Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Are you looking for Backyard Landscaping Ideas? Springtime always gives us fresh eyes. The winter can become about blankets and hot drinks and simplifying life. As soon as that first fresh breeze wafts through the window, it comes with possibilities and ideas that can create more chaos than results. Having some action steps will help your ideas become reality. So let’s take it in stages and see what your backyard becomes!

The Research

Set a timer. I’m serious. This is the first place plans go sideways. It is so important to see pictures, read blogs and research your ideas. Just don’t fall down the rabbit hole so far that you lose the motivation to act towards your own goals. Admiring others’ already beautiful yards is at first inspiring, but if you aren’t strategic it can become overwhelming.

What are you looking for when you are researching? Well, if you haven’t already developed it, looking at images of beautiful yards is a great way to get a sense of your own personal style. We all light up when we find something beautiful. We see it in the wild and are drawn to different things, because we are all unique. Here are some thoughts on themes as you research:

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

1) Edible Gardens & Outdoor Kitchens

Flowers are beautiful, but the smell of rosemary and thyme is intoxicating. If you are wanting to garden and feel the satisfaction of eating what you produce, edible gardens are incredibly worth the time and effort. Consider raised boxes for the extra sun and being easier on your back when you weed and harvest.

rosemary and thyme

Make a list of all the vegetables you eat on a regular basis and then research their sun/water requirements. Companion planting is a very fun game to play. Tomatoes and marigolds like each other. Carrots don’t like being near dill, parsnips and parsley, etc. And if you are eating the outdoors, why not eat in the outdoors? Summertime food prep can be endlessly enjoyable with a mini outdoor kitchen.

2) Zen & Minimalist Retreats

The busyness of our lives often needs a counterbalance. Your backyard space can be a retreat specifically tailored to you. Low maintenance trees, bushes and perennials will help decrease the work. Trade grass for stones and dry riverbeds. You don’t want to come home to more work, so sell your lawn mower and get rid of the clutter.

Feature a fountain and create spaces to relax. Spend the money on comfortable chairs. Cozy up the spaces under overhanging roofs. Put outdoor blankets in decorative waterproof deck boxes. Don’t let the rain keep you inside. Make it a place to breathe and be yourself.

3) English & Classic Gardens

Messy and manicured. How does one accomplish both looks at once? The British figured it out. And, for some of us, it is a look that makes us feel at home. Paths are best curved, not straight. Never settle for only one type of plant in a bed, you obviously need at least ten varieties!

Perennial beds work in the spring and fall, but will give a certain feeling of mass that will be hard to fill every year with just annuals. But leave spots for your new annual picks. This will give you the opportunity to play with different colours and textures from year to year.

Cut flowers like carnations, dahlias, strawflowers and daisies bring the extra joy of being able to come inside and fill vases all summer long. If you like to putter and learn experimentally, an English garden is a perfect choice.

4) Modern & Clean Looks

Forget the flowers for a moment. If you want to construct a modern, clean look you need to start with the infrastructure and accessories. Think straight, clean lines; neutral or natural colour base; water features, stone, concrete and wood; and strategic lighting. Some simplicity has the power to be stunning.

Minimalist Backyard Idea

This is the goal of a modern backyard. It may work for you to first find a feature element or piece of outdoor art. A pizza oven, a statue, a pool, a fireplace, or even an ornamental flowering tree. This will help define the theme and surrounding space.

5) Fun and Family-friendly

Loveseat swings, hanging chairs and soft places to lay in make great additions to family backyards. My sister spent endless hours reading and doing homework outside because of the comfy outdoor seating. Kids grow up fast and their interests change quickly, so it’s good to think forward and not develop a space that is so age specific that it becomes irrelevant in a few years.

graden swing

More permanent things can be age general and easily changed out accessories age specific. A raised bed for planting is a great way to include kids in the process of gardening. Drawing in birds and butterflies with flowers like cosmos, salvia, lantana and marigolds make your yard an interactive space.

The Set-up

This can only be done outside: in your backyard. If you’re me, you’re barefoot. Now maybe you are dealing with a brand new space, just dirt and dreams. Or maybe you are reimagining an already functional space. Close your eyes and just give it a moment. What do you see?

There are only so many elements, so now take the time to stake out (on the ground or in your mind) where the main four are going to take up space.

