Front & Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Deciding on a landscape design can be difficult with all the choices available to gardeners. You can go with a more common style that will blend well with neighbors' yard or veer off into left field and choose something out of the ordinary. Your front yard can be well groomed and formal, secretly misleading to the jungle growing in the backyard. It all boils down to personal preference and perhaps some intensive research for ideas.

Native Wildlife Habitat Landscape

Planting species native to your area will help to keep them alive for future generations. Not only does this benefit people, planting native species helps to provide habitat for local, native wildlife. Birds, rabbits and other small creatures take refuge in brush. Try piling tree trimmings and logs in the corner of the property. The idea is to make it a suitable habitat for animals as well as to be attractive to the homeowner. If prettily blooming native vines are used, they will disguise the brush pile while adding additional food for animals and insects. Adding a pond, stream or both will increase your chances of attracting a variety of wildlife to your garden. The sound of running water is a magnet to creatures great and small so a fountain would be a good addition to this type of landscape. Adding a two-way mirror to a house or viewing shed will allow you to observe wildlife without startling them with your presence. This landscape would also be useful for schoolchildren learning about nature.

Butterfly Garden

One of the most popular landscapes are gardens dedicated to butterflies. When you choose the plants, try to select species with varying bloom times. This assures that the butterflies will have an ample food source at most times throughout the season. Choose several plants to be used as hosts for butterfly larva. The caterpillars need certain plants if they are to survive. The plants chosen are dependent upon the preferred butterfly species you want. Adding several species of host plants will ensure various types of butterflies thrive in the garden. Set up feeding stations with ripened fruits and sugar water. Shallow saucers are preferred as the butterflies may drown in deep dishes. Providing suitable minerals such as damp, mineral rich clay or fresh horse manure will keep butterflies happy and healthy. A few good plant choices for a butterfly garden include daisies, sedum, trumpet vine, hibiscus, bee balm, butterfly weed, alyssum, butterfly pea and violets.

Swamp Garden

Here is an idea you will not see every day. Swamps are usually rich in plants and wildlife so try to create your own. If you have a boggy area already, it can be further excavated to accommodate a greater variety of plants. For dry landscapes, dig a pond and line it with concrete or a pond liner. Planting swamp type trees and flowers will add to the illusion. Cypress trees, Spanish moss, duckweed, azolla, swamp cabbage, duck potato, waterlilies and sedges are all great additions to a swampy landscape. Draping Spanish moss and other air plants from the branches of trees and stumps will make your swamp seem as old as time. A realistic, concrete alligator aged with mosses and partially submerged in the water would be a nice addition as well. Try stocking the water with native fish and maybe a turtle or two will move in. This landscape, if well executed will attract raccoons, herons, other birds, turtles, snakes and much more. If provided with enough natural food and proper cover, turtles, raccoons and herons may even pick your yard as a breeding site.

Keywords: backyard garden ideas, curb appeal ideas, how to landscape my yard

About this Author

Izzy McPhee has been a freelance writer since 1999. She writes about gardening, nature conservation, pond care, aquariums, child care, family, living on a budget and do-it-yourself projects. Her paintings have appeared in the well known gallery The Country Store Gallery in Austin, Texas. Her work can be seen on Suite101.com and Demand Studios.