Have you been dreaming about landscaping your front and back yard? For most people, they don’t even know where to begin. After all, this is why landscape architects are hired in the first place. Some people truly have a talented eye for yard design, or they have gone to school in order to earn a degree on the subject. Even if this is your first time tackling landscaping, you can totally learn a thing or two on your own. In this list, we will give you 50 ideas on landscaping both your front and backyard.
55. Before You Get Started, Make a Plan
Browsing through landscaping photos online might give you good ideas, but it doesn’t mean anything until you set a plan in motion. Before you dive into a project, make a sketch of your backyard that includes the measurements. Calculate your budget, and figure out what you can afford to do each year. Also decide which projects make the most sense in the order in sequence. For example, you might not be able to start a project until a few trees are cut down, and their stumps are ground up. This alone will cost hundreds of dollars, and it may eat up your entire budget. There is no shame in taking a few years to landscaping your dream garden. Just keep projects going according to plan.
When making landscaping plans, the driveway might be one of the last things on your mind. But you would be shocked to see how much of a difference it makes. For example, I recently re-finished my driveway with natural beach pebbles instead of manmade gravel from a quarry. Several suppliers told me that these stones aren’t “normal” for a driveway. I ignored them, because I’m trying to build a European style garden, rather than your standard American backyard. Even though I got a lot of push-back, everyone suddenly understood my vision once it all came together. Even the neighbors became inspired and started incorporating beach pebbles into their own landscaping! The moral of the story is to stick with your plan, and install the driveway you actually want.
53. Display Planters With Annual Flower Arrangements
Even if you have a mature perennial garden, having planters with seasonal flower arrangement brings a lot of dimension and joy to landscaping in both the front and backyard. And for people with a small amount of land, planters might be their only option. The great thing about annual flowers is that they’re typically very inexpensive, and they can be found at your local Walmart or garden center. If you invest in a high quality pair of cement planters, they could last for decades, and you can just swap out the flowers and potting soil each year. During the holidays, you can also jazz up winter plants with some extra decor inside of the planters, too.
If you are lucky enough to live on land that is connected to the woods, you should try to take advantage of being so close to nature. When you walk through a path in your local park, you might take for granted that the paths are already there. It’s hard to fully wrap your head around the fact that someone had to create these paths in the first place. Before you get started, make sure you wear long socks, pants, and sleeves. Check for ticks, and wear bug spray. Also be sure to check if there are any poisonous plants, bugs, or snakes in your local area.. The most important thing of all is to check the local Environmental Protection Agency’s rules. You may be tempted to mulch absolutely everything down, but it could be killing the natural flora that animals need to survive on.
If your property has a lot of hills, you might be tempted to just leave this filled with grass. In reality, it’s possible to dig into the side of the hill and create multi-tiered gardens. Some people like to sculpt stone walls into the side of their hills, which makes a property look luxurious. If you’re on a landscaping budget, you could use plywood to divide the layers, as well as blocking off different sections. This creates a planter effect, like the image above. It can be perfect for planting many different types of herbs, flowers, or vegetables.
One of the most tedious and time-consuming parts of gardening is watering all of the plants. If your garden gets big enough, you’ll reach a point where watering could potentially take an hour out of each day. This is why a lot of people install a drip watering system throughout their property. Once it’s installed, all you need to do is turn the water on, and the entire system takes care of itself. Having this installed can cost between $350 to $750 depending on the size of your yard, as well as the cost of materials and labor in your local area. It may sound expensive, but serious gardeners will rant and rave about how amazing their watering system is.
If you love to buy bouquets of flowers to decorate your home, a cutting garden might be for you. Many professional gardeners will set aside multiple raised beds or a section of their yard specifically for flowers that are meant to be cut and put in a vase. These can be started from inexpensive seeds in a greenhouse or indoors in the early spring before being planted in the ground. You can also buy cuttings and bulbs of exotic flowers from places like Etsy. If you’re on a really tight budget, ask your friends if you can take cuttings from their flowers. Not sure how to do that? Check out the name of your flower on YouTube in order to learn how to take a cutting and transform it into a brand new bush or plant.
