Small Backyard Designs

If you thought that landscaping and designing was only meant for long sprawling backyards, then you are wrong. Small backyards can be just as beautifully or perhaps even more beautifully designed to create a pleasant space for you and your family. If you have a small backyard which you want to renovate and transform into a useful and pleasant space attached to your home sweet home, then here are few useful tips on small backyard designs, which might help you. Just take your pick and transform your backyard area into a useful space for you and your family.

Finalizing the Backyard Design
Before you set out to pick a theme for your backyard it is very important to first tell you about the things that you will need to do before picking out a theme. Most of the time, since backyards are not frequently used for any specific purpose, everyday trash or junk from the house is dumped into the backyard. First of all, you need to get rid of piles of trash or junk that lie in your backyard. Having done that, if at all there are plants in the backyard, you need to decide whether it will go with the theme that you pick for your backyard.

If the plants and vegetation seem too shabby or unattended to, then it is always better to get rid of it and start from scratch. After cleaning out your backyard, you need to think of three important factors which will be instrumental in picking the design – the purpose for which you want to use your backyard, the style or theme which you want to incorporate and third and the most important point is the budget that you plan to go with.

Backyard Ideas for Small Spaces
There’s so much you can do to turn an ordinary spread of space into something you’ll be proud of upon transformation. A small backyard is not only easy to tend to, but ideal for the upcoming suggestions to spruce it up.
Let’s take a look at what you can do with your drab backyard area.

Backyards are an advantageous spot, being a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of city streets. Set up your backyard to take on the look of a meditative center, outside your home, where the air is fresh and the silence is welcoming. You can mow your lawn first and get rid of grass that’s gone wide, leaving behind a workable area. Set up yoga mats, an exercise ball, or even a couple of easy-to-move around exercise gear, that you can use whenever you feel the need to work up a sweat, or practice yoga/meditate.

You get these in all kinds of sizes to fit into your backyard. Based on the dimensions of your backyard, get an inflatable pool that is just the right size, so that it doesn’t take up too much space or get in anyone’s way. Kids these days should be encouraged to get out there and soak up some sun, as well as do something active than just while away hours in front of the television. They can always invite friends over, or the family could do something fun in the backyard for a change.

Backyard spaces can easily accommodate a mini kitchen, for those who prefer cooking in open-air spaces. You can always bring out your pots and pans when required, and keep food stored in the pantry before and after you cook. You could set up a barbecue station in your backyard, complete with picnic chairs and a table. Arrange everything in a way that suits your taste, where the tables should be a little far off from the barbecue grill to avoid fumes and the heat. It can be quite the setting to cook outdoors, instead of being holed up inside the house. Experiment with different sorts of seating arrangements from stone-made ensembles and folding chairs, to wicker-made furniture and wood finished sets.

In our fast-paced lives that need a desperate brake pedal to halt us every now and then, leisure not only takes the backseat, but the trunk. Lawn chairs, swings, and large bean bags can be set up in your backyard, where you can while away your Sunday reading, catching up with loved ones, sharing a drink with your partner, getting some shuteye, or sprawling out for a nice tan. On days when the sun’s too harsh, put up a wide umbrella big enough to cover the seating spot, to shade you/others from the light. This would come in handy on rainy days too.

Not a lot of people are keen to grow fruits/vegetables, being either lazy or not adventurous enough to try something new. With organic food being expensive, and health experts stressing on how obesity is going to kill us all one day, fresh produce is definitely the way to go. Take the time to do up your backyard and plant a variety of fruits/vegetables depending on the season. Watch how they grow and take form, as this is sure to push you to continue. Gardening is a beautiful, healthful, and relaxing way to spend your weekend, or a tiring day after work. Slip on those work gloves and get digging, because once you watch the seeds take form into flowering beauties, you’ll never look back. Backyards can really take on a wondrous makeover with flowers and plant life. Look for ways on how to expand and fill up your backyard with nature’s goodness.

These designs are sure to have you thinking up ways on how to change that space into something extraordinary, even if simple and pretty. Look up ways on how to do it up, and approach the idea with enthusiasm and creativity.

Tips on How to Maintain a Lawn

hqdefaultMaintaining a lawn is hard work. It is an ongoing process, and to get a healthy lawn, you need to devote a good amount of time to its maintenance. You can create a beautiful lawn with great effort, and to keep it that way, you need to take care of it by regularly weeding it, mowing it, using the right mix of fertilizers and a host of other methods.

