How to Landscape Your Backyard


While front yard landscapes create a welcoming appearance for incoming visitors and individuals passing by your house, backyard landscapes fulfill a variety of different purposes. Privacy, relaxation, and an opportunity to view wildlife make a backyard landscape efficient and enjoyable. You can incorporate all these important functions into your backyard landscape by using plants and structures to enhance this area. Make your backyard a place for quiet reflection and relaxation, as well as a location to entertain visitors.

Step 1

Make a sketch of your current backyard features. Use a piece of graph paper to allow proper size and placement of each feature. Take a few pictures from different angles to examine. Draw in any structures you want to incorporate, such as a pond, pergola, play area, picnic table or bench. Include pathways to these structures and garden areas. Avoid using straight lines that create a feeling of stiffness and force. Use curves along garden borders and in paths to create flow and grace. Write down a variety of plants to include in your backyard landscape.

Step 2

Select trees for shade and privacy, shrubs for wildlife forage and flowers for color. Use large, columnar trees along property lines to divide your yard from others and to create a backdrop for your backyard landscape. Avoid placing large trees near power lines and underground pipes. Keep in mind the mature size of different tree varieties when placing in close proximity to your house and other structures.

Step 3

Determine the types of wildlife you hope to attract and plant varieties of shrubs and berries to encourage these visitors. Choose flowers according to size, color and blossoming time to create beauty throughout the growing season. Select ground covers, such as grass or creeping thyme, to incorporate into your backyard landscape.

Step 4

Integrate your sketched design into your current backyard by performing all dirt work first. Remove any existing vegetation and structures that you no longer require. Level the surface before planting grass or other ground covers. Lay out new walkways and garden borders. Haul in any necessary topsoil or soil for planters and gardens.

Step 5

Plant trees, shrubs and flowers according to your sketched design. Place backyard plants in easy reach of a water source. Add finishing touches to your backyard landscape with birdbaths, wind chimes and other yard decorations.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Camera
  • Topsoil
  • Landscape edging
  • Rock, paving stones or concrete
  • Grass or other ground cover plants
  • Flower plants or flower seeds
  • Shrubs
  • Trees
  • Yard decorations


  • University of Florida: Basic Principles of Landscape Designs
  • Purdue University: Three Essential Elements of Wildlife Habitat
Keywords: landscape design, trees and shrubs, backyard landscape

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.