Oh, bliss: you get home and sink into a chair in your backyard, where you can read a book, listen to the birds, and relax. Or perhaps your idea of bliss is the opposite: a party that involves dozens of your closest friends, all delighted to visit in your backyard paradise. No matter how you like to enjoy yourself, you can turn your backyard into the best place for you and your family. Here’s how to start building your backyard paradise.
Planning Your Backyard Paradise
Before you begin to build, think about what you value in your garden. Everyone loves a different element of their yard, and if you want to build what seems like paradise to you, you’ll need to ensure that you know what that means before you crack out the shovels.
- How do individuals in your family use the garden?
- How does the family use the garden together?
- Do you invite friends over? What do these friends do in the garden?
- Do you have family members with different needs? For instance, you could have a family member with mobility challenges, or you could have a large, active dog.
A family who needs the garden for playing with young toddlers will have very different needs than an older couple who loves intimate entertaining spaces in the garden.
You’ll also need to consider the limitations and possibilities of your space. For instance, if you have a backyard with a steep slope and you want to entertain, you’ll need to be more creative than you would with a large, flat, and sunny garden.
Finally, you want to think about how you’d like to grow into the space. How much work do you want to put in at the beginning? Do you plan to grow and change the garden over time? For instance, if you love annual plantings and intend to add pots and window boxes every year, your garden space could change significantly from year to year.
Enjoying Your Garden At Every Time and In Every Season
What if you could walk out into the garden in the morning and enjoy it just as much as you do in those evening hours? The ultimate backyard paradise is one that you can enjoy at dawn or in the moonlight or in any of the hours in between.
Create an all-hours space by adding:
- An indoor-outdoor space where you can store mugs and make yourself a morning cup of tea
- Arbors, patio awnings, or sun umbrellas designed to create shade during the warmer parts of the day
- Solar lights that turn on in the evening
- Storage for throw pillows and blankets
- Trees, shrubs, and ponds that provide cool, shady spaces for the mid-day heat
Creating an All-Season Backyard Paradise
How can you create an all-season backyard paradise? As you move through the year, think about the potential of your garden in each season.
Your bountiful spring garden can include portable planters for spring annuals and a succession of planting bulbs and blossoms. Watch carefully to see if there are any gaps in your planting plan so that you can make sure that something is always blossoming. Plant scented flowers like lilacs if you enjoy having a nose full of spring as well. If you love to watch birds, create feeding stations that you can watch from chairs in the garden.
Spring is a great time to inspect your roof and gutters. Be sure the downspouts are channeling water away from the foundation of your home. You may also need to design your landscaping in a way that helps the water flow where it is needed.
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Your garden should shine in the summer as well. Plan to capture rainwater in the winter and spring so that you can feed your garden in the summer. Add retractable awnings and arbors to provide seasonal shade. Plan for a pleasant evening in the garden with fairy lights and scented evening-blooming flowers such as jasmine and phlox. Add a barbeque area and plant aromatic herbs next to it that you can use for seasoning.
In the fall, your garden is getting ready for the colder months. However, annuals such as mums, autumn sage, aster, pansies, and ornamental kale are cold-hardy and can continue to bloom as your garden starts to fade. As you add spaces for entertaining and for quiet time, consider the views of the fall trees as well, since they can be very beautiful during this season. If rain is common in the fall, add a covered seating area next to a rain garden, rain chain, or other water feature.
During the winter, you might be indoors more often, but you can also design indoor-outdoor spaces that will delight you and your guests. According to the BBC, you can add interest to your winter garden by adding “…more evergreens in different shapes, colours and sizes,” winter berries, and architectural structures such as arbors that add visual interest.
A Backyard Paradise For Children and Pets
Children and pets have particular needs for outdoor spaces, and you’ll need to design spaces for play into your garden landscape.
- Items that facilitate large motor activities, such as trampolines and swing sets
- Leaves and sticks to use to build
- Places to hide, run, and climb
- Areas for digging
- Space for water play
- Transition zones between play spaces and the house, so kids can clean off before coming indoors
You’ll also need to make sure that those spaces are safe. For instance, you’ll need protection around the trampoline and a fence around the garden. Ponds should be very shallow, supervised, or fenced, and pools should be fenced as well. It can be safer to temporarily fill in a pond while you have very young children unless you are always there to supervise.
If you enjoy playing with your pets, many of the same issues apply. You’ll need strong fences, and you’ll also need areas where you and your pets can run and play without worrying about the landscaping. For instance, you could designate one side of your home as an area where your dog can run, play, and dig. If you also enjoy entertaining, you could do so on the other side of the house. Areas of heavy use can easily be hidden with shrubs or a fence.
Designing Spaces for Quiet Time
As you design your garden, plan for some quiet time in that space as well. Think about small nooks and the visual appeal of those spaces. Look for areas that are tucked away but offer a pleasant view of bushes, annual plantings, or the larger garden. Make that space comfortable by adding a table and cozy cushions.
Protect your space from the sun and the rain:
- Add an arbor
- Put a sun umbrella or awning over it
- Install a pergola with fairy lights
Consider the sounds of that space as well: if there is noise from traffic, could you add a water feature to mask that noise?
According to Forbes, you can create the feeling of seclusion by making smaller pathways and garden zones: “Even in a smaller patch, the idea of creating separate zones and secret gateways is a counterintuitive trick many designers use to boost a sense of space.”
How Will Your Garden Grow?
Every garden grows over time. As you plan for your backyard paradise, consider how flexible you can be in your garden planning. For instance, if you have young children, you might want to have a covered patio with a sand and water table. However, in a few years, the children will outgrow those play structures and you could convert that area into a sitting area for dinners in the garden. You could be on a budget right now and unable to complete that sunroom that leads to the patio outside, but you can always arrange the patio around the future entrance and exit to that indoor-outdoor space. Plan for the future as you create your garden, and you can save yourself time, money, and a lot of effort later on.
At Harry Helmet, we want you to not only feel comfortable in your yard, we want it to feel like home. Are you ready to turn your garden into one that is enjoyable all year round? Contact us to learn more about patio awnings, gutter guards, and roofing and schedule a free estimate today.