Whether your back yard simply lacks good design, has too few or too many trees, is overgrown, or, in the case of a new home, is nonexistent, you can create the garden of your dreams with your own backyard landscaping plan. From beginning to end, this is a DIY project that anyone can do. Creating your own backyard landscaping plan is not only satisfying, but you’ll save some big bucks for your efforts. Let’s see how this works.
Your first step is to get a soil test kit. Follow the instructions given with the kit to collect your samples and submit to a local soil testing lab for an analysis. The report you receive tells you the type of soil you have and what amendments you may need to add to correct the Ph, lighten the soil if you’ve got heavy clay, or add substance in the case of sandy soil. If you live in a forested or heavily treed area, you probably have acid soil. Acid soils are great for growing ferns, azaleas, rhododendrons and other acid loving plants. However, if you want to plant some veggies, you’ll want to add amendments that are veggie friendly to that portion of your garden.
Once you know what you have to work with, you can begin to develop your backyard landscaping design while incorporating the tree or trees of your desire. There’s plenty of software available which makes this step a breeze. If you’re on a tight budget, look for freeware or shareware garden and tree design software. (Just Google ‘freeware shareware garden design software’ for thousands of results.)
Now take a measuring tape out to the backyard. Take careful measurements, noting existing landscape features you intend to retain, such as trees, shrubs and planting boxes. Plot these measurements right up to the house, garage and other fixed features of your landscape. Take note of windows, sliding glass doors and other doors which lead to the garden.
Using the grid feature of your software, transfer these dimensions to your computer. Now the fun begins! Your backyard landscaping plan is limited only by your imagination and the space available. Take into account the future shade your new or existing trees will provide.
What are the garden features you’d most like to have? Make a prioritized list. Perhaps growing some veggies is at the top of your list. Will you plant new trees or prune trees for a new look? How about a cutting bed for fresh flowers? Do you crave a little peaceful spot to kick back in the shade during hot summer days? Are you a barbecue fan? With garden design software, it’s so easy to move these areas around, all without lifting a shovel or hauling a bag of compost. Try different arrangements. Pathways and lighting are important features you’ll want to give some thought to, before breaking ground. Don’t forget the mundane considerations, such as trashcans and storage sheds. Play around with your backyard landscaping plan, until you have everything placed as conveniently and efficiently as possible while saving the tree you love.
Let’s say you’ve got predominately heavy clay soil. You want to plant some veggies, install a patio or deck and a children’s play area. For a thriving veggie garden, raised beds may be your best bet. You’ll only need to improve the soil within the raised beds to satisfy your veggies. The area dedicated to a deck requires nothing more than posts to support the deck, with no amendments required to the soil. For a patio, you’ll need to add sand for a firm base. For the area allocated to the children’s play, add a base of sand, tilled into the soil, topped off with a heavy layer of sand to make a safe and happy landing off a swing or slide. Do you want it shaded by tree limbs and branches?
The point is, you may find that you needn’t rototill the entire backyard to meet your needs. This saves you money, work and time. Areas which you wish to cultivate with flowers, trees, shrubs and veggies may require only relatively small amounts of expensive amendments.
Working out your backyard landscaping plan for trees and plants on your computer can give you the garden of your dreams at a fraction of the price a landscape designer might charge for the very same result. When your dream backyard landscaping plan is perfect, get out the shovel, tiller and tools. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, one section at a time and realize your dreams on a shoestring!