Do your New Year’s resolutions mainly include activities for self-development, such as learning a new hobby and spending more time with loved ones? Or does your list include home improvement, especially renovating and redesigning your backyard?
If you’re part of the latter, you might be raring to go and get some work done. However, jumping straight into the actual renovation without a plan might cause you to get disappointed. To prevent that, check out our guide to planning your backyard for the upcoming year.
Define your backyard’s purpose
Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once said that for every task, one must “begin with the end in mind,” and it’s the same for planning out your backyard. Before deciding what things to install, you should first determine the primary purpose of your backyard.
Will it serve as an outdoor space for hanging out, or will it be an outdoor extension of your home’s living area? Will it be for hosting family gatherings, such as outdoor barbecue parties or outdoor mini-Olympic games? Will the space be for growing floral plants, or will it be for growing vegetables for your sustenance? If you have pets, will your backyard have pet-friendly recreational activities? Or will you prefer to pack all kinds of features in your backyard?
Defining your backyard’s purpose will help you set the direction for planning the items in your backyard. This will also help you select the right materials for long-lasting backyard space, from the right decking boards to the paint.
Take stock of what you have
Take stock of what you currently have before designing the layout of your backyard. Doing so will help you know which features of your backyard you like or don’t like. You can retain what you like and incorporate them into your design plan. You can choose to update or replace what you don’t like.
Consider the characteristics of your backyard, such as its topography and microclimate. These characteristics can affect the layout of your backyard. Topography refers to the shape of your backyard’s land surface, which can influence the arrangement of plants and furniture in your backyard.
For example, does your backyard feature a sloping area? If so, you can go for a terraced garden. If you have kids or pets, you can turn the backyard into a playground and install slides on the sloping ground.
On the other hand, microclimate determines how natural forces like the sun and the wind affect your backyard. Sun mapping, in particular, helps you determine how much and how often the sunshine hits certain areas of your backyard.
For example, if a space in your backyard receives sunlight the entire day, you can consider putting a succulent zone in that area. If you prefer to install furniture in a sunny spot, consider installing a roof above it.
Consider decking your backyard
For a multi-purpose backyard, consider installing decking. A decking area extends your living space outdoors and provides a stable base for outdoor furniture so you can host plenty of people for parties and social gatherings. Having a deck also lets you relax and enjoy the view while being shielded from outdoor elements such as damp soil.
In terms of aesthetics, decking can provide a unique, warm texture to your backyard. If you have a swimming pool, the type of decking material can influence the look and feel of the area. For example, timber decking can give the swimming pool a relaxing and zen ambiance.
You’ll have to be careful of the decking material you use. Choose durable, easy-to-maintain decking materials that do not rot when frequently wet. If you prefer decks with a smooth finish, you can use deck plugs to cover deck fasteners.
To maximize your installed decking, you can also incorporate storage spaces, especially for elevated decks. You can use the extra storage space to store garden equipment, seasonal items, or outdoor toys or gear.
Draw a layout of your plans
Once you determine your vision for your backyard and the features you wish to update, replace, or maintain, you can now draw a rough sketch of what you want your backyard to look like.
Making a rough sketch will help estimate the size of the decking, furniture, or garden plot to install. Drawing a rough sketch also prevents you from overestimating and purchasing unnecessary materials and helps you see how everything comes together.
For a cohesive and unified look for your backyard, stick to a particular landscaping theme. Choosing a theme will help you select the plants and materials to install in your backyard since you’ll have to abide by a set of criteria.
Remember, your chosen landscaping theme must complement the architecture of your house and must support the primary purpose you set for your backyard.
Plan out the partitions
If you plan to divide your backyard into zones based on their uses, you can determine the type of partitions to use beforehand. These partitions don’t have to be boring and ruin your backyard’s overall theme. There are many options that add to the functionality and aesthetic of your backyard.
One method to create division in your backyard is by using plants. Climbing plants, like vines and creepers, are an excellent choice. Since they are adaptable, you won’t have any problems growing them. Just install an archway or trellis and attach the climbing plants to them.
You can also use privacy panels to create partitions in your backyard, especially when separating the sitting and recreational areas. Privacy panels can help maintain the tranquility and relaxing ambiance of the sitting areas.
For more information about planning your backyard, check out this resource.