How to Design the Backyard of your Dreams

Great Backyard

It doesn’t matter if you just bought your house or if you’ve been living in it for a decade, you probably wish for the backyard you always dreamed about. Everyone does, no matter what demographic you’re in, everybody has their own dream backyard that they just haven’t gotten. In this article, let’s take a look at how to design the backyard of your dreams.

Where do you get started?

The first thing you should do is write down the main features you have to have. By “have to have”, that means things that you want above anything else in the project. Next, write down the things that you think would be nice to have. These aren’t essential to realizing your dream, but are still things you want considered. It’s essential that you do this because the next two steps might end up with some items on your list getting strikes through them.

Do you have enough room

Your next step is to evaluate the size of your yard. This will shape the scope of your project because you will only have so much physical space. Likewise, certain geographical limitations such as hills, gullies, drainage ditches, and other things might pose problems for your dream yard. If a large, family pool is a part of your dream, you may have to be willing to make some concessions if your yard is very rocky or uneven. Likewise, you may just want more than your yard can realistically fit. It can help to actually go out to your yard with a tape measure and visualize where everything will go.

How much money are you going to spend?

After you deal with the realities of your back yard’s size and geography, you should also consider what sort of budget you have to work with. Granted, the budget is easier to work around than any physical limitations. Still, you have to consider it before you jump head first into a large scale project. Start by estimating how much your “have to have” things will cost. Then estimate everything else. You can do things in piece meal as part of a monthly budget so that you can achieve your dream over time. You can also just cut out anything you really can live without if you decide that you just don’t have the money for it.

How handy are you?

The next step coincides with budgeting. Figure out what you can do on your own. DIY projects can save you a great deal of money by eliminating the cost of a contractor, designer, or landscaper. If you just want an deck with an above ground pool and a place to grill some food, you can easily build that on your own. However, you may have to hire somebody if you desire to completely transform your yard by removing a hill, or need to cut down a large swath of trees.

Think about the future as well

While this is the backyard of your dreams, you should put some thought into resale values when planning the design, especially if you plan on moving at some point. Certain fixtures like patios can vary wildly in the cost you’ll recoup. For example, you’ll spend less and get about 75% of the cost back on a wooden patio versus 55% of the cost and twice the price for a mid-range patio. Keep in mind that the more luxurious and high end something is, the less you get back from it. That’s because most buyers won’t have your taste, and may not want a stone patio. Whereas a cheaper wood patio does the job and is easier for a buyer to demolish if they want something else.

One more thing

The last thing you need to consider is the practicality and utility of your dream design. Are there good pathways to focal points in the yard and house? Will you be able to view the sunset or sunrise? Is the design safe for any children you might have (or may have visit in the case of family members)? Is this in line with any local government codes? You may have to re-work the layout multiple times as you take in the practical needs of people using the back yard, as well as if it can really function in the way you want.

These tips should help you get the back yard of your dreams while still staying realistic and on budget. Always remember that less is more sometimes, but make it a yard that you can call your own.


Erica May