1. Paths

2. Patios/decks

3. Grass

4. Beds

Next you want to track the sun. This is especially important if you want to grow food. But it will also be important for understanding where to plant what. LusterLeaf SunCalc and other similar products help. You can also take a day and track it by sight.

Backyard Landscaping Ideas
Track the Sun

Draw your yard on a piece of paper and peek outside every hour or two and mark down where the sun begins and stops shining throughout the day. Plants labeled full sun will typically need 6+ hours, but some can need 8-10 hours of direct sunlight each day to be happy.

Another consideration is how to layer. Your space is not two dimensional and flat. There are many ways to go vertical. Don’t keep your fences boring, they are a backdrop to your creativity. Raised beds, tiered gardens, split decks are all fun ways to incorporate height. If you are going for family-friendly activities, never underestimate the many uses of a tree fort.

The Hunt for Accessories

There are many aisles to wander out there. Consider narrowing your trip to one of these categories at a time. It may help you to buy only what you really love instead of coming home with a conglomerate of stuff.


Are you going to eat outside? Will you bring a book and read if you have a comfy chair?

Home Outdoors

Sometimes we don’t shop for our lifestyles, but it’s best to be honest about what you will actually do. Then you won’t add clutter and each item will have meaning.


Finding things that are quality, unique and express your own personal style can be difficult in the big department garden stores and yet, we often can’t tour around to twenty different places to find a few items. The bigger stores are helpful to get an idea of what is out there, what is trending, and what your budget should be. Items like arches, trellises, solar lighting can be found there. But you might want to search a little farther for things like plant pots, decorative gnomes, etc.


Anticipate a hot summer’s day. Is there a watermelon cutting counter so the mess stays outside? Are there outdoor games stored in accessible places? Will you want to splash in a pool or will the kids want to be up a tree? Are there places to draw with chalk or sandboxes to create and destroy? Maybe your own little greenhouse or mini art studio could have a spot. Whatever you want to do for hours on end, invest in it and make spaces to have fun.


It will save a lot of time if you think about how you want to water your grass and plants. Underground sprinklers on timers sound efficient and hands off, but consider how much watering will be needed and if it would be enjoyable to have a task that connects you daily to your backyard.

Snap on hoses like Gardena brand make reaching all corners easy while still being a quick way to hide hoses when you’re done. If you’re feeling the need for a vintage watering can, it can be both decorative and useful.

Stay Focused & Be Strategic

Greenhouse Day

Walking through a greenhouse can be overstimulating to say the least. And you will want to take home every pretty thing. Resist! Unless it has a space all ready back home, the likelihood of it not surviving is quite high. I’m not suggesting only buying what’s on your list. You will find things at the greenhouse that fit your backyard space perfectly and you never knew they existed. They are treasures. Just consider these things as you shop:

Shade vs Sun

Now that you’ve mapped out how much sun hits which areas and you’ve carved out the spots for flower beds, gardens and placement of pots, you can strategize on paper which type of plants will go well in which spots by checking the tags at the greenhouse for sun requirements. Fine Gardening Magazine starts the conversation on what shade means, which is helpful to understand where your plants should go.

Drought Tolerant vs Watering Needs

If you are doing a rock garden or have hot, sunny spots in your yard, you will want more drought tolerant plants. They are also easier to care for. However, as thirsty as things like daisies are, there is nothing happier or worth the time. Some do’s and don’ts are found on Bob Vila’s site.


Not everything grows well in your area or will winter over, make sure you know your zone. Gardenia makes it easy to figure out your zone and suggested plants for your area.

Perennial vs Annual

If a perennial is zoned for your area, you will want to make sure it is planted in the ground so it winters over. Some plants can be taken into a cold room or shed in pots wrapped in burlap. Better Homes and Gardens answers your basic questions.

Not Just For The Humans

Keep in mind the bees, birds & butterflies. A garden full of colour is therapeutic for humans, but also draws in other friends. Garden Tech describes how to make a welcoming environment for Pollinators.

Pulling it All Together

Guaranteed you’ll be tweaking your plans as you go: revisiting more research, redrawing the lines in your backyard, taking trips back to the greenhouse and garden stores. Enjoy every minute of it. The wonderful thing about projects like this is that they can be enjoyable in the process, not just when they are finished. Dreaming, digging in the dirt, seeing each detail take shape- take the time to smile and celebrate. Now go make it happen!

Keep reading about the Best Backyard Ideas in 2022.

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