Planning Your Dream Backyard

A dream backyard is the perfect complement to a dream home. The house is where you live, and the yard is where you relax and play. The best way to have the perfect yard for you is to plan it down to every square foot available. The better you plan, the more pool time, lounge time, and party time you can get out of your yard. It’s that simple. Here are some tips for creating a backyard retreat you will love.

What Do You Want?
The first thing you need to do is think long and hard about how you plan on enjoying the yard. If you don’t like or aren’t able to swim, then the space where you might put a pool could be put to better use. Like sitting in the shade and reading? Do you have young kids or pets who will be using the yard too? All these things need to be taken into consideration before the first shovel is struck, or the first line is drawn in the grass or dirt. Next, make a prioritized list of all the uses you want to get out of your yard so that you can make sure the most important things are included in case you run out of space or there is no appropriate spot for something.

What Do You Have To Work With?
Take a walk around the property to see what’s there. Make a list and mark off things that should be removed, like any rotting branches or tree trunks, and anything that can be used, like a solid tree for a tire swing. If there are previous structures, like sheds or a deck, assess how sturdy they are, and whether they should be destroyed or moved. Make sure to also check for any potential hazards, like old metal equipment or dangerous plants.

What Are The Rules?
Some communities and municipalities have strict rules about what you can and can’t do. Fences can only be a certain height, for example, or buildings of a certain size may be prohibited. Make sure you know the by-laws and rules ahead of time, so your plan can reflect them. If you build something, and it turns out to break a rule, then you may have to pay a fine, or worse, take down the whole project.

Map It Out
Remember pen and paper? Pull them out and start drawing. Your contractor or a professional can make more precise drawings, so just worry a general idea that sticks as close to possible to scale. Hiring a professional designer at this stage might be beneficial, as they can provide an outsider’s perspective and give you ideas you may never have dreamed of. They’ll take your drawing and rework it to something even better. Once you have it mapped, walk the property imagining the layout to see how it might work to walk through it. There are many things that are potentially done in the backyard, from letting the dogs out to putting out the trash. Make sure it will be convenient to do all those things.

When planning, try to treat your yard like a house. A house has separate rooms, and your yard can have “rooms” too, even if there are only virtual walls. Separation can make a space seem much more dynamic. For instance, separate the pool area with a fence or some shrubs, then use bushes and a pathway to lead to the gazebo. Your deck can have separate areas for socializing and for eating, and those areas don’t even have to be on the same level. Get creative and fill your yard with “rooms” you’ll love.

Finishing Touches
As the building, digging, and creating are happening, start to decide what furniture and accessories you’d like to have. Try and have complementary colors, and colors that go well with any surrounding foliage. Creating a theme for each “room” is a great idea to give a pleasing and cohesive vibe. There is no end to the choices for backyard furniture and equipment, so just keep shopping until you find that perfect pieces for your yard.

All that’s left is to relax and have fun!

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