Backyard Landscaping For Beginners

We can probably agree that gardens are very enjoyable places to spend time in. Chances are that if you own a house you have thought at least once of redesigning your good old backyard into something more elaborate and lavish.

Unfortunately, most people’s grand plans usually stay in planning phase for quite some time because it’s easy to get overwhelmed by sheer amount of choices you have to make and things you have to do.

Fortunately, many people have tackled this problem already, and we are happy to share the knowledge in just a few bullet points to get you started.

Start with a blueprint

First of all, you will need a list of things you want to do and realistic budget to keep you with both feet firmly on the ground. Make rough sketches just to have some general idea of where do you want things to be. Even if you are an absolute beginner you should take into equation some basics of good design like form, pattern, contrast, balance and unity and elements such as sun, wind and rainfall to properly place the objects of your ideal backyard. You don’t want your grill next to that windy corner, right?

Clean up the yard

This may seem as a chore, but it’s much better to start with a clean slate. Clearing your backyard of all unnecessary things will help you get a better picture of the space you have on disposal and spare you the trouble of working around something you don’t actually need. Begin with mowing the lawn, then remove all sprinklers, debris or improvised constructions you have in a yard and get ready to start the actual work.

Take it slowly

I can’t stress enough the fact that you should do your backyard rearrangement patiently. Nobody is able to act like a home-improvement crew capable of achieving everything in a day. Growing a garden is a time demanding process so you shouldn’t waste all of your resources into something you are not 100% sure about. So, take it slowly, see how your landscaping process envelops and how the elements accompany each other, continue with the things you like, change those which are not pleasing to an eye and everything will be ok.


Step by step

The order of things you will have to do is largely dependent of what do you want to achieve, but here are the basic principles you should follow. First of all, you should work around some focal point of your backyard, for example a sculpture, tree or a patio. Weeding existing garden beds is another place where you can start, if they are part of your plan of course. If not, you can easily create new ones especially around the trees and edge them with old bricks to create visually appealing effect. You don’t have to go with straight lines, be creative and give your garden beds some curves. Try adding mulch, even if you don’t have too many plants, to create tidy look and prevent any kind of weeds of showing up.

Get the needed tools

Your goal will, obviously, demand some tools to be accomplished. Usual suspects include a hoe which is used to move small amounts of soil, pitchfork you will need to lift and pitch loose materials like leaves, spade, primarily used for digging, secateurs, which are basically scissors for plants and rake, used for leveling the ground, removing dead grass from lawn and also for loosening the soil. You’ll also probably need some power tools for cutting and rearranging. I personally use Makita tools, but any other will do the job just as well.

It’s not that hard right? Just be sure to make a plan, clear the yard, start with the small tasks, take it slowly and do your best to make that all the elements work together. These are just some basic guidelines you should follow, but everything else is up to you and your imagination so find out what do you want to do and get those hands dirty as soon as possible.

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John Stone, the author of this article, is a DIY enthusiast who occasionally likes to put his ideas down to paper and share them with like-minded people. Currently works as the editor of SmoothDecorator. His fields of interest include home improvement, sustainability, new technologies, and pretty much all-things-DIY. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and watching Formula 1.

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