Design Like A Pro

Everyone has grand ideas about their backyard design and all the amazing things they want to put in it.   Based on your budget, I think you should have a pretty good idea of what is realistic and what is just a hopeful dream. I get it.  Keep on dreaming dreamers.  Dreaming equals creativity in my book, but sometimes your budget wakes you up from that dream pretty quickly.

Don’t fear, you can still make it work even on a budget.  Just don’t over extend your self.   This why I like to design in “three’s”.  Think of three areas you want in your yard.  Whether you want a seating area to relax by a fire pit, a dining area, BBQ island, bocce ball court, water feature or a bar, just pick three and write them down.  Anything more tends to overcrowd a yard and in turn overwhelm your budget.  

Now go inside your home and find the room in which you can see your yard.  Usually this is through french or sliding glass doors in the living room, kitchen or dining room.  Now look out the door to your yard.  That is where you want to place the element that has the most impact.  Not right in front of the door, but somewhere towards the back of the yard so you can see the element from inside the house.  I like to put my water feature or fire feature in that space.  This is so you can enjoy the look of your amazing yard you just built even from the inside.  I guess you can say it is bringing the outside to the inside in a way.

Next think about how much hardscape you want to put down.  Keep in mind this is the most labor intensive and in most cases the most costly part of your build.  If you don’t have a ton of budget, try creating a pathway or patio with lawn bender board and some crushed rock like Sonoma Gold.  I will get more in depth with hardscape soon, but just know that there are ways to get the look you want without breaking the bank and your back.

If you want to have a low maintenance yard, consider scraping the idea of a lot of sod and trading it out for planting beds or hardscape.  If you want more seating consider building planter beds with larger top caps to make nice seat for guests.

Now sketch down those three areas on a piece of paper.  It doesn’t have to look pretty and no one else has to understand what it is besides you.  Seeing a visual drawing of your yard lets you see the relationships that are going in your yard.   You want to visually see the layout, so you can see the sense of balance you are creating.  Balance is key.  Keep your areas proportional to one another.  In other words the sitting area should be relatively close in size the the bar/grill area.  This will not only give the yard visual balance, but also a sense of harmony between areas.

Ready...set...draw.  Check back soon and I will talk about building the amazing backyard you want with as little money and labor as possible.  A dream come true for any do-it-yourselfer.

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© 2014 Matt Blashaw. All rights reserved.