Weed Control
Check your lawn at regular intervals to see if it has been invaded by weeds. You may find that weeds start to grow in spots that are barren or if the turf is thinning. If you find any such spots, scatter grass seeds over them, and regularly water them. If the turf has thinned out, spray fertilizers over the area for the grass to grow right back up. Grass also thins out in areas that witness heavy foot traffic. Weeds may also sprout in areas of the lawn that are close to the driveways and patios. Pull out these weeds as soon as you spot them. It’s better and cheaper to nip weed growth in the bud, rather than letting the problem go unnoticed. If not checked, weeds can grow rapidly and pulling them out would not be a feasible way to get rid of them. You may have to make use of herbicides which may turn out to be costly. If at all you have to use them, make sure you read the instructions carefully before applying them. Always water your lawn deeply and fertilize it with nitrogen to prevent growth of weeds like dollar spots and crabgrass. If you spot dandelions and want to clear them from your lawn, spray vinegar on them instead of herbicides.

Maintaining pH Level of Soil
The soil’s pH level is crucial for a healthy lawn. Get the pH level tested, either by purchasing a pH tester or by professionals. The ideal pH level should be between 6 and 7. If it’s lower than 7, the soil is acidic. If the reading is higher, the soil is alkaline. Lime is generally sprinkled over the turf to raise pH levels (in the form of calcitic or dolomitic lime), and granulated sulfur is added to reduce the pH level. Very high or very low pH levels mean that the grass and plants are not receiving adequate nutrients from the soil in the form of nitrogen, magnesium, sulfur, phosphorus, etc., and this may result in an unhealthy lawn.

Mowing
Mowing is one of the most important aspects for a neat looking, beautiful lawn. Mowing the grasses at the proper height and frequency ensures a healthy lawn. Mow the lawn regularly and also trim the growth around trees, gardens, bushes, patios, driveways, and the edges of the yard. Alter the pattern of mowing every week. This ascertains that the lawn does not acquire a set design of indentations and grooves and also prevents soil compaction. The most important guideline to follow while mowing is to cut 1/3rd of the length of the grass. The ideal height of the grass should be maintained between 2½ to 3½ inches. Taller glass blades act as a deterrent to the growth of weeds. Let the grass grow slightly taller, especially in summer, it helps to retain moisture and saves you from watering very frequently. Cut the grass with the lawn mower blades set at a high level. Sharpen the lawn mower blades once every three months. Wait for two days to mow the lawn if it has been treated with fertilizers. Use the mower during the evening hours, to make certain that the newly mowed grass gets a few hours of reprieve from direct sunlight. Also, avoid mowing early in the morning. The dew that forms on the grasses is actually beneficial for it. Mowing will rob the grass from the revitalizing effects of the humidity present in the dew.

Fertilization
Fertilization is necessary for a healthy lawn. Nitrogen is the nutrient that’s vital for the optimal growth of grass, gives it its dark green color, and also keeps weeds at bay. If your lawn has cool season grasses, the ideal time to fertilize would be during the fall, and again during spring. For warm season grasses, it’s best to fertilize in late spring and late summer. Fertilization strengthens the root system and enhances new growth. Fertilize your lawn twice a year. Ensure that you use the right kind and amount of fertilizer for your lawn depending on the type of grass that grows. Other than nitrogen, lawns require phosphorus and potassium. Phosphorus aids in seed development and root growth, and potassium builds resistance to diseases. The best way to know how much fertilizer you need is to calculate the area of your lawn in square feet. The fertilizer bag will contain all instructions regarding the concentration of nutrients present, and how much and when to use it. Go through them carefully before you begin fertilizing. Fertilizing a lawn should always be followed by watering it. Do not fertilize a dry lawn.

Watering
Watering is essential to replenish the soil. Usually most grasses can remain without water for a week, but any later than that, and you will begin to notice signs of drying, when the grass starts turning yellow. Be resourceful and channel the waste water and bath water from your home and water the lawn with it. If the surface of the lawn is very hard and dry, prick it using a garden fork before watering it, which will help retain the water. Water in the cooler part of the day, either mornings or evenings, so less water is lost due to heat and evaporation. Irrigate deeply, and not too frequently. You can also add soluble nutrients to the water, which will not only nourish the grass, but also kill harmful moss and weeds.

