A yard is all your own, a spot for relaxation, entertaining, and play. If your landscaping could use a bit of a facelift but you’ve never tackled this kind of designing before, you might be overwhelmed by all the choices you can make. Luckily, we have some simple tips for you in order to help plan your next yard design!
Take Stock of the Property
Before you start anything, do a walk-around and consider what you like and don’t like about the space. Make sure you bring a pad of paper, so you can make a list of what’s salvageable (like that 100-year old oak tree) and what’s not (the sagging rotten deck). You should also make note of any permanent storage you have (like sheds and garages) and the position of these spots. Do they need to be moved or camouflaged? This is the point when you should also factor in any geographical and legal considerations. Think about the wildlife that may eat new plants or maximum fence heights/ projects that may require permits.
The next step is to make a plan, on paper. This provides a birds-eye view of your overall yard project, which can then be started logically in steps. When drawing up the plans, draw bubbles to represent generic spaces like your patio, playground, garage, and pool. Once you have these, link the bubbles together with pathways, lawn areas, and gardens. You’ll find that having these drawn out on paper can help you notice the relationships between spaces allowing you to get every individual space to flow into the next. Think of how people will move from the front yard to the back or from a primary patio to a secondary patio. If you’re having trouble with this, consider hiring a professional who can open your eyes to options you may not think of!
Any good garden design will have a focal point or series of focal points to capture attention. This is an easy principle to put in place for beginners just starting to work with landscaping. The point is to draw your eye and move the attention through the landscape; creating a visual journey. These focal points can be a sculpture, a stunning plant/ tree, or maybe a series of shrubs. Make sure to include your focal point(s) in your plan so you can see how they work in the space.
Now that the planning stages are done, it’s time to get your hands dirty! However, remember that this is not something you’ll finish in a week. Part of creating a landscape is slowly developing your yard and enjoying the process! From your master plan, start with a small flower bed. Go out and work on it for an hour or two when you have the time and don’t worry about filling everything up right away. Giving yourself some time to see how things develop is key to the gardening process. Plants will grow and things fill spaces in ways you may not have anticipated. Take your time and do it in pieces so you are happy with the final results.
Focus on Scale and Pacing
This can be the trickiest principle in garden design for beginners, but scale and pacing will give your yard that pulled-together look you want. Variations in size, shape, and colour, require some considerations. Try tall plants against a building or in the back of a flowerbed, and paths that lead people through the space. As a tip, try to repeat some elements throughout, whether it’s a certain plant, a common colour, or even a shape, so there’s a sense of cohesion. Then add an occasional element that’s different from the rest of the landscape so it will stand out and keep your garden from looking too matchy-matchy.
Gardening is a slow process that encourages you to work on your patience. You don’t want to make the mistake of slapping a patio down here and a garden border there as your time and budget allow. Consider your garden in a holistic way, considering how you want to use the yard and how much time you want to spend working in it. This is an extremely rewarding process and, if you follow these simple tips on how to plan your yard, you’ll love every minute of it. For more tips and tricks, be sure to follow Mosaik Homes’ blog series.