Is your backyard just not special enough to host a nice Memorial Day gathering? Not to worry, you can remedy that situation with some minimal-effort landscaping ideas, and just in time for a great get-together.
Landscaping projects don’t have to be expensive or extravagant, to generate a nice effect. You don’t always need a contractor, and you can probably finish any of these projects in one weekend. If you're nervous, I used to recommend to my handyman customers that they schedule us for Monday to finish projects not completed over the weekend.
Try any, or all of these landscaping ideas, and see if you don’t fall in love with your backyard again.
Landscaping Ideas to Create Conversations
Landscaping isn’t just about plants. If you don’t have a patio, or if the one you’ve got isn’t big enough, this landscaping idea can add more outdoor space without ever calling in a concrete mixer.
Pre-cast paving stones are the answer here. They’re perfectly flat, come in sizes from 12 to 24 inches square, and create a perfect surface for entertaining.
You’ll need to excavate down into the soil about 6 to 8 inches, fill in the bottom third of the trench with gravel, add sand on top of the gravel, and place the paving stones on the sand. Simple as that.
Once the stones are in place, arrange outdoor furniture much like you would in a room. Seating close together encourages conversation.
Yard Improvement Idea: Create a Border of Color and Texture
If you want to showcase some of your favorite plants, but also need an open area to play games and entertain, a border landscaping bed is the way to go. It’s less costly than a comprehensive landscaping job, and keeps plenty of grassy areas for play.
You can create a bordering bed of plants in a single afternoon, or take a weekend and make it more elaborate. Whatever home improvement ideas spark your gardening interest, go ahead and add them. Be sure to use plants that are hardy for your USDA zone. Native plants are ideal companions. (learn more reading Green Landscaping with Native Plants).
Build the border using landscaping bricks, cover the space inside using weed barrier fabric, cover the fabric with topsoil, and plant to your heart’s desire. A few shrubs or dwarf trees add some height and texture, and they’ll keep growing year after year. Annuals such as petunias and marigolds give you fast color, and they’re inexpensive.
Potted Garden Idea: Minimal Digging, Maximum Effect
Don’t feel like taking a shovel out into the yard? No problem. You can create a dramatic landscaped look for your backyard using containers, and the project takes less than a day.
Container gardens can be very simple, or over-the-top fancy. It all depends on which containers you choose, and how many you want to use.
A few enormous pots can each hold a large shrub, small tree, or a collection of blooming plants. Containers of varying sizes let you design your landscaping in layers, with some giant pots for dramatic plants, and assorted smaller ones with more delicate plants. Think of these as landscaping ideas for decorating a tabletop. All you need is imagination and a few hours.
Water Feature Idea: It's Less Work Than You Think
Love the sound of trickling water, but think a water feature is a bit too much for your own backyard? Water features are surprisingly affordable, and you can design one as large or small as you like. You can even buy a pre-made fountain that's “plug-and-play” easy to install.
The fundamentals of any water feature include a spout of some sort that pours out water, a basin to collect the water, and a pump and hose to circulate it. You'll also need a filter to keep the water clean, and an electric source to run the pump.
If you're handy and creative, you can create (assemble the spout, basin, and pump) your own water feature. If not, you can buy one that's already made, and all you have to do is plug it in and add water.
Landscaping Ideas for Fire Pits Because Summer Nights Can Get Chilly
Nothing attracts a group like a crackling fire. Before you know it, folks are standing around, chatting, and perhaps roasting marshmallows as the flames flicker and dance. (for more ideas, read Outdoor Living Trends: Firepits and More).
Fire pits are easy to build (well, you probably want some trustworthy directions to follow), but you’ll want to check with your local fire department first. In drought-prone areas and others with burning restrictions, a fire pit might not be allowed.
If you get the green light, all you need to do is stack up fire brick, stones, or other heat-resistant pavers, creating a deep circle or square. You’ll want some mortar between the bricks or stones to hold them together, and a thick layer of sand in the bottom.
Landscaping is a lot more than digging holes in the dirt and planting flowers and shrubs. It's about designing an outdoor space that you enjoy, and are proud to show off. You don't need to incorporate everything, but one or two of these landscaping ideas can make a big difference.
Do you have weekend landscaping tips to share? You can leave them below …