Dethatching
Thatch is nothing but a layer of dead stems, roots, and grass clippings that gradually accumulates over a period of time between the grass and soil. It builds up in lawns especially if they have warm season grasses, and if grass has not been cut for long. The process of removing the thatch from a lawn is called dethatching. This allows the roots to grow better, and absorb more oxygen and water needed for survival. Though excess thatch is harmful for a lawn, a small layer of thatch can actually be useful. It holds back the moisture and also provides some shade from direct sunlight. To dethatch, use special dethatching blades that can be attached to the lawn mower. Or use a mower that’s designed just to dethatch.

Aeration
One of the most eco-friendly approaches to maintain a healthy lawn, aeration of the lawn is done by pricking holes in the lawn and is mostly used to break down compacted soil. Sometimes, also referred to as core aeration, this process also aids in dethatching. Loosening up the compacted soil allows it to breathe by providing it with more oxygen. Nutrients, fertilizers, and water can easily seep deeper into the soil, reaching directly to the roots. Ideally, water the lawn a day prior to aerating it, and aerate when the soil is still soft, but not too mushy.

Mulching
Mulch is a protective layer placed over the surface of the lawn to keep the grass greener and aiding in water retention. The best materials used for lawn mulch would be straws of wheat and barley. The fallen leaves that you rake can be used as mulch too. Since straw and leaves are biodegradable and organic, on decomposition, they nourish the grass and prevent soil erosion. You can use a mulch lawn mower to cut the grass. These specific kinds of mowers cut the top of the grass into small pieces, and these clippings should then be left in the turf to act as mulch.

Little wonder then, that tending a lawn involves so many efforts and a great deal of your time. But be sure, all the hard work pays off. A lawn not only makes for a beautiful landscape, but the plants and trees can act as a noise barrier, and provide more oxygen and effectively reduce pollution.

Landscaping Ideas That Lend a Relaxing Effect to Your Front Yard

Front yards are very important, because first impressions are formed by what people see, even when they are only passing by. This is determined by the location, size, and other design aspects of the house and what the owner wishes to emphasize. There are many different things that are available to the designer, color, along with size and shape of plants and trees, as well as texture of leaves. One can use contrast or other effects that use several different plants and trees.

Front Yard Focal Points
This is usually created by color or plant size or both to bring the eye to an entrance way or other area of a house or yard. It can be beautifully created by two shrubs of one or different colors and then in the center a shrub of a third possibly brighter color.

Front Yard Step
What Else Is Important
The aspects of landscape design can be mixed and used together to create an impressive front yard. Large shrubs, all with the same color, size, and texture can be used as a backdrop for a small colorful garden, that is otherwise surrounded by colorful rocks that have either a complementary or contrasting color scheme.
Color
The main color differences are warm colors (red, orange, and yellow), used to attract attention either to something, an address for example, or away from a plain-colored wall.
There are also cool colors (blues, and purples), that are relaxing and good for meditation gardens.

In a front yard, colors can be used along with “line” to draw attention to a path leading up to the front door along a path or driveway. This color rendering can be achieved by planting flowering plants with bright hues, along the path lining.

Line
Straight or “hard” lines direct the eye along a path and emphasize length; this might be good for making a small house or yard look bigger. Curved lines, as in a round or semi-circular garden soften long straight hard lines of buildings. This is one way of creating a balanced landscape composition.

Plant Form and Texture
There are several plant forms or textures (of leaves and branching trends). There is the columnar (an extreme would be the Lombardy Poplar, with its branches pointing to the sky), weeping trees (trees like the weeping willow, and Japanese Maple tree), that give a luxurious feel and can be very impressive in a yard or garden, and spreading trees, shrubs. Relative size of plants and trees should be kept gradual except in special cases, where special effects are desired. In this case, extremely tall trees or plants (like the elephant ear) would be placed close to ferns or other plants with small leaves, thus producing a striking contrast.

Border Definition
Usually created by fences, walls or other borders such as with a rock wall or border, border definition is necessary around garden areas to give a finished look. In a front yard it is nice to have a small garden next to the house, to bring color and contrast to a brick wall or to a color that is not so pleasing to the eye. In this case, using a border of small bricks or a small fence is nice.
mowed lawns are a recent custom in our society. Other yard plans are definitely optional and looking just like the neighbors is not a necessity. One beautiful plan is a desert look. This look takes plants and trees that would be found in a warm dry climate and brings them together to cover a full front yard. This gives a yard a full, unique, and well-cared for look if done right. Use rocks, metal jars, sculptures, various plant varieties and other such resources according to the theme you’ve decided.

