Landscaping tips for a backyard

A home's backyard can be looked upon like another room of the house. When gathering ideas for landscaping your backyard, determine the functions the yard needs to perform, like a place for kids to play, or a place for adults to garden or to entertain friends.

Patio

Start with a patio or deck to create a flat surface for chairs and tables or other features, like a hot tub or fire pit. Building material may be brick, gravel or stone, each providing a sturdy, long lasting base with little to no upkeep. Pressure treated lumber, cedar or synthetic wood composition are also options. Determine how much seating you want to provide, whether you want to have a table, cooking area, or other features, and then base the dimensions of the patio to account for sufficient walking area around those features.

Structures

Gazebos can be screened in to provide protection against mosquitoes, making this covered outdoor structure perfect for small evening parties. Gazebos are available in different shapes, with different roof lines and options of building supplies making it easy to find one that will go with your house. A pergola, which is an open structure, can provide some protection against the sun, particularly if vines are allowed to grow up and over the structure. Lighting and ceiling fans can be added to either structure.

Fencing helps to keep children and pets in the yard and unwanted visitors out. Chain link fencing is economical. Choose vinyl or wood as an upgrade that can also offer privacy.

Furniture

Choose furniture for comfort. Cushions should have fade-resistant and mildew-resistant covers that can be hosed clean. Glass top dining and side tables for seating areas can be cleaned easily.
An outdoor kitchen with grill and even a sink and refrigerator may be included in the landscaping plan.

Special Features

A fire pit surrounded by chairs creates a conversation area that can be used into fall. Similarly, a fireplace can be inviting on cool nights (or days!) and provide the perfect spot to roast marshmallows. A hot tub can provide a place to relax.

Water features, like a fish pond or fountain with circulating water can provide a pleasant view and soothing sound that may help to block out city street noise.

Accents

Planters can hold dwarf evergreen or deciduous trees as well as perennial or annual flowers. Hanging pots with vining or trailing plants can add a splash of color to your outdoor living space.
Install pole lights, ground level or house level spot lights, or low-watt lights around the perimeter of the patio to utilize the space after the sun sets.

Yard Space

Utilize grassy areas for favorite objects, like vegetable garden, groupings of trees for shade, flower beds, flowering shrubs for spring or summer color, tall evergreens for year-round privacy, or even a single large evergreen like Douglas fir, which can be strung with lights for holiday cheer.

Vegetation

Plant flowers or low shrubs, like Knockout Rose that can produce blooms all summer, along a walkway or at the corner of a walkway. Evergreen azalea will bloom in spring and remain green all year long making them an excellent choice at any location in the landscape. Choose perennials as flowering plants that return each year. Use annuals flowers for color before and after the perennials flowers bloom.