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5 Steps to a Great Backyard Design
Is your backyard due for a makeover? Whether you’ve just moved in or you’re trying to spruce up the yard you’ve lived with for years, you can still create a backyard that perfectly suits you and your lifestyle. While landscaping can be complicated, a few simple design considerations can make it much more approachable for home gardeners of any level.
We talked with the expert landscape designers at Tilly to get the scoop on what they’ve learned through thousands of landscape designs. Tilly is an entirely online landscape design company that matches homeowners with certified landscape designers and landscape architects who understand their style and their climate. After one-on-one video calls and walkthroughs of the space with the client, their designer delivers a full landscaping plan that’s ready to be handed off to a local contractor or boldly DIY-ed.
No matter your style, region, or budget, these five design principles from Tilly can help guide your renovation and get the backyard design ideas flowing!
#1. Consider How You’ll Use the Space
Everyone uses their backyard differently, and your outdoor space should be just as unique as you are. Think about who will be using your yard and all the things they’ll be using it for.
You might be dreaming of the perfect patio space to host outdoor happy hours while your kids want an obstacle course where they can run wild. Maybe your partner wants a vegetable garden, and your dog would love a space where they can run off-leash.
Congrats! After considering this, you’ve started your wish list of backyard landscaping ideas!
#2. Prioritize What’s Most Important
Chances are that once you write down everything you’d love to have in your backyard, your wish list will include more than can actually fit in your space. The next step is to look over your wish list with a critical eye and think about what features will get the most valuable and consistent use.
If you’re someone who loves outdoor entertaining for your whole crew, a large patio area would probably be important for you! A large seating area near an outdoor kitchen would take your weekly dinner parties to the next level. On the other hand, if you prefer to keep things intimate with just you and your family, a small patio with a fire pit and a couple of adirondack chairs might be all you need to relax under the stars on the weekends.
The key is to not devote too much backyard space to things that won’t actually serve your family. Prioritize what will get the most use and be the most impactful, and include those top features first when you create your final backyard landscape design.
#3. Landscape Sustainably
Thinking about sustainability when you plan your backyard design can help reduce its impact on both the environment and your weekend backyard maintenance. Some of our top tips of things to consider when planning low-maintenance, sustainable landscapes include:
- Minimize real grass. Grass lawns cover over 40 million acres of the U.S., guzzling up water, requiring fertilizers and chemicals, needing gas for mowers, and offering no ecological benefits. Switching to a grass alternative like artificial turf like FieldTurf Landscape products can save both water and your hard work on lawn maintenance.
- Use native plants. Plants that are already specialized to your soil and climate will need less water, fertilizer, pesticides, and general maintenance while also adding natural sources of food and shelter for wildlife into your outdoor space.
- Consider drought-tolerant landscaping. If you live anywhere with limited rain (or you’d just like a lower water bill), drought-tolerant plants and landscaping techniques will keep wasted water to an absolute minimum.
If you want to take your commitment to sustainability even further, you can consider designing your backyard to be a Certified Wildlife Habitat® that benefits your whole local ecosystem!
#4. Find Your Style
Once you know what features you want, you can choose what they look like! We always recommend looking through landscape photos for inspiration and saving your favorites. Having a mood board of images can be helpful whether you’re hiring a designer or creating your plan yourself. A landscape designer will be able to use them to understand your taste and aesthetic, while you can use them to break down the traits you really like in a garden.
For example, you might have figured out that you like a modern landscaping style, but how does that translate into actual materials? By looking at inspirational photos, you can pick out your favorite elements, like square concrete pavers and sleek metal planters, that will help you bring that style to life in your own backyard.
#5. Make a Master Plan
After considering your priorities, how you will use your space, and your sustainability needs, you can start to draft a plan. Within this, you can include the materials you want to use and plants you plan to use to create your ideal design. It’s important that your space has a logical flow and that your plants will have seasonality and layers and work for your sun and shade requirements.
If you aren’t sure you want to tackle this alone, you can partner with an experienced landscape designer who knows exactly how to make the most of your space and understands which plants can be used in your space.
The best part about having a master plan for your backyard design is that you can install it in phases without having to backtrack. There’s nothing worse than reaching phase two of your installation and having to dig up a bunch of plants because they no longer work for your plan! Pre-planning lets you move at your own pace and make the renovation process as stress-free as possible.
When all these pieces come together, the end result is a beautiful backyard that is made just for you.
Guest Author – Tilly Design