Sumo Gardener

10 Steps To Make Your Backyard Garden Something To Be Proud Of


A house might be a modest place but the Garden is incredible? That doesn’t happen by accident, but with a lot of effort and time. And you could have one like that too.

It’s a funny word, yard. Sounds pretty small and unimpressive. Lavish a bit of care and attention on it and it becomes a garden. This piece is about how to choose who is going to do your work for you.

I’m going to give you 10 things to elevate the status of your outdoor area, and have a knock-on effect on the house itself, because the surroundings are like clothes for a building and if somebody is wearing a smart coat, chances are that what’s inside it is okay too.

Steps To Make Your Backyard Garden Something To Be Proud Of

1.  The Five P’s

This old adage from the business world can be applied here: proper planning prevents poor performance. You need a plan. You need to decide what you want to do with this area. Is it just for you and your loved ones to laze around in or is it going to be an entertainment area? Do you need a play area for kids, with a swing, a slide and a rope hanging from a tree so they can play pirates?

Anything is possible, but you have to make it happen.

If you already have some trees, that is almost certainly a good thing, because they automatically make a place feel in touch with nature. Trees, grass and plants can look great and will attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife, but they create work: they have to be attended to from time to time.

If you want something that is just about maintenance-free, you need to keep nature at bay with concrete or paving stones on the ground, weedkiller, water-protected plaster on the walls and nothing green except maybe a label on a wine bottle.

2.  Strip Out All The Ugliness

If you’ve got disorder, debris, weeds and general decay, either fix it or get rid of it. And keep it got-rid-of. This in itself can be a very satisfying process. Before you even get to the installation process, giving the place a good going-over and a scrub works wonders. It gives you a blank canvas on which to paint your masterpiece.

3.  Start At The Bottom

Backyard Garden Design
At least, start by thinking about the surface. Concrete, paving slabs, wooden decking,  gravel, lawns – they can all work, but if you have a lot of rough work to do with rototillers, concrete mixers and excavators, maybe you should leave that elegant flooring till last.

4.  Install The Fixed Hardware

If you’re going to build a barbecue, a grotto or a shed, get them done. As advised in number 3, the heavy work needs to be done before you put anything in that could get damaged.

5.  Water

Swimming Pool

A little fish pond adds to the atmosphere, but you should take into account safety if your children running around the place.

Depending on how much space you’ve got, a swimming pool is also a good option. Get a hole dug and have a proper one built, drop a fiberglass in or have an affordable above-ground pool. On a hot day there’s nothing like slipping into some cool water without going to the beach or the local swimming pool.

6.  Choose Your Plants With Care

Choose Your Plants With Care
One great idea is to kill two birds with one stone, like having some herbs that look attractive and are also handy for cooking. Many herbs are easy to grow, but if you’re not an expert you should ask somebody (at the garden center or just a green-fingered friend) what does well in your area.

7.  Organise Your Color Scheme

Walls don’t have to be white, floors don’t have to be gray, sheds don’t have to be wood-colored. And wood in general doesn’t have to be that queasy creosote green. Pale colors can be restful and terracotta walls can be very appropriate in a garden, so use your imagination.

And if your place is going to be a riot of color with flowers, bear that in mind. It’s something that nature doesn’t seem to care about, but you’re working with nature, so you can add the benefit of your knowledge and your subtle aesthetic eye.

8.  Climate Control

Make yourself a nice sheltered area for the chairs, table and free standing umbrella or pavilion. The most luxurious cushions on your lounger don’t work if you’re in a corridor with icy winds howling. Better to have a balmy breeze to gently cool you, which varies greatly between Denver and Palm Springs.

9.  Make It Original

Pile of stones decoration


You can make your piece of the world stand out from the rest with something original: a stone buddha, a bronze elephant, a pile of stones like an ancient monument. A pyramid made of leftover paving slabs? Why not? Use your imagination and stamp your personality on your yard.

10. Illumination

Even in the chilly parts of the world there are usually pleasant evenings at some time of the year, and what could be better than enjoying the garden after dark? A few carefully placed lights – electric or solar – can create charming effect with a touch of the exotic. Or you can find all-year-round versions of Christmas twinklers – guaranteed to sprinkle magic on your exterior.

Whatever you choose to do, if it adds to the look of your home you will be pleased you did it. And if you have a great idea that has worked for you, why not let us know?

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About the Author Ann Katelyn

I'm Ann Katelyn, Creator and Chief Author of Sumo Gardener. Since I was a child I've always been fascinated with plants and gardens, and as an adult this has developed into my most loved hobby. I have dedicated most of my life to gardening and started Sumo Gardener as a way to express my knowledge about gardening with the hope of helping other people's gardens thrive.

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1 comment
Nadya Jones says September 30, 2018

Backyard space should be as good as your home interior. Mirroring the indoor space with the outdoor space makes your home more personal and unique. I agree with an edible garden. Planting herbs instead of just flowers are more practical.

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