, you’re ready to pull out a pen and paper, research some outdoor living space ideas, and start designing your very own private escape!
Picturesque by Design
If you’d like your backyard to be attractive and orderly, it helps to familiarize yourself with a few design basics:
Texture: For a backyard with a special aesthetic appeal, try using a variety of textures and materials in your design. This could include a wooden deck, stone pavers, tile accents, lush planted garden areas, and a textured cement or brick outdoor barbecue.
Color: Use color to your advantage to create the desired mood in your backyard paradise. Warm colors like reds, oranges, and yellows can provide an energizing feel whereas cool colors like blues, and purples provide an ambiance of calm and relaxation. A green, leafy garden with a few orange and purple accents brings interest and visual balance to the space.
Layers: Levels and layers in the backyard can create the illusion of a larger space and can also contribute to a healthier ecosystem. Tall trees provide shade, nesting space for birds, and deliver moisture to shrubs and flowers below. Medium-sized bushes can provide herbs, flowers, and places for children to play, and low-lying groundcovers help to suppress weeds and provide a hiding place for small local wildlife.
Sustainability: If you’d like to keep your energy costs down and save on your water bill, planning in some eco-friendly strategies and features in your backyard from the beginning will be more cost-effective than making modifications in the future. This could include solar-powered accent lighting for the pathways and a water tank to collect the runoff from the shed, or on larger properties, you could consider building a charming waterwheel to generate some of your very own hydroelectric power.
Personalize Your Backyard Paradise
While different improvements to your backyard can raise your property value, it’s best to choose the features that interest you and that you’re actually going to use. For example, there’s not much point installing a high-maintenance landscaped garden for a 5.5-12.5% increase on your home value if you’re not likely to take good care of it. For the brown thumbs out there, a low-maintenance, drought-tolerant garden could be a much better choice!
Depending on your tastes and interests, you might like to include a lawn area, a swimming pool, an outdoor setting for having afternoon tea, fruit trees, or a productive vegetable garden. Do some research about the space needed for each feature on your wish list and choose just enough features to make your yard appear abundant without feeling cluttered.
Bring Your Living Spaces Outdoors
To make your backyard more inviting, it can help to install some basic amenities outdoors. A mobile or fixed fire pit is an excellent way to create a focal point and inspire social gatherings in both summer and winter. It can also be the beginning of a simple outdoor kitchen!
For those who prefer to cook inside and enjoy their meals outside, a patio area with weatherproof furniture and some bright pillows provides an effortless transition between the home and the yard. To warm the patio in winter, gas column heaters or an outdoor fireplace can provide the needed heat as well as creating a rustic atmosphere. With any recreational fires outdoors, be sure to follow these guidelines from the EPA to keep you, your family, and your neighborhood safe.
Add Some Natural Ambience
There’s nothing like the gentle tweeting of birds, insects chirping, and the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees to provide instant ambiance and help you to feel relaxed. Encourage native wildlife in your yard by planting native species and plants for pollinators in your garden and consider installing a bird bath and a wooden insect hotel. A well-designed pond can attract frogs to assist with natural pest control in your garden.
Complete the Oasis Feel with Water
Whether a small frog pond or an Olympic-sized swimming pool, water adds the magic that your backyard needs to feel like an oasis. Water also offers additional benefits by reflecting the available light around the yard in winter and helping to lower the ambient temperature in summer.
For the calming sound of flowing water without the need for heavy maintenance, a solar-powered water feature like a fountain or waterfall could be just the touch your yard needs to feel complete. However, if you do decide to have something much bigger by your home, please refer to these safety barrier guidelines and drowning prevention strategies to keep young children safe around your pool.
Protect Your Family and Belongings
Finally, the last thing you would want is for your beautiful backyard oasis to become the subject of attention with nosy neighbors and opportunistic thieves. Keep your yard private with fences, trellises, and climbing plants, and lock away your tools and valuables in a secure shed when not in use. Follow these additional tips to make your home safer and you will be able to enjoy your paradise and relax in peace.
Even a Small Change Can Make A Difference
Are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Don’t worry. Even the smallest of additions can make your backyard feel that little bit more magical. A few container plants along the fence, a portable sand box for the kids, or a string of fairy lights on the patio could be the missing detail that takes your backyard to the next level. You never know, it might also be the catalyst that inspires you to go back for more!
About the Author: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, and CRM solutions.