If you’ve got an eye for design, chances are you’ve worked hard to bring your sense of style to the inside of your house. But if you’re really looking to elevate your space, improve your curb appeal, and give yourself a relaxing oasis for both friends and family, there’s nothing like having the perfect outdoor space to match.
If you’re new to landscaping, it may seem intimidating. But with a few tools of the trade, and some classic design tricks, the outdoor of your home can be as inviting as the inside.
Think About How You Will Use The Space
As with every other renovation and design project, the first thing you want to do is work out how you will use the space. Are you looking to create a play space for your kids? Will you need an outdoor entertainment space? Is there space for an outdoor cooking area? If you’re an avid gardener, you might want to create more space for flower beds or vegetables instead of patio furniture and paving stones. There are ways to create space in your garden, which we can talk about later, but your first step is to decide what you’ll be using the space for most often.
Invest In The Right Tools
One of the more intimidating prospects of landscaping your yard on your own, is learning the tools of the trade. If you’re going to tackle DIY landscaping, there are a few tools you’re going to need:
- A strong shovel, for digging, planting, and uprooting plants and stumps.
- A chainsaw – Chainsaws have multiple purposes when it comes to landscaping. To make space for smaller plants to grow, and improve the light in your garden, you may need to prune back larger trees. From clearing brush, to pruning back overgrown bushes and trees. You can use the discarded trees and bushes in compost and mulching piles. If you have a fireplace, cutting your own firewood can save you money. A chainsaw is a powerful tool, so make sure to look into how to find the best chainsaw for firewood, or whatever else you need it for.
- A strimmer or string trimmers is a flexible power tool you can use to neaten garden edges, or the lawn between paving stones. They help keep your backyard looking neat and well-manicured.
- A lawnmower, whether riding or hand-held, is essential for keeping your garden under control.
- A trowel, spade, and hoe, for gardening and planting
- A rake, for cleaning debris
- A wheelbarrow, to make all that hauling a lot easier on your back!
Talk To Experts
DIY landscaping can save you money, and help you feel more at home in your own backyard. But just because you’re doing it yourself, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go for some help. Check out your local garden club when you’re thinking about what grows best in your area. The local hardware store can help you choose between one backyard power tool and another. And a good DIY group, online or in person, can help you find solutions to everyday problems like pest control, choosing the best blooms, and how to handle the challenges of your environment.
Start Small and Be Flexible
Like any home renovation, landscaping your garden will take some time. Unless you have the means to hire a full crew, you need to be realistic about what you’re capable of, and give yourself extra time to troubleshoot as you go. Even a small yard can be a big challenge, depending on your project. Though it’s a good idea to keep in mind a plan for what the finished project will feel like, and how you intend to use the space, it’s best not to get bogged down in the detail. Instead, focus on one major project at a time, such as building a trellis wall, or creating a rock garden. Once you’ve started, you’ll have a style and theme you can build on slowly, instead of getting overwhelmed.
Stay On Budget
If you’ve ever tackled a design project for your home, you know the importance of staying on budget. Taking on your landscaping one project at a time is a good way to turn an overwhelming project into something more manageable, but it also makes it easier to spend more than you mean to. Be honest about your space, and build your budget. If you’re handy with DIY, or you have crafty kids, you’d be surprised how much you can refurbish or upcycle old furniture and décor items to help you stay within your budget. Creating outdoor lighting could be made cheaper with homemade glass bottle lanterns, and old tins and watering cans make great small planters with just a few steps
It’s All About Balance
If you’ve got a smaller yard, it can take some creative thinking to give yourself a sense of space. Choose a focal point in your garden to draw the eye. This could be a gazebo or Wendy house, a statue or a fountain, large outdoor table, or even a big tree. When it comes to planting your garden, mix plants of varying sizes to naturally draw the eye, and to improve growing. If your garden is on the small side, use vertical space, by planting vines and staking or building a trellis. If you’ve got larger trees, you can draw the eye downward by planting rose bushes, or smaller wildflowers at the base of them.
Follow The “Rule Of Three”
Finally, when it comes to designing your garden space, remember the rule of three. Try not to use more than three textures, (sand, stone, grass) and try to stick to a cohesive color scheme with your flowers and plants. That keeps your garden looking more planned and groomed, and less haphazard.
If you’re a first-time landscaper, you may be intimidated by the prospect of tackling your yard, but you should always remember the yard is another room in your home. It should feel warm and inviting, and above all, like you. Take it on in stages, go in with a plan, and you’re sure to wind up with the perfect outdoor living space for the whole family.