There are many other sources for great landscaping design ideas in many different places. The Internet has a lot of information and there are even whole courses and websites for landscaping ideas. Another source for ideas on landscaping yards is the local library or possibly local college courses that might cover landscape ideas. This article is just the beginning of many sources that are available for learning more about landscaping your front yard.

Use space intelligently to create an aesthetically compelling expression, that goes with the architecture of your house. Think out-of-the-box, listen to the artistic spirit within you, to begin your composition!

Stunning Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Backyard landscaping does not have to be a lot of hard work. There are many ideas for a low maintenance backyard. There are options that can give privacy to a portion of the yard while you enjoy some cozy moments with friends and family. The backyard can have many uses and you can use different landscaping ideas to create a low maintenance, multipurpose yard. In this article, we have listed some tips on creating a versatile, relaxing, and absolutely stunning landscape for your backyard.
Unique Backyard Landscape Design Ideas
Your neighborhood codes may dictate certain formal prerequisites for front yard landscaping. As a result, all the houses in a neighborhood look more or less the same. However, no such codes exist for landscaping backyard, meaning, you can implement some unique and personal landscaping ideas to your backyard. It can be your haven for unwinding after a busy day at work or your holiday home, in your own backyard.

There is really no dearth of good backyard landscaping ideas that can appeal to people of different personal tastes.
If you are an animal or bird lover, then you can create a backyard that can attract many species of birds and wildlife. Plant plenty of tall trees, bushes in your backyard. Place bird feeds at strategic locations in a backyard. Build a small pond from where birds can drink water and play. Have a grassy patch in your backyard to attract wild animals such as hares, rabbits, deer, etc. However, if you choose to have animals in your backyard, it wouldn’t be a very wise idea to grow flowerbeds or vegetables patches in your backyard.
Build a small pond from where birds can drink water and play. Have a grassy patch in your backyard to attract wild animals such as hares, rabbits, deer, etc. However, if you choose to have animals in your backyard, it wouldn’t be a very wise idea to grow flowerbeds or vegetables patches in your backyard.
You can transform your backyard to resemble a Caribbean retreat. Turn your backyard into a resort by placing some bamboo umbrella shades, beach recliners, and sand. You can choose to have builder’s sand or sharp sand, or even river sand if you can manage. You can also build a hammock and plant some tall trees around to shield your Caribbean oasis from prying eyes in the neighborhood.
Rock garden is yet another interesting option for you to design your backyard. You can use nice, colorful stones and pebbles of different sizes to decorate your garden. A stone based fountain can be quite an addition to a rock garden. Xerophytes such as cactus look apt in a rock garden. You can plant tall, evergreen trees at the perimeter of your backyard to break the monotonous look of rocks and add some greenery. Placing rocks around the plants can also add up to the beauty of your backyard garden.
This is a popular landscaping idea for backyard, albeit a little pricey one. A swimming pool in a backyard provides a great ambiance for summer parties. You can have deck or pool parties around a swimming pool. Besides, you may also have a couple of small ponds where you can breed colorful varieties of fish and plant water lilies. Adding lights in and around the pond would make it an eye-catching masterpiece in the night. You can also create a fish pond!
If you intend to go for a very neat and clean look, then an English-style backyard landscape can be ideal for you. Plant some bushes and shrubs around the edge of the yard and maintain a monotonous look of a lawn. Prune the hedges in a pyramid shape or the classic round one.
While pruning, maintain a bottom heavy shape, so that sunlight can reach the new growth. You can add a fun element to your backyard by pruning the hedges in unusual shape such as elephant, dinosaurs, etc. However, you will need regular maintenance to keep up the look.
If you do not have too much of space in your backyard to implement any of the above themes, you can opt for a simple landscape with numerous deck planters.
Place attractive pots or planters around the deck and grow colorful flowers. While going for huge planters, cover the bottom half of the planter with plastic bottles or tins, to avoid using so much of potting soil.
If privacy is a concern then solve it with backyard landscaping as an alternative to fencing. Some possibilities are taller formal or informal hedges and vine filled lattice work. However, fencing would be a good idea to give swimming pool area a great deal of privacy and thus some safety for those using it. It is also a great idea to set off sections in order to use for different purposes, such as a section for sports and games that is fenced off for safety and protection of the garden areas. Another section might be a circular section for meditation that is walled off with latticework and filled with cool colored flowers that promote peaceful thoughts. A nice bench to provide a sitting area for reading is also a good idea.
Thus, you can implement any landscaping idea for backyard as per your budget and personal taste. While there is always an option of hiring a professional, you can refer to some self-help books on landscaping and create your own backyard landscape.