Erecting a proper privacy fence can cost thousands of dollars. But if you’re simply trying to keep critters out of your vegetable garden, there is a much cheaper and traditional way of going about it. Stick fences have been made by humans for thousands of years. If you already have a lot of wood on your property, making it will be absolutely free (minus the cost of nails.) Check out YouTube for tutorials on how to make this on your own.
Box hedges are incredibly versatile, because you can do so many things with them. They can grow tall enough to become a natural fence, or you can keep them trimmed into various shapes. Hedge mazes are also popular in England, if you have the land and money to make them. Just keep in mind that box hedges take a few years to grow to full size. On average, you can buy a small box hedge or tree for roughly $20 each, but when they’re nearly full grown, they’re closer to $60 each. No matter what you decide, try to buy all of them at the same age and height so that they grow uniformly.
Anyone who has ever run down a hill of wet grass as a child knows how dangerous and slippery this can be. Plenty of properties are set on top of hills, and yet many people simply deal with the awkward gait of climbing up and down the side, or avoid it all together. If you want to make life easier on everyone, consider paying to have a set of stairs installed into the hill. According to Home Advisor, stone slab steps cost between $1,000 to $12,000 to have professional installed, depending on the amount you need. Wooden exterior stairs, on the other hand, are far cheaper, staying in the ballpark of about $1,000.
Most people decide that they want to landscape their backyard because they would like to entertain their family and friends outside. So, then it only makes sense to create an outdoor area where your guests can eat. It may be as simple as a wooden picnic table with a built-in bench, a table and chairs on your back porch, or it could be as luxurious as having an entire outdoor kitchen.
Tons of people dream of having a white picket fence along the front of their home. If this describes you, then why not look into purchasing one? There are all different kinds of materials and sizes for a white picket fence. But what makes it really stand out is having flowers and foliage to decorate the area, like the photo above. These plants also give an added elements of privacy, as well.
43. Hire a Landscape Artist to Create Topiary Design
Many bushes and small trees can be cut into various shapes. Some have even gone as far as to turn a bush into a sculptures that look like animals! Most likely, if you do not have experience, you will want to hire someone who specializes in the art of topiary design.
Whether you plan to get a fancy wicker basket, or simply keep the store-bought baskets as-is in their plastic containers, hanging flower baskets are a great way to add a pop of color and nature to your front door. Keep in mind that you will need a hook to hang your flowers from, of course. You can find pre-made hanging baskets in the spring and summer months at stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Lowes for $10 to $15 each.
Creating a stepping stone path in your garden is a relatively cheap and easy project to pull off in one weekend, but it can seriously add a beautiful touch to your front or back yard. Stepping stone tiles are available in most garden supply stories, as well as Home Depot and Lowes.
Fire pits are great for toasting marshmallows, or telling stories over drinks with friends. But before you think about building a fire pit, keep in mind that every town will have different rules about fire safety. You may even be required to call the fire marshal to see if you are allowed to build a fire pit. However, most store-bought fire pits are considered safe. Remember to keep a bucket of water nearby, just in case of emergency.
Garden arbors are typically installed in a front yard, usually near the sidewalk or in front of a home’s entryway. Oh, it can be a way to designate a separation between the front and back yard living spaces. There are all different types of garden arbors out there, from relatively cheap metal archways for roughly $50, all the way up to fancy ones that cost a few hundred dollars.
If you love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, you just might want to consider growing a vegetable garden. Yes, it can be a lot of work, and you should do some research on the plants you are growing. But many vegetable garden owners are very happy with their results in the summer time. Tomatoes and green peppers are usually very easy to grow, even for beginners. All of the supplies you will need are available at home supply stores like Home Depot and Lowes.
If you happen to have a tall brick wall, or a building that could withstand climbing vines, you may want to consider plating flowers that will climb over your garden arbor, or directly on the wall itself. Not sure where to start? Check out this list from Gardens Illustrated that includes 30 different climbing plants.
