When spring and summer come along, it’s natural to want your own place in the sun. If you’re looking at a front or backyard without a plan and you want to get started, here are 5 steps to help you turn that space into your own private oasis.
1. Know yourself. And, know what you want. Are you looking for a place to entertain? Is your yard going to be a playground for your kids and their friends? Do you just want a spot to relax, sun and read? Try sketching it out. Create the areas you want on paper and it will give you an idea of what will work and what won’t. It may only take a couple of lines and circles to define the spaces you want.
2. Watch the sun. Know the sun and the wind patterns around your home. For example, if you want a play spot for the kids, and the west side of your home gets full sun, evening play time may not be comfortable. If you put your fire pit or BBQ in the place where the wind whistles around the corner, your flame may go out. Think about the time of year you’ll use your yard the most as you think about sun, wind and the great outdoors.
3. Space, shape and scale count. Plan for the high and the low. Tall plants or shrubs that line a fence can soften the hard lines of the blocks or metal. Go from tall to shorter — set off smaller plants or even a flower bed by giving them a backdrop. Repeat colors or patterns to tie it all together. Plan on paths to lead people through your design and to a secluded bench or an expansive BBQ area. Add unexpected touches just for fun – a plant with a different shape or color, a bright red container – let your imagination go to work.
4. Create a focal point. This could be a special plant, a fountain or sculpture. You want to draw the eye into the landscape. Rocks are a landscaper’s friend – an arrangement of boulders or a single, large boulder with an unusual shape make a perfect, natural focal point.
5. Live with it. Spend some time with your design and start small. You may see a TV show where a dirt lot goes to a meadow-like gathering space in the space of hours. That only works if you have a crew – a really big crew. Instead, pick a starting point and work a little at a time. It will give you the opportunity to see if your plan is exactly what you want and to get down and dirty in one of the most relaxing activities ever – gardening!
When you’ve given your landscape some thought and have that rough sketch, go visit your local landscaping materials company. They can help you get off to a good start and show you some great materials you may not have known you could use. They’ll be your partners in bringing that sketch to life.