Whether you want a place to entertain guests, a place to grow beautiful flowers and plants, or you are just aiming to make it a simple place to relax after a stressful day at work, we have some great ideas that will help you design the best backyard for you and your family. Even if the backyard is nothing more than grass you dread having to cut, defining its use is step one!
What’s Your Backyarding Personality Type?
Your yard makes neighbors green with envy. You know how to maintain a healthy living landscape all year long, and you have the latest outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. You put the right plant in the right place, so your green space is always thriving. Tips Understanding the soil in our area is very important to ensure green grass and growing plants. You may even consider a DIY soil test kit.
Forget basement workouts—you have an outdoor gym and exercise space that makes the neighborhood running club want to pit stop at your house. Your yard is the ideal place to stay active and inspire others to work out, too. Tips If you’re lucky enough to have a large backyard consider adding a basketball, volleyball, or pickleball court—a great workout for the whole family. Another consideration is using artificial turf in place of real grass to reduce possible injury from uneven surfaces. Add some privacy to your workout space with large shrubs.
Work From Home Pro
Working from home means nature is your background, and there’s no lag on the living landscape. The birds, squirrels and, yes, the dog your co-workers see on conference calls are all real. All you need is strong wi-fi, your nicest sweatpants, and a jacket for chilly morning meetings, and you’re ready for work. Tips Use a shaded table to double as your outdoor office. Note where electrical outlets are and if an outdoor-rated extension cord will be needed to accommodate all of the electronics that may be used outside.
You know that nature starts at your own backdoor, and understand pollinator support and plant choice. You prefer to spend your free time in the urban habitat of your living landscape, watching the birds, butterflies, squirrels and other wildlife that count on your yard for food and shelter. Tips Put the right plant in the right place. Choosing the right plants for the climate zone and for your lifestyle will create a backyarding space that is attractive. It will also be easier to maintain, and support pollinators and wildlife. Consider watering and sunlight or shade needs for any plants added. A hardy grass variety is more likely to hold up to pets and kids. Save delicate flowering plants for patio containers, and be sure to check out the ASPCA list of toxic plants to keep pets safe.
Kid Zone Creator
You know the safest place for young kids is in your own backyard, and you work hard to create an outdoor fun zone they will never want to leave. A flat area of sturdy turf grass to play sports and pitch a tent? Check. Treehouse? Check. Zipline strung safely between backyard trees? Check. An elevated garden where they can help grow family meals? Check. Natural playscapes, like a patch of sand bordered by rocks and log stump seating? Check. “Fun” is your middle name, and you are winning at this game. Tips Create activity zones. Consider what needs to happen in the backyard and map activity areas. A patch of sturdy grass is perfect for sports, family games and play. A fire pit offers cozy chairs for star gazing and making smores and memories alike. A wall, fence, or pergola may hold an outdoor movie screen for nighttime viewing. An herb or vegetable garden helps kids learn about science and nutrition while reaping the satisfaction of growing food for the table.
Your focus is on Fido—no one knows your yard better—and you take cues from your four-legged friends about how to purpose your backyard. You’ve planted appropriate turf grass that can stand up to pet play, and you’ve used soft foliage to create a natural barricade between “off-limit” areas and the rest of the lawn. Trees and shrubs are strategically planted for shade, and you’ve even set up a shallow water feature to help your pup cool off on hot days. Planting with purpose for you means keeping toxic plants out of the picture. Tips Look for a grass that will hold up to high traffic such as Zoysia or Bermuda. Add a pathway to ensure your dog’s waste are kept out of the way of foot traffic. Curve pathways around flower beds to safeguard them from being run over. Avoid using hard surfaces that get too hot from the Georgia sun.
Your backyard was the neighborhood hot spot long before the pandemic made that trend posh. Family milestones, birthdays, graduations, reunions, socially distanced BBQs—your yard is the place to gather. Your yard is set up for success with patio furniture, fire pit, yard games, plenty of outdoor seating, string lights, and maybe even an outdoor kitchen. Tips Use plants and shrubs to hide unsightly items and control noise. Trees, shrubs and bushes offer cover from neighbors, deliver shade, camouflage unsightly pool equipment and air handlers, and tamp down noise. Planters with flowers between seating and eating areas on a patio add visual interest and privacy. Shrubs and tall plants are a terrific privacy-creator (and noise canceller for those get togethers that are just too much fun to stop at sunset).
Your yard provides you and your family a place to be still and de-stress. Whether it’s coffee in the morning or yoga in the afternoon, you know that spending time outside is good for your health and well-being, and thanks to your yard these benefits are only steps away. Tips A hammock or outdoor sofa can suffice for napping, reading or studying. Relax in the evening by adding a water feature.
Provided by Kris Kiser, President and CEO of TurfMutt Foundation. Learn more about creating a yard of your dreams, TurfMutt.com