Some good basic tips for planning your dream outdoor backyard environment

Some good basic tips for planning your dream outdoor backyard environment

Creating The Perfect Backyard Environment


In the chilly depths of winter I find myself daydreaming of spring sunshine and newly blossomed flowers. I’ve mentioned on many occasions that I am a warm weather girl and by this time each year, I always yearn for change. I know that along with a new fresh season also come spring cleaning and organizing, all activities I personally happen to enjoy. Unfortunately, something that frequently gets overlooked during that time is the backyard. This year I’m on a mission to not only do the usual post winter clean up of our yard but to also create a peaceful place where we can relax and have fun as a family.

When considering how to have a perfect backyard, something to keep in mind is space. You need to know what you do and do not have room for. The first thing to do is grab a tape measure, writing pad and pencil and go outside and measure your backyard and the back of the house. Then do a rough sketch of the outline of the back of the house and the fences. Mark in all the gates, doors, and windows while making sure to measure the length and width of the yard, width of doors, windows and all wall spaces along the section of the house adjoining the yard.

Next select a focal point. Similar to creating an inviting indoor living space, the backyard living space needs a focal point. The focal point may already exist in the home’s architecture, in the landscaping, or in a backyard structure including a gazebo. Or, add your own focal point by shopping online for a perfect piece that catches your eye from a specialty site such as Internet Gardener. Items like fire pits and water element such as bird baths or small waterfalls make excellent and practical focal points.

Invest in an outdoor garden furniture set with a love seat, chairs and table. Mix and match pieces to create pops of color and select fabrics coordinate with the image you’d like your backyard to portray. Add outdoor cushions to the pieces to make them more comfortable. You can also select a table with an umbrella. With four to six chairs, the table becomes an instant gathering place for your family and friends. Use the table to eat meals, play board games, or just relax, comfortably, while sitting outdoors.

Lighting is not something home owners would overlook in their indoor spaces, and it should also be considered for outdoor spaces. Invest in solar lawn lights to mark or make pathways to outdoor living spaces which are not adjacent to the house. Festive string lights add a touch of whimsy to outdoor spaces and can be found in many styles, from boxy Asian-inspired lanterns to red hot chili peppers. Tiki torches, citronella torches, and floating candles in your water element also add soft lighting to backyard outdoor spaces at night.

I plan to begin with these steps and proceed from there to create our ultimate backyard! I would love to hear any tips or tricks from those of you who have been through this type of design process.