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It’s now the season to be outside – the temperatures are rising, the sun is shining, and your backyard is calling your name. But does your backyard feel outdated? Does it need a bit of TLC? Giving your yard a makeover can seem like a large undertaking but in actuality, it can be a fun and creative activity for the whole family and will transform your outdoor space into a place you all can enjoy. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Create a Plan
It’s important to determine the types of space you’d like in your backyard prior to getting started. For example, do you want a space for a vegetable garden, an eating area, BBQ area, or a kids play area? Once you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, you can start defining a spatial layout. A simple way to visually see your layout is to use spray paint throughout the yard to mark the areas. You’ll want to take into account the needs of each area. If you plan on doing a vegetable garden, it needs to be near a water source. If you plan on a BBQ and eating area, it would more convenient to have direct access to the house and the kitchen. Also keep in mind which areas will require electrical access for lighting, outdoor movies, or a blender for margaritas. You get the idea.
Create a Path
Now that you have your spaces defined, consider adding pathways between the spaces. Not only do pathways create a nice flow, they also give the yard a polished look. There are many materials to choose from to create your walkways, like flagstone, pavers, bricks, or gravel – it all depends on your preference and aesthetic. No need to be rigid and structured when creating the path, as a meandering path adds an element of whimsy. To complete the polished look, add edging along the sides of your pathways with a material of your choice such as bender boards, wine bottles, or a mini picket fence. Feel free to add flowers along the path as well for some pops of color.
If an outdoor living area is in the cards, you may want to consider adding a patio or a deck so that your outdoor furniture has a solid base. Again, this decision depends on your taste and the amount of yearly maintenance you’re willing to do. When installing a deck, it’s important to be aware that they’ll require more maintenance than a patio, as they need to be pressure washed and resealed once or twice a year. While adding a patio comes with little maintenance, the installation can be a bit more challenging. If you already have an existing concrete patio, sprucing it up is quite easy – you can paint the concrete, add a stain, or cover it up with tile or flagstone. No matter what you choose, be sure to seal it to avoid any future issues.
Whether you want to plant vegetables, herbs, flowers, or a variety of the three, raised beds not only keep the weeds at bay, but they also add an architectural design to your yard. If you have selected a designated area for a vegetable garden, determine how many beds you can fit while still having access to plant and water. Another option is to install raised beds around the perimeter of your yard, either by building a retaining wall or building boxes from wood. Be sure to stock up on a good supply of potting soil to fill the beds for planting.
An obvious choice for a backyard oasis is an abundance of plants, both potted and in the ground. Add some wind chimes, birdfeeders, a bird bath, or a fire pit for additional decorative elements. These are all easy fixes. Now what about those eyesores? Perhaps you have an unattractive chain link fence that you cannot afford to replace. You may want to consider planting a climbing vine or a row of hedges to disguise it. Tired of looking at the back of your garage? The exterior wall of your garage is the perfect place to add a vertical garden or a mural. If you’re creative and use your imagination, you can turn an eyesore into something beautiful.
Spring is here and summer is right around the corner, so now is the time to transform your backyard into the oasis you’ve always dreamed about. Tell us about your backyard transformations.