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How To Landscape Backyard: Landscaping 101

Landscaping can be challenging, especially if you have a lot of space to work with. Transform your backyard with these landscaping tips.

January 1, 2018

If your backyard leaves you feeling bored and uninspired, you’ve come to the right place. Learn how to beautifully landscape your backyard and transform it into your dream place with these great ideas and design basics from Cottage.

10 Ideas for Amazing Backyard Landscaping

You don’t necessarily need to contact a garden designer or landscape architect. Check out these tips and tricks for the beginner to the expert garden landscaper in this step-by-step guide.

Here are 10 fresh ideas for a stunning backyard landscaping that will quickly take your space from dull to dramatic:

1. Trellis or Pergola

A trellis or pergola is the perfect addition to your backyard if you’re looking to add both natural elements and green elements at the same time. And while these structures may look the same, they are actually different in function and use case.

A pergola includes a roof that can provide shade, whereas trellises do not. In either case, both of these landscaping elements and patio projects can add some aesthetic appeal to your backyard.

2. Climbers

If you choose to add a trellis or pergola to your beautiful garden, you’re going to need to add climbing plants to get the full effect. Even if you don’t have a trellis or pergola, there are lots of options for climbers with a dreamy and enchanted vibe.

Some of the best climbers to add to your yard include wisteria, clematis, Virginia creeper, Mandevilla, and star jasmine. Think about which combination of plants will not need much sun if you are working with a shady backyard or side yard space.

3. Water Features

You don't need a swimming pool to create a beautiful landscape plan for relaxing on beautiful summer days.

Everyone loves a good water feature, and what better way to improve the atmosphere of your backyard than with a lovely fountain?

Water features can make your backyard feel like a true oasis. So consider adding stone, brick, or even concrete fountains to your yard and adjust your entire landscape and home's appearance.

4. Seating/Dining Areas

Transform basic backyards or decks into a true outdoor living space with seating and dining areas. Find a nice patio table and place enough chairs around it to fit the entire family. That way, you can enjoy your meals outside on beautiful days and nights and enjoy the beautiful views.

If you really want to live more outdoors, add comfy couches, chairs, and even a television or sound system so that relaxing outside is more of a possibility.

5. Vegetable/Flower Garden

You can also show off your green thumb by planting a vegetable, flower, or herb garden in your backyard. When you grow your own vegetables or herbs, they’re almost guaranteed to taste better, and you save a trip to the grocery store.

Perennials will regrow, while annuals will need to be replanted every year. If you have a smaller yard, consider container gardening for an inexpensive concept but an attractive look that can fit in every yard size.

And instead of spending tons of money on buying fresh flowers for your house, you can grow your favorite kinds yourself in your garden.

6. Bamboo

Transform your backyard into a perfect elegant garden using bamboo. There are several different types of bamboo to choose from, but they are all tall and beautiful, providing you with the perfect natural privacy screen. Some kinds of bamboo grow faster than others, so keep this in mind when making your choices.

7. Lined Pathways

If you’re looking for the French or English garden effect, then you should consider adding lined pathways to your backyard. Put down pebbles or stone to create a path and line it with your personal preferences for beautiful plants.

8. Landscaped Levels

Create depth in your backyard by adding landscaped levels. This is particularly useful for sloped backyards that would otherwise be difficult to landscape. Add different plants to different levels for a unique and varied effect.

9. Fruit Trees

If you’re a fruit fiend, why not add fruit trees to your yard? After all, there’s no better way to snack than going to your backyard, picking an apple, and eating it right on the spot.

10. Mix and Match

Finally, you should feel free to mix and match the different elements in your backyard. For example, include trees, bushes, shrubs, flowers, and grasses. Mix and match different types and colors of greenery with different colors of flowers for a multi-dimensional and stunning backyard.

