A Well-Designed Backyard - Where to Start?
When it comes to a well-designed backyard, it’s often hard to envision the final view when all we see is dirt and rocks, or maybe you have a vision in mind, but don’t know where to start. =) That’s all fine.
The best place to start is to discuss your desired use and outcome, and we can begin the foundation of your design from there.
Do you plan on using your backyard to entertain large groups of guests, smaller groups of children and grandchildren, or do you just intend to keep it secluded and quiet for your own retreat?
What time of year do you expect to use your outdoor space? Do you wish you could be outdoors under a pavilion enjoying a hot cup of coffee around a warm fire while the snow gently falls around? Do you like to be outdoors at night, enjoying the night sky, with the trees, waterfalls, or patio space carefully lit up for a magical time outside at night?
Do you envision your children or grandchildren being able to interact with nature, play a game of Spikeball, or enjoy a meal on the patio? Maybe all the above?
How do you want your backyard space to interact with your home? Do you envision an extension of your home (kitchen, dining room, etc) into the outdoors? Or do you envision a separate, secluded nook that you can go to and unplug from the home office, your everyday to-do lists, etc.?
How you answer those questions will help begin to shape the vision for your backyard, along with some other key elements.
No matter the desired vision for your backyard, there are some elements (often missed) to keep in mind.
A STATIC space vs. an INTERACTIVE space.
One of the mistakes many contractors (and homeowners) make is to simply look at one or two needs and stop there.
“I need a patio and a retaining wall.”
….and that’s often the center of the conversation.
Those are great elements to consider, and are likely a large part of what is needed, but have you ever seen a nice large paver patio space, perfectly installed outdoor kitchen and seat walls that just feels lifeless for some reason, and you can’t figure out why?
I have, and I’ve wondered what it is about the space that just feels so off…..until I discovered a missing element to many outdoor living spaces.
A well-built paver patio, seat wall, and other such features can be beautiful and very functional for years to come, but by themselves they are static, hard, and, well…..it’s concrete and stone…you get the point. =) It needs to be to be married to the other element of an outdoor space, natural life.
Imagine a beautiful paver patio with gorgeous contrasting tones of pavingstones, contrasting borders, and complimentary seat walls, etc…. with maybe a few shrubs around the area, and some useable lawn space….nice….but not alive..?
Movement and life can be added to an outdoor living space using things like WATER, FIRE, LIGHTING, and well-designed PLANTINGS.
Water has been a life-sustaining element we have depended on from the beginning of time, and it brings a liveliness and cheerfulness to a backyard like nothing else does, as well as presenting a draw away from the artificial world of electronics, a calming effect on our minds and bodies, and a fun way to blend nature and our living spaces. Depending on your outdoor space there are many options available to bring the movement and life of a water feature into your backyard. Check out or article focused on water features to learn more.
Fire has a warming and comforting effect that brightens up any outdoor living space. Not only does a fire feature bring an element of life and movement to your outdoor space, it helps to extend the season further into the winter, and enables you to enjoy your outdoor space much longer than you would otherwise.
Plants are alive and growing, they provide a crucial softening effect to the rocky features of a paver patio, seat wall, etc., and when designed and installed well, can bring an amazing array of textures and colors to your home. Designing your plantings to provide color and texture throughout all four season as much as possible is a crucial element, as well as keeping in mind the surrounding environment, which plants will thrive, and how they will compliment each other.
Lighting is another aspect that is often overlooked when discussing a backyard landscape. The amount of time spent outdoors that you can gain by adding lighting is amazing, not to mention the magical artistic element of a well-planned lighting install that highlights the silhouette of your trees, brings your water feature to life at night, lights up your patio, steps, and any other areas of your outdoor space that would be treacherous and lifeless to navigate without, or countless other ways lighting can be used.
These are elements of life and movement that should be considered when discussing a backyard design.
It may not be in your budget to include all these elements at once, but usually we can figure out what elements can be included first, and then added to later, as the budget allows, or as the family grows. =)
Give us a call to set up a consultation so we can discuss your vision for your home in the Dayton, Ohio area.
We would love to bring nature to your doorstep and life to your outdoor space, whether that’s in Troy, Ohio, Centerville, Ohio, or somewhere in between. =)
- Thanks for your time, Jeremy Cable @ Cable Bros Outdoor Services