Beautify Your Backyard

Beautify Your Backyard
by Keith Markensen

There is more to landscaping your backyard than just putting plants here and there. It should be thought of as a kind of art through which we can express our personality and creative abilities. Consider the three elements in landscaping design: structure, area and the texture of the plants.

What is structure? Basically, this is the form that the plant takes and how its branches are arranged. There are different shapes to trees. Some have a hanging effect, such as the white bark willow, whilst others have a very stiff, upright appearance such as poplar trees.

Area is the second element of landscaping design. This is not the size of the yard; rather, it is the visual “flow” and arrangement of the plants. In an effective landscape design, the different groups of plants lead the eye around the garden.

Another important aspect of landscaping design is texture. Technically speaking, texture is how the plant appears in relation to the other plants that are around it. One example is that of the marigold, that looks either “rough” or “smooth” depending upon the plants that it is grouped with.

Once you have an understanding of how these elements work, you can put them to good use. The following are some more ideas as to how you can landscape your backyard.

Planning

Plant Stuff

When you are planning your landscape, you should make a list of all the items and tools you will need. Have a list of “substitute” plants for the eventuality that your first choice is unobtainable.

Work out a schedule for the building, prioritizing as you do so. This will assist you to estimate the time you will need to set aside to complete the landscaping. Most average projects can be completed in a week or fortnight.

Selecting the Plants

Using the design elements discussed earlier, choose the plants. Many varieties of plants will work well en masse. Aim to create a 3D effect that looks effective from no matter where you view it.

Use your creativity. Think about a theme to use in the garden design. Some examples of commonly used themes are country, romantic, tropical or formal.

Make it work – the Construction Process

Make sure that the soil is adequately prepared. You may decide to have elevated beds, either by heaping the soil or using landscape stones as borders. Elevated beds eliminate the problem of excess water loss during irrigation.

There is an optimum time to plant trees and other foliage. This is during the months of October and November. Planting at this time of the year allows the plants to establish their root system during the dormant winter months in time for the new growth in spring.

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