A creative and inspiring back yard is simply designing a yard that suits your aesthetic and practical needs. It’s not that different from planning and decorating the inside of your home. Your yard is an extension of your house so imagine it as a room with all the walls removed. With a little imagination, you can create the flow and layout of the space as it pleases you.
Let’s begin by getting your ideas down on paper. Once your plan is laid out, you can start on the dirty work that will make your yard dream a rewarding reality. After all, all things start with a plan.
You will need:
- Plat mat (this is a map drawn to scale that shows the division of your land. These can be obtained through your local Public Works department.
- Extra-long tape measure around 100 feet.
- Graphing paper and tracing paper.
- Design ideas pulled from trade magazines (optional).
If you do not have a plat mat, you can measure the entire space. You will want to measure the perimeter, the width and length, and the distance to any obstructions such as trees or patios that will remain in the yard. Draw your yard to scale on graph paper including the obstructions. You will want to plot out any utility lines that run through the main space as well as sprinkler components.
Make several copies of your base drawing. Browse through some landscaping magazines. There are many of these available at any local bookstore. You can also search online. Cut out and make a “vision board” to help you conceptualize your final product. If you notice yards in your neighborhood that you find pleasing, make note of the landscaping elements used.
Use your collection of ideas to decide on a theme for your yard. A theme pulls the space together and uses similar elements to create cohesion. Walk through your yard to begin to get a sense of the natural flow of your space. Consider paths that you use frequently such as those to a gate, patio, shed, or favorite sitting area.
Make note of the areas that receive the most sun throughout the day. Use this information to research and determine what plants and flowers to include in your design. Draw a rough sketch on one of your base drawing copies. Use landscaping elements such as water features, plants and bushes, rock gardens, or seating to create focal points.
Now is the time to transform your sketch into a final plan. Use one of your base drawing copies and transfer your ideas, paying close attention to scale this time. Take one more walk-through to help you visualize your backyard. Place a piece of tracing paper over your sketch. Draw out any changes or additions that need to be made to your irrigation system.