10 Basics of Backyard Landscape Design

rubbermulchIf your backyard doesn’t feel like a comfortable extension of your living space, it’s time to change all that. While you can certainly hire the pros to come in and do it for you, designing your own landscape  for a such a personal space will be a rewarding experience, and one that makes your own backyard feel, well, more your own.

1) Spend time with the space.

The less you like the current landscape of your backyard, the less time you probably spend in it. Make an effort to change that now to get the best idea of where you naturally like to spend time in the space. Mix it up so as to get a real feel for where it’s most comfortable for you to sit and play at all times of the day (i.e., dependent on varying sun and shade). This way you can incorporate seating and play areas into your landscape accordingly.

2) Make note of existing focal points.

Unless your backyard is little more than a vacant lot, chances are you have one or more things already there that can serve as some sort of focal point to build upon, like a tree, rose bushes, or an old pathway that just needs new stepping stones.

3) Consider all the elements you may want to incorporate.

The more varied the elements in your landscape design, the more appealing it is — both to the eye and the body. After all, the more there is to see and do in your backyard, the more time you’re going to want to spend there. So mix it up as much as you can with any or all of the following:

  • Plants
  • Flowers
  • Groundcovers
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • Veggie garden
  • Herb garden
  • Pathways
  • Fountains
  • Birdbaths
  • Lights
  • Sitting areas
  • Play areas

And the list could go on, the beauty being that, done right, you can have it all!

4) Familiarize yourself with plants native to your region.

If you haven’t already, pick up a gardening book or two on plants native to your part of the country, including pictures, descriptions, and care. An online search can turn up plenty of info in this regard, but when you’re working the garden, it’s nice to have a good old fashioned book on hand. Plus, you can dog-ear the pages of your favorites for easy reference when you’re shopping for seeds or plants at the nursery.

5) Make eco-friendly choices.

Relative to landscaping, this means being conscious of how you use water. Choosing plants native to your region helps tremendously, as does choosing materials that optimize water usage (like rubber mulch as opposed to wood).

6) Draw a picture.

If this intimidates you, call it a sketch instead. In fact, make your first draft as bare-bones as possible. The less time you spend on it, the easier it will be to crumple it up and start again. Not just once, but multiple times. With each draft, though, you’ll get closer to a final plan. It’s this — your final plan — that you’ll want to map out with some care. Draw it as much to scale as possible and make note of what you want where, including the names of specific plants. Using colored pencils or crayons helps too.

Note, drawing a picture of your design should incorporate everything you’ve learned up to this point, including what you want to do in your backyard (and where you want to do it), which plants are best-suited for your climate, and locations within your yard where these plants will thrive dependent on their sun and/or shade needs.

7) Make a list.

Start by referencing your drawing first, making a list of every type of plant, flower, tree, etc., that you want in your backyard. But remember also to include on your list all of the basics, from gardening tools, to soil, to fertilizer.

8) Be flexible.

As with any creative endeavor, what you envision for your landscape design may look a lot different to you when it’s actually realized. Be open to this, embracing the surprise, or simply try moving things around.

9) Carefully follow plant care instructions.

From the sun/shade exposure, to the depth of the soil, to the watering frequency, be ever-mindful of giving your plants exactly what they need. If learning this and maintaining a schedule of care accordingly sounds like more work than you want, make a conscious effort to choose heartier plants (e.g., succulents).

10) Take your time.

If you try and do everything at once, you’re doing yourself a disservice, as you’ll quickly become overwhelmed and not enjoy the process as you should. Plus, doing it in phases allows you to give each element the individual attention it deserves. This is especially important to your plants, as the more time you can spend getting to know their needs from day one, the more habitual your care of them will become.

For more information about the eco-friendly benefits of rubber mulch for your landscape design, contact Direct Rubber Mulch. Call 1-877-884-3660 or fill out our online form and someone will be in touch with you soon.

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