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Meeting Your Backyard Goals Step by Step

Let me share with you 4 words that you need to repeat to yourself over and over again as you go through your steps in meeting your backyard goals: Good things take time.

Today, I will share with you how our backyard that we couldn’t even walk in went from this…

and this…

To this (on a budget!)…

Sketch Out Your Dream Yard

Dreaming about your future backyard? I would recommend that you sit down and draw out how you envision your backyard.  Also, create a Pinterest board of ideas you like. You may find some ideas you weren’t thinking about originally. Have your kids join you. My son and I did this, and it was exciting dreaming about it. Hang it up and get the family excited about the process of meeting your backyard goals. They will be more eager in joining you in the planting process as you begin.

Think About Your Lifestyle and Future

Does your yard get a lot of rain and wind? Do you get run off or lots of shade or sun? Be sure to consider your environment as you think about your lifestyle and future.  You may want more trees or color. You may want a covered or uncovered patio with a fire pit eventually.

Ask yourself multiple questions. Will you be hosting in your backyard? Will you have pets in the future? Are you into gardening and want to work on it as a hobby, or would you rather have a low maintenance backyard?

Don’t sketch out something you can’t take care of.  Often, family members may have very different ideas and differences in opinion.  Come together and decide what will be manageable.  If you want lots of color, you will need to work on it to tend to those plants. Remember, what you like now in your younger years may not be what you want in your older years.  Perhaps, you will want more privacy in time or maybe a future pool. Keep all of this in mind, so there is room to grow with your landscaping choices.  Be honest with yourself and with each other.

Get Free Estimates

Next, get free estimates from a landscaping company for the most important work you want them to do. If you aren’t happy with the prices, get other estimates from other landscapers. Think about it and sleep on it. Ask yourself what the most important part of your backyard will be.  Some things are worth paying for, and your backyard is an important investment. Perhaps, you can start with the basics then revisit some other projects in the future. Give yourself time to save.

Hire a Landscaper Only For the Most Necessary Work

We ended up hiring a landscaper to do what we couldn’t do ourselves. They cleared the brush with their machines and pushed all the heavy rocks in the yard against the hill for erosion control. We also had them put down grass seed all throughout the large yard. They cut all the vines that were choking the trees and pulled up lots of poison ivy and thorny brush safely. On the steep hill, we had them put down low maintenance grass seed and wildflower seeds. They also put in some fill on the hill to make it less steep on one side for the future steps. For safety purposes, we had a fence added to the top of the hill. Paying for this did cost around $20,000 with landscaping; however, we stopped there. Yes, landscaping is a lot of money, and it is not always done perfectly the way you want. It is hard labor and a job not everyone wants to do carefully and thoughtfully. Be aware of this when hiring your landscaper.

Create an Easy Sitting Area You Will Actually Use

It is okay to set up your sitting area before you tackle your next project of creating a patio. Perhaps, you are not quite ready to pay for a patio.  That is okay, and you can still use your backyard while you wait for this next project. Year by year, enjoy what you can complete.

So what type of outdoor furniture is worth purchasing? Often, people will put down patio furniture only to not use it since bugs, spiders, and wasps create their homes in it. Also, it doesn’t always hold up outside, or it fades. Who wants to take off covers only to find another spider or something living in your patio cushions? Let me help you with this one. Don’t waste your money on something you will just have to replace 3 years from now. Instead, my recommendation is that you only use recycled plastic polywood outdoor furniture without covers. This was what we ended up doing. We used to use our wicker patio furniture all of the time, but now we live in the mountains—enough said. With all of the little critters outside, we decided to invest in polywood furniture by Breezesta. It’s worth the investment knowing you will have it forever and replaced with their warranty plus no animals or bugs will get to it. Also, let it rain on it since it doesn’t matter how wet it gets. It is made out of recycled plastics so you will also be helping the environment as well. This material doesn’t need covered. I’m grateful I finally found the polywood furniture I love in the sea glass color. Breezesta offers multiple colors.

Use Solar Lighting

It can get very dark in our backyards.  Illuminate your trees and paths with solar lighting.  With only 1 or 2 watts of solar lighting, it may be more decorative than functional.  Pay attention to the brightness since if you don’t get as much sun the lights may not get as bright. Try some solar lights out and see how it goes.  Find the ones you like that work in your yard. We like to use it for ambiance and security.

Create a Colorful Container Garden

I decided to plant colorful annuals for my container garden along the rocks at the bottom of our hill. This adds a burst of color to the landscape. I am thinking of also planting citronella, peppermint, and lavender plants to help keep away the mosquitos. Plant your container garden for both functionality and color. I personally won’t be doing an edible garden since we do hydroponic gardening inside our home with the Gardyn and Aerogardens. Spray your gorgeous flowers with Repels All to keep animals from eating your plants.

Set Up a Play Area For the Kids

We set up a cedar playset since it helps to repel insects. It’s been a wonderful addition to our backyard which is used practically every day! I have no regrets with this purchase. It’s held up very well even with it being moved to the backyard! We also added a tether ball pole as well as an outdoor obstacle course, hammock, and rebound soccer net. It all is being used regularly so that is a plus. Being outside is so important for children. We make it a priority to be outside each day after homework unless it is raining. We bundle up even on cold days and make it happen.

Add Natural Privacy

Trees and natural hedges are great for privacy. We kept all of our trees which was wonderful since so many yards just don’t have many trees anymore. We purchased 3 flowering trees for added privacy. We also planted rhododendron bushes in pink and purple plus yellow forsythias to create a colorful flowering hedge between our yard and the neighbor’s yard.

We are also considering getting emerald green arborvitae trees for added privacy behind the flowering hedge if needed. Research some tree choices and write down the ones you like!

Get a Storage Shed

I hate to say this, but it is so true.  Our garages are meant to hold our cars, not our stuff.  Think about an affordable storage shed you can put into this new backyard to store your lawn mower and other stuff that just adds up. Make it a priority so you can enjoy your garage again. Be sure to get a head start and pick out your storage shed and get it approved by your HOA that way you will be ready to go when you are ready to make the purchase. Don’t wait for this one since it will be frustrating doing lawn work without this important item.

Final Words of Advice

You will plant things that won’t make it. I’m sorry to tell you this, but you will also plant flowers that aren’t planted correctly.  It is okay, and you will learn what works and what doesn’t work. You will learn from your mistakes. Try to have a good sense of humor. Just know that all of your hard work will pay off since many of your plants will grow, and they will look beautiful! Down the road, you may want more of a backyard or less of one. You will have unfinished projects like we do and more ideas you may want to try out.

Landscape projects don’t just happen overnight. You can’t just snap your fingers and have what you want.  If only it was that easy. Plants take time to grow. You will find what works for your soil and how to enrich the soil.  Remember, it is a work in progress. Be sure to put in compost and enrich your soil before planting, and be sure to water your plants regularly especially when first planting and in times of drought. Another year from now, you can complete another project as you save money. You can plant different flowers and plants as the seasons change, and your garden will grow…in time.

Some things are worth waiting for.

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