Don’t think of it as a backyard. Behind your house lies a wild meadow, a night-sky dining room, a mysterious path, or even an open-air art gallery. Potentially.
With summer 2017 just around the corner, think big (without breaking your budget) with these 11 backyard landscaping ideas:
Dine en plein air all summer under a night sky. Nothing feels more festive than a string or three of cafe lights. See our favorites in 10 Easy Pieces: Outdoor String Lights.
Perimeter of Perennials
Above: A perennial border planted with white Phlox paniculata ‘David’; Echinacea ‘Coconut Lime’; Platycodon; Aster ‘Bluebird’ and Digitalis ferruginea. For more of this garden, see It’s High Season in Grace Kennedy’s Garden.
Create a buffer between your yard and the neighbors’ (or the road) with a wide garden bed planted with tall summer-flowering perennials. Joe Pye weed, anyone?
Above: For more of this garden, see A California Garden Inspired by the Classics. Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista.
Nothing is more cooling in summer heat than serene symmetry. Create a mirror-image garden with a walkway or (or staircase if your hard is steep) that bisects the space, then add side-by-side plantings to create repetition and rhythm.
Family Fire Pit
Above: For more of this garden, see Garden Designer Visit: A Burst of Color in the Green Mountains.
Create a destination with a fire pit. It will draw marshmallow-bearing family members out of the house and into garden. Pick a site at the edge of the property so it feels like a journey to reach the fire pit (this will make the backyard feel more spacious).
Add: Edible Garden
Above: For more of this garden, see Before & After: A Kitchen Garden in Sussex, England. Photograph courtesy of Annie Guilfoyle.
Fence in the food, plant your edibles in raised beds, and declare victory: there will be salad all summer.
A Mysterious Path
No matter how small your backyard is, you can create mystery and a sense of depth with a path whose end you cannot see. Plant perennials alongside the walkway to obscure the destination.
Design: Nap Destination
Above: For more of this garden, see At Home in LA: Jeweler Kathleen Whitaker’s Secret Garden.
Two trees plus one hammock equals lazy summer afternoons.
Above: Photograph by Erin Boyle. For more, see Hardscaping 101: Guide to Sustainable Landscape Design.
Mow less. It’s a waste of your time (and water). Tear up some of the lawn and replace it with a wildflower meadow of hardy natives.
Above: For more of this garden, see Architect Visit: Barbara Chambers at Home in Mill Valley.
Not ready to say goodbye to turf? Install artificial grass to save water and time (needs no mowing). Are you on the fence? Read more in Pros and Cons: Artificial Grass Versus a Live Lawn.
Above: For more of this garden, see Grace Knowlton in the Garden.
The midcentury artist Isamu Noguchi once said, “I like to think of gardens as a sculpturing of space.” Add a focal point to the landscape with an abstract sculpture. For more ideas, see 10 Easy Pieces: Noguchi Style Sculpture and Rocks.
Above: For more of this garden, see Elegant Deer Fencing, Hamptons Edition.
Do not fear deer. They just look smarter than us. They can be thwarted–and the roses saved–without making your garden look like a prison yard. For stylish deer-proof fencing ideas, see Hardscaping 101: Design Guide for Fences.
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