Even if you choose not to lay down pathway tiles, it is still possible to design your backyard with pathways. As you can see in the image above, flower beds can be planted with the grass pathway leaving space in-between. This style evokes the feeling of being in an English garden. It gives you a great opportunity to showcase some of your favorite flowers in each of the beds.
Do you work from home? Are your kids or other distractions driving you nuts? Well, you may want to consider building an outdoor office. Most people buy a prefabricated shed or a prefabricated cabin kit. Just keep in mind that you may not be able to install plumbing, so bathroom breaks still need to happen inside your home. Then, of course, there are your creature comforts, too.
Are you blessed with a green thumb? Then you may want to consider a Victorian greenhouse. These are made entirely out of glass, and they usually have pretty details. These greenhouses usually have all kinds of plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables. The point in these buildings is to capture the sunlight and keep it heated all year round, even in the coldest winter months.
Not everyone is blessed with gorgeous views, but if you are, don’t hide it, for goodness sake! If you have something blocking the view of a lake, mountain, river, or any other form of natural beauty, try to figure out a way to incorporate it into the landscaping design.
If you can afford to create an outdoor kitchen in your back yard, you should seriously consider it. Having a counter space for your grilling needs is extremely useful, or you can but a portable cart to help you, as well. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as the photo above. Even just having a designated grilling and eating area in your backyard will feel amazing, and your guests will love it.
While it may seem obvious to some people, no garden landscaping journey is complete without flower beds. If you choose to plant perennials, they will come back every single year. This is a very smart idea if you want to get all of your landscaping done in one spring or summer, and guarantee that those same plants will keep coming back.
Plenty of people have a back porch, but what about a wood terrace? This is where wood paneling is much lower to the ground, similar to a patio. It also becomes easier to build multiple levels of the wood terrace, if that is the look you are going for. Check out Pinterest for a tons of amazing and inspiring ideas on how people are incorporating wooden terraces into their landscaping.
Planning to throw a backyard party? Then you have to get some string lights, of course! They come in all shapes and sizes, like the large bulbs you see in the picture above, or the tiny fairy lights you normally see during the holiday season. These are available almost anywhere, and you can even do a great Dollar Tree DIY project with them.
Installing a stone patio can be an expensive undertaking, but it is a great alternative to having a back porch. This way, there is a designated entertainment area on the same level as the rest of the yard. It can also blend in beautifully with the natural elements of the yard, as well. Most people hire someone to install a patio, but there are also tons of videos on YouTube that will teach you how to make one yourself.
In the American South, one of the quintessential front yard features are those gorgeous plantations with a tree-lined driveway. But it’s actually rare to see that in other parts of the world. If you live in a rural area, you might just have a house that sits far back from the road, already. These homes typically have long driveways, too. If this is the case where you live, why not plant a line of trees? Driving down a path of trees is truly a magical experience in the spring and summer, plus it gives the added bonus of curb appeal and privacy.
If you want a sidewalk in your back yard, but you do not want to damage the surrounding natural landscape, creating a gravel path is a great alternative. This way, you can walk around without getting muddy feet, but you are protecting the land at the same time you are landscaping.
Yet another outdoor feature people typically see in parks are outdoor benches. Some people may think it is unnecessary to install one in your own backyard, but if you have worked hard to landscape, of course you will want to sit and admire your handy work! It can also become a great place to sit with a book, your dog, or to have a nice conversation with a friend. There are tons of different designs out there, but they are all in the ballpark of $100.
Installing a koi pond is not an easy feat. It costs hundreds of dollars for the supplies to make the pond, and you may need to hire a professional to help you. It will also cost time and money to maintain it. But for people who go the distance to make their koi pond dreams come true, they really truly love having it in their backyard. Many people choose to combine these ponds with a Japanese zen rock garden, which we mention in #17 on this list.
Growing grass seems like the simplest landscaping, right? In reality, grass becomes brown, dry, and dead in the summertime. It can also become patchy over the years without regular maintenance. You may discover that the grass really is greener on the other side of the fence.
