How to Create a Well Thought Out Backyard
Comfort and utility are among the most important qualities to consider when developing a garden design. Because tastes and styles differ, beauty is often in the eye of the beholder. But the fundamental principles behind comfort and utility are universal. By considering these elemental concepts at the beginning of your design process, you can ensure that your garden will contain all of the components needed for a pleasing and beautiful space.
1. Build an arbor or a pergola
and make them at least 7 feet tall for safe clearance. Add another 18 inches for good measure if you’re planning to train climbing plants to grow over the structure. Need help building an easy arbor?
2. Add a walkway
Select paving materials with a coarse texture, and set them at a 1 to 2 percent slope to encourage water runoff and to keep walkways hazard-free. Learn what it takes to build a brick pathway.
3. Locate utilities before digging in.
There’s nothing worse than hitting pipes when making grade changes or excavating trenches.
4. Know the mature size of a plant at planting time.
It’s important to leave enough space between plants to accommodate their ultimate size.
5. Design primary paths to be at least 5 feet wide
and secondary paths no less than 3 feet wide for a pleasant and hospitable passage.
6. Don’t crowd pathways or patios.
Site tall plants (more than 30 inches in height) at least 2 to 3 feet back from the edge.
7. Allow at least 3 feet of open space around patio furniture to ensure easy passage.
Patios are most comfortable when you plan for at least 4 square feet of space per person.
8. Choose plants that do more than just bloom.
Look for plants with interesting foliage, bark, or fruit to extend seasonal displays.
9. Create a relaxing environment
by blocking out hot sun, harsh winds, and public areas using trees, shrubs, and large-scale perennials.
10. Strike a balance between lawn and planting areas
to create a lower-maintenance garden that can be used for recreation and enjoyed for its beauty.
11. Give steps a rise of 6 inches or less for comfortable navigation.
Once you determine the rise, use this equation to figure out the ideal dimensions for your run: 26 inches – (2 x the rise) = the run. Place landings at every fourth or fifth step if you have more than 10 steps in your stairway. Landings should be at least as deep as the steps are wide.
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