What Features Make a Great Backyard Landscape Design?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 November 2019
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There are a variety of features that make up a great backyard landscape design. The first step in designing your own backyard oasis is to determine how your backyard will be used. If you have small children your needs will be much different than someone who is a retiree or a single person that travels a great deal. The goal of successful garden design is to provide you with a wonderful yard where you love to spend time, but not a place that requires a great deal of work to maintain.

Another consideration in your backyard landscape design is to consider which elements are already in place. For example, if you have an existing patio or pool it makes sense to landscape around these permanent objects. They can provide a wonderful structure to your landscape.

Once you have decided what your goal for your garden is, it is time to get to work on your backyard landscape design. All of your planning should initially take place on paper. Some people use graph paper, measuring everything carefully before beginning, while other people sketch things out on a scrap of napkin and go from there. Either of these methods will work, but for the beginner, the graph paper is probably the more effective method.


Measure the area that you plan to landscape and then draw a scale model on a piece of graph paper. Now you are ready to start designing. There is no reason to worry about your artistic skills; you are simply drawing your plans, as seen from above. Use a gardening book or catalog to choose plants that you like, and fill in their width at maturity on your graph paper. This will give you an idea how many plants you need.

Backyard landscape design consists mainly of choosing flowers and plants, but for a professional looking plan consider adding a seating area, a water feature or some other point of interest. If you have a large area to cover, you may want to divide the backyard into several sections. Complete your landscaping over a period of years. Treat each section of your yard like you would an individual room in your home.

Colored pencils allow you to get some idea of how the different colors of plants and flowers will blend together. Erase and start over as many times as necessary until you come up with a plan that you like. Once you have a plan in place, you are ready to purchase your plants and start working outside.  



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