If You Have a Big Backyard, Consider Adding…

If you have a big backyard and are really looking to boost the “wow” factor of your outdoor space, here are some big-ticket items that you should consider incorporating into your backyard:

1. Pool

If you live in a place where it’s warm for a good part of the year, then you can consider adding a pool to your backyard if you have the space. In places like Florida and California, pools offer you a private and convenient place to beat the heat.

2. Fire Pit

Enjoy the comforts of campfires in your own backyard by adding a fire pit. Sit around roasting marshmallows and making s’mores with your family for some good old-fashioned fun. Stay warm even in the coldest months next to a crackling fire.

Take your fire pit to the next level with built-in and sunken seating. This way, it’s easy to relax around the fire, and there’s no need for flimsy and uncomfortable camping chairs.

3. Outdoor Kitchen

If you enjoy grilling, take your cuisine to the next level with an outdoor kitchen. With the right amount of space and utility connections, you can build a full-service outdoor kitchen. Now, you can get some fresh air while cooking in your outdoor kitchen.

4. Gazebo

To really increase the “wow” factor and overall ambiance of your backyard, you can consider adding a classic and quaint gazebo. They also provide a much-needed seating space that’s perfectly shaded so that you can still enjoy your backyard in the hot summer months.

5. Swing Set

Make your kids’ dreams come true by adding a swing set to your backyard. Having a swing set in your own backyard keeps your kids close to home since they can just go out back to play instead of having to go to the park.

There are many different swing set designs and options to choose from, and you can build everything from a slide to swings, rock climbing walls, rings, monkey bars, and everything in between.

6. Treehouse

Make your own childhood dreams come true by building a treehouse in your backyard. Building a treehouse in your own backyard is possible with the right tree and some creativity. If you don’t want to embark on this journey on your own, there are treehouse kits and services out there.

7. Storage Shed

Achieve some much-needed storage space by adding a storage shed to your backyard. A storage shed is particularly useful if you don’t have a garage or a lot of storage space inside your home.

There are many different storage sheds out there to choose from in a variety of different shapes, sizes, and materials. Explore some of the different options and choose the one that best fits your storage needs, budget, and home aesthetics.

8. Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)

If you’re really looking to take your backyard to the next level while boosting your property values, then you should consider adding an accessory dwelling unit or ADU to your backyard.

An ADU is essentially like a tiny house in that it has its own bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen space. However, ADUs can also be made much larger to contain multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, living rooms, etc.

Adding an ADU to your backyard is great for housing guests when they come to stay. It could also be used to house aging parents or adult children—giving them their own private space while also keeping them close by. Furthermore, an ADU could provide you with rental income if you rent it out on either a short-term or long-term basis.

ADUs are becoming incredibly popular in light of rising housing prices and are particularly prominent in California. The state of California, along with different localities throughout the state, have made it easy for homeowners to add ADUs to their backyards.

Most single-family properties are eligible to add an ADU, although regulations related to size and construction requirements vary by city and county.

If you’re interested in building an ADU based on these benefits, then you’re going to need an experienced ADU builder. Cottage is a custom ADU company that handles the entire process from start to finish, including feasibility, design, permitting, and construction.

Cottage’s design and architectural experts are ready and willing to help you come up with the perfect ADU design to meet your unique needs. Cottage works with a team of vetted contractor partners who are licensed, bonded, insured, and come with a one-year workmanship guarantee.

Transform Your Backyard With an ADU From Cottage

While there are countless things you can do to improve the landscaping and overall appearance of your backyard, nothing adds value to your property quite like an ADU. These units are increasingly desired by homebuyers in high cost of living areas like California.

So get started on building your very own custom ADU today by reaching out to the experts at Cottage for a complimentary consultation and see just how much you can do with your backyard.


20 Best Perennial Flowering Vines and Climbers | The Spruce

Vegetable Gardening for Beginners: The Basics of Planting & Growing | The Old Farmer's Almanac

How to Build a Treehouse | The New York Times