In Japan, traditional gardens are very different than what we find in the west. Usually, there is sand that is raked to perfection, as well as a stepping stone pathway. It often includes a fountain, a stone pagoda, and maybe an area that is ready for yoga. If you are looking for more “zen” in your life, consider transforming your space into a Japanese inspired dream. Check out how people on Pinterest have taken their style and incorporated it into their garden.
If you have a stream running through your backyard, it really may be necessary to build a bridge. After all, how are you going to get to the other side? Some people, like in the image above, will actually go through the effort of making their own little rivers. This can sometimes work by filtering rain water out of your gutters, and into a man-made river bed. Just keep in mind that if water is sitting instead of constantly flowing, it becomes a place where mosquitos will nest, and create more of their annoying little babies. Be sure to do your landscaping and waterscaping research first, before installing your own stream.
Many famous parks and luxurious homes have stone statues installed throughout the grounds. Yes, these can be expensive. But you may have some luck by looking for a wholesaler who carries this kind of lawn decor in bulk. Check online in your local area. Buying a piece of art for your land just may be cheaper than you think and can take your landscaping to the next level.
At some of the oldest Ivy League Universities in the east coast of the United States and in the United Kingdom, you will see that the walls are covered with ivy vines. (Hense the name “Ivy League!) This is because Ivy naturally likes to climb on cracks and crevasses in the brick wall. If you have an older home that is made of stucco or stone, you should be able to make it grow, as well.
For some people, having a built-in swimming pool is a dream come true. Sure, maybe you got one of those giant flamingo floats that were trendy a couple years ago. But you shouldn’t stop at just having a pool. You can add decking, like in the image above. Or, you can at least have a seating area with umbrellas to provide shade, and so much more. Check out Pinterest to see what other people have done to elevate their outdoor pool space. A dreamy backyard pool is the pinnacle of landscaping.
If you truly value your privacy, consider building a door, along with either a stone wall, or even just a pillar and a door. This will give a designated entryway to your front door. Features like this typically prevent solicitors from trying to sell you something, or convert you to their religion. This kind of landscaping project would be expensive, but if you truly desire to have more privacy, it may be something you should consider.
Elevating a garden space can really help a flower bed stand out. It also gives a very defined line between the lawn space and the garden space, and it can help keep all of your mulch and fertilizer secure in one space. Check out Pinterest for ideas on how to do a DIY project with a raised garden.
Similar to outdoor sculptures, fountains are also one of those features that you rarely find in someone’s home. Normally, they are reserved for public parks. But if you have on in your hard, it truly is luxurious and gorgeous. Just keep in mind that most small fountains made for personal use will need to be plugged into a power source in order to get the water flowing.
Instead of a fire pit, some home owners go one step further and build an entire outdoor fireplace out of brick and stone. Keep in mind that you will have to get your local fire marshal to approve the project. There are usually laws about how far away your outdoor fireplace can be from a building, to ensure that everything is safe and up to code.
The sound of a lightly trickling waterfall can calm almost anyone’s frazzled nerves. Sure, you can find the audio on YouTube and put headphones in, but it’s not the same as the real thing, right? Yes, it is an expensive and luxurious undertaking, but building a mini waterfall on your property is a beautiful thing.
Every kid’s dream is to have their own backyard tree house. It becomes a great place for them to spend their time, especially when they have friends over to play. Yes, it may be expensive to have this installed by professionals instead of landscaping novices, but children will spend the rest of their lives cherishing the memories spent in there. As an added bonus, you are encouraging your kids to play outdoors, instead of being glued to their iPads and video games. If you’re looking to know more, check out Black and Decker’s Complete Guide to Tree Houses.
If you are planning on completely landscaping your back yard, chances are that you will want some privacy. After all, can you really relax if your neighbor is staring at you through the chain link fence? Sometimes, even a 6-foot privacy fence just doesn’t cut it, especially if your neighbors have a back porch that’s high off the ground. If you want more privacy, consider planting trees that will create a natural barrier between you and your neighbor’s property. Just keep in mind that sometimes, this can get out of hand and encroach on your neighbor’s land. Make sure to maintain your natural fence every year.
Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s possible to cook a pizza in your kitchen’s oven, of course, but it’s just not the same as one that has been cooked inside of an old fashioned pizza oven. Yes, they sell indoor stove top pizza ovens for $150, but many people prefer to have one outdoors. If you choose to actually install one of these things, you will probably become one of the most popular people in your town. Before you get started, be sure to check with your local fire department to make sure it’s okay in your local area. You will also probably need a permit and a set of professional designs before getting started.
Mulch is popular for landscaping for several reasons. Mulch is made from wood chips that have been decomposing over time, and they are chock full of nutrients for growing plants. It also helps to divide sections of a garden. As an added bonus, you just might be able to get mulch for free. The Department of Public Works frequently have to chop up fallen trees, and they dispose of the wood chips in a certain location so that the public can pick it up whenever they want. Contact your local municipality to see if they have a wood chip and mulch pile.
It’s common to see gazebos in public parks, but you can have one in your back yard, too! They will cost a pretty penny to build, and they will set you back a few thousand dollars. (Ouch.) But once they are up, they can become a permanent place for your family and friends to get some shade and relax. They will also add to the value of your home overall, which means that you may be able to sell your house for more, later.
Okay, we know that not everyone is going to be able to afford to build an outdoor sauna. To some, the idea is outright ridiculous. This feature is extremely luxurious, and some would even call it unnecessary when it comes to landscaping. However, there are others who swear by a sauna’s ability to help purge your skin of toxins, and keep you healthy and relaxed. Many fancy gyms will have a sauna, and some showers even turn into a steam room, too. But if you don’t have one locally, you can always get one built outdoors.
Last but not least, a luxury that loads of people wish they could afford in their home is to have a hot tub in their backyard. The various types of hot tubs can range anywhere from $400 to several thousand dollars, depending on what kind you get. It is usually best to install a hot tub on a back porch or terrace area when planning landscaping design. Obviously, you want the privacy in your back yard, but it should be close enough to your house so that you have access to the water taps and energy to power the machinery. You also want to be able to get in and outside quickly before you freeze.
In England and France, it’s very common to see rose-covered arbors in landscaping design. These are usually covering the doorway to a backyard garden along a white picket fence. Or, they could also be in the front of the house to greet guests. In France, it’s especially popular to have several arbors back-to-back so that people have a shaded walkway that also smells amazing. Whenever people have something like this, it usually expands into a beautiful rose garden.
Earlier on this list, we mentioned creating an outdoor eating area for dinner parties. Since then, we’ve entered an era where you can’t have a lot of people over. However, you can still have picnics! If you’re on a small budget, you might not be able to pay for an entire new patio or outdoor dining area. But you might be able to get a picnic table, or at least clear out a nice area under a tree to lay floor cushions and a picnic blanket.
Earlier on this list, we mentioned creating a vegetable garden. These can be planted straight into the ground. However, there are a lot of fruits and vegetables that do much better when they’re in a raised bed. These can be made with lumber hammered into a rectangle, filled with dirt. Some people will go the extra mile to have taller beds, like what is seen in the Magnolia series called Homegrown.
If you come home from work after dark, or if you ever plan to have an outdoor party at night, it would be a good idea to have lights lining your path. Luckily, these are cheap to buy, and it’s easy to find a solar powered version. These charge in the sunlight, and automatically turn on at night. Some of these lights are also motion activated, so they’re not going all night long. Every spring and summer, Dollar Tree will sell these solar light stakes for affordable landscaping plans, but they sell out quickly.
1. Buy an Outdoor Couch For Relaxing in the Garden
People are spending time in their backyards now more than ever. Whether they’re trying to have guests over in a safe space, or just need some time out in the sun away from their family, having an outdoor couch is really useful and can be a centerpiece in landscaping. Just like your indoor couch, it’s a great place to sit comfortably to work on your laptop, or have a drink in the evening. This can be expensive when you buy at the beginning of the season. If you’re willing to wait, pick out your favorite pieces when they go on clearance, and enjoy them on the warm days left in the autumn.