It’s backyard season. . . Get out there!

Backyard ideas5People who live in the midwest suffered a long hard winter and it seems as it always does that we went straight from winter to the dog days of summer.  The spring just didn’t catch on this year.  So its backyard season so get your tools and get out there.  If you built a new home and are new to gardening and landscaping the number one rule is to be patient.  You can’t build a Shangri-La backyard in one season.  It’s going to take years and years to get it to look the way you want so the planning stage is very important.  Your yard is going to change year after year and learning about how the environment in your own yard changes is also important.  You can have completely different eco-systems 100 feet apart.  Trees and sunshine

Frequently we gardeners run up against what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle in our quest to attain a beautiful and functional garden space. So it is with the dreaded sloping lot.  Over the years I’ve had a turbulent relationship with my own lot that entered my life with a 30-foot drop from back to front. The working relationship was so difficult that I didn’t even own a wheelbarrow until four Phentermine weight loss pills years ago. When I purchased my home, there was no garden; in fact, there weren’t even any front steps. My solution was to carve a tiered water feature into the side of the hill and plant a garden around it.

Let’s find a solution for your sloping yard that really works for your lifestyle, then discuss how to build a garden around it.  Often, lots are less expensive because the backyard isn’t as desirable as other lots, but, with a little creativity, the slop[ing yard is a hidden gem.

Create terraced steps. Terraced steps leave a lighter footprint since they can follow the contour of the land. If they’re designed with a minimum width ofBackyard ideas6 4 feet and landings between steps, the garden visitor is invited to stop and enjoy garden vignettes along the way. A staggered zigzag design, as shown here, can create a relaxed or philosophical mood for those who walk through the space, as their gait will be slowed.

Backyard ideas4Strategically place boulders. Well-placed boulders can stabilize the grade as well as create microclimates for a variety of plants. By deliberately placing large boulders parallel to the top of the bed, you can create water-retentive planting pockets for moisture-loving plants. By placing smaller boulders perpendicular to the top of the bed, you can create well-draining areas for those plants that require those conditions. Custom soil mixes that retain or release water can further aid you in the creation of a unique mixed bed.

Designing Your Hillside Garden

Creativity is in order in planting a garden on a slope. If your garden is contemporary, with clean lines, a block planting of a single species or cultivar may be in order. If your aesthetic is traditional, you may opt for a design emphasizing green foliage or white flowers. The rest of you can dare to mix things up and have some fun.

Backyard ideas4When designing a garden on a slope, I find it helpful to stand at the bottom of the space and imagine myself conducting a symphony orchestra. A musical score may very well have crescendos, high notes, low notes, prominent and feisty movements and slow, understated movements. Translate this image into your plant design by crafting a blend of plants high and low in size, loud and subtle in color and texture, plants that move at the slightest breeze and those that don’t. The juxtaposition will add another layer of interest to your garden.

No matter what you do to your backyard you should get out the and have some fun.  Outdoor living spaces are very popular and not just a buzzword.