Your backyard is alive, and with constant shifts in weather and plant growth, no two weeks look the same. As you maintain the space, you are constantly designing your landscape. However, perhaps the time has come to give it a significant refresh. Perhaps you’ve felt some inspiration, but you don’t quite know how or where to begin. Before you level your garden with a bobcat, here are five things to consider.
Fall in Love with Your Land
Appreciate the local birds and animals that share your landscape. Rediscover your love for the perennials that are already growing in the yard. Try to shed new eyes on the views around you—like the sunset, mountain range, or even the neighbors’ majestic trees—that you might like to frame in your own space.
Spend some time simply observing things and consider what you want to keep, and what you might like to change.
Trees, shrubs, moss, and the character of a yard take years to mature. So, before you start from scratch, appreciate what’s already living there.
Use Your Imagination
Now that you’ve got a sense of what you love about your yard, start dreaming! Think about the different ways to incorporate sights, sounds, and scents into the space. Which birds would you like to attract? How can you use native plants to add low-maintenance beauty and nourish the local pollinators?
Visit examples of beautiful gardens in the city to get some inspiration for your own borders. The father of American landscape architecture and famous designer of Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead, went on long walking journeys across the country in his twenties. The things he discovered on these trips became the creative inspiration for the landscaping of his later career. You don’t have to walk across the state, but a few neighborhood ambles may inspire some new perspectives.
Consider the Goals of Your Design
With all those fresh ideas in mind, consider the goals of your design. Who will be using your yard? Do you wish to grow vegetables and edible berries? Create a compost system? Entertain guests? Make meadows for your kids to play in? Increase your property value? All of these things are not mutually exclusive, but they can be woven together to integrate function, beauty, value, and ecological diversity.
Think Like a Designer
There are underlying principles that many landscape designers use to achieve beautiful effects. Formal, English-style landscaping uses straight lines, symmetry, and open horizons to guide the eye. The Zen approach uses curving paths, trickling water, and pleasing shapes to evoke peace and harmony. There are many gardening styles to choose from, and you can borrow aspects from several traditions.
Consider your design through the lens of form, color, line, and texture. Trees and shrubs have different forms, such as weeping, spreading, or dwarf varieties. Landscapes can bloom with color and foliage throughout the whole season, including the winter. Decks, walls, pathways, and edges guide the eye and facilitate movement between places.
Perhaps you might choose a focal point, such as a fireplace, pond, or pathway. And of course, consider the plants and flowers that bring you joy.
Bring Your Landscape To Life
You’ve observed, imagined, and set some goals. With a few of these elements in mind, start drafting a plan. Outline your budget, including future maintenance costs. Anticipate the growth rate and projected size of any plants you grow. Ask advice from your neighbors, and visit your nearest Greenstreet Gardens location. Bring a photo of your space so we can help you re-envision your landscape.
You don’t have to plan everything before you begin. The beauty of your landscape is that it’s ever-changing. As a gardener, each season presents a new opportunity to grow and redesign the outdoor space around you.