In many respects, the backyard is the heart of a home's outdoor space. Families, taking advantage of a more private setting away from street traffic and front-porch sitters, gather there to relax, eat and play. Even the smallest of backyards can be transformed into an oasis or a getaway from life's hectic pace. Pick and choose landscaping concepts that enhance your outdoor experience.
Build walls or fences that separate sections of the backyard for individual uses. Install fencing at property lines to offer more privacy from neighbors. Surround a vegetable garden with fencing to keep stray balls out and prevent animals from nibbling on tomatoes and cucumbers. Construct low walls, made of brick or stone, around a barbecue area or to create a natural, curving walkway to another part of the yard.
Grow a variety of plants that add visual appeal and practical appeal. Cultivate flowering plants that have pleasing fragrances, such as scented geraniums and lavender, and colors that can be cut for use in table centerpieces. Incorporate trees that provide shade. Grow shrubs and plants of different heights to add variety to the landscape. Tuck in herbs and edible plants amidst ornamental varieties.
Consider how you primarily use your backyard and enhance those features. Jazz up a patio with brick or flagstone and plant mossy groundcover in the crevices. Build an outdoor grilling space complete with equipment and counter space. Find a corner reading nook, furnish it with Adirondack chairs and plant taller, fragrant plants around it for privacy.
Keep longer, grassy areas open for yard games like Frisbee, touch football, croquet, cornhole or volleyball. Construct sand-filled horseshoe pits or provide an area for boccie ball. Provide enough space for pets and people to run and mingle.
Personalize your backyard by adding decorative features like arbors for roses and flowering vines to climb up and over. Build meandering paths made of gravel or flat stones to different parts of the yard, and incorporate mosaic stepping stones. Install a fountain and make it a focal point. Add whimsical pieces such as gazing balls, engraved rocks and smaller statues. Purchase colorful flower pots to sit along paths and seating areas.
Choose a restrained, but obvious theme for the entire backyard. Plant hibiscus and ornamental grasses to create a tropical look. Plant annual flowers in cowboy boots and add an old wagon wheel near the home. Create a desert getaway with potted succulents and Spanish-style patterns, colors and eye-catching elements. Build an English garden with rambling roses and delphiniums.