When it comes to gardening, many of us do the bare basics of cutting the lawn and pulling weeds. While this is sufficient for those who don’t make use of their backyard or are generally adverse to the outdoors, it’s important to remember that your backyard could provide a wonderful extension to the living space provided by the interior of your home. All it requires is a little sprucing up, TLC, and clever design to transform it from a small expanse of grass and into an area that you’d actively enjoy spending your time. A good way to approach things is to look at balancing the elements out back. The majority of us merely think of earth when it comes to gardening. After all, it’s the most obvious of the elements to spring to mind! Especially when we think of traditional gardening activities such as digging, potting, and weeding. But believe it or not, water and fire can be employed to take your space from average to stand out! Here’s how to use earth, water, and fire to your advantage when it comes to external design on your property.
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Have you considered using the elements in your backyard? The majority of us merely think of earth when it comes to gardening. But believe it or not, water and fire can really make your yard stand out! Here’s how to use earth, water, and fire to your advantage when it comes to external design on your property.
The first thing that springs to mind when people talk about growing things in their backyard tends to be flowers. There’s a reason that so many people invest hours of their time in tending to their blooms out back. Not only is it fulfilling seeing something you have planted and nurtured grow, but when they open up and their petals are out, they make your backyard look bright and beautiful too! Consider digging a flower bed around the perimeter of your outdoor space. Then you can plant flowers that have already been grown and are in their prime or seedlings which you can provide with the ideal conditions to grow. Popular plants include Purple Coneflower, Peonies, Daffodils, Pincushion Flowers, and Chrysanthemums. If you have pets or children who will be playing in the space, make sure that anything you choose is non-toxic for the sake of safety.
A Vegetable Patch
Before food makes its way to the supermarket shelves, it’s covered in all sorts of pesticides, additives, and colourings. While the majority of us cannot source all of our foodstuffs from reliable, organic, local suppliers, there are ways that you can monitor the contents and production of your food. The key is to grow your own! All you need to do is dig up a small vegetable patch. While this sounds messy and muddy at first, it could be contained to a small area. Easy to grow options that are perfect for beginners include potatoes, salad leaves, spring onions and radishes, peas, broad beans, runner beans, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and beetroot. You could easily grow all of the items you need to make a wholesome and hearty stew!
A Herb Garden
The same logic that has been used above can also be applied to herbs. The average garden could provide the perfect space for you to try this out! Not only will your homegrown herbs taste better than those that you buy, but they will be as fresh as can be (as you’ll only pick them directly before use), you can be absolutely certain of their purity, and they will also fill your backyard with a delightful fragrance while you’re not using them in your cooking. In short, it’s about time that you consider creating your own small-scale herb garden! Growing most herbs is simple, and instructions will come in their individual packets. The hardest part of the process for most is deciding which herbs to grow in the first place, as there are so many delicious options to pick from! Favourites tend to include perennial herbs, such as oregano, mint, thyme, sage, and rosemary.
When it comes to building features in your backyard, you should opt for the most natural and durable material possible. You want your features to look as they are one with nature rather than sticking out like a sore thumb, but you also want to ensure that they can endure the test of time and harsh weather conditions. In most cases, the best option to consider is wood. Start out with the basics, by bringing in decking builders and having some strong, sturdy, wooden decking placed. This will create the perfect space for you to relax while keeping your feet off the grass. Not only does this reduce the amount of dirt that you take back into the house with you, but it provides you with a nice dry space to relax and avoid the morning or evening dew on the grass!
Ponds are a traditional and popular garden feature that hundreds of thousands of individuals install in their gardens. While they are not recommended for those who have children or pets (due to the safety hazard that the deep water can pose), they are perfect for homes that have adult inhabitants. Not only do they create a beautiful spot of nature in your own backyard, but they attract all sorts of wildlife too, as they provide the perfect habitat for various small creatures to thrive in and around.
If you’re interested in drawing nature to your backyard, but aren’t invested enough to install a pond, or a pond just doesn’t prove to be the best option for you, consider setting up a bird bath. Now, this needn’t be huge. Even a small bath will attract a whole host of small birds! Once it’s set up, it’s easy to maintain and will generally fill itself up with rain water.
Pools and Jacuzzis
If you like spending time outback but want to incorporate a means of exercise into your space, a pool is perfect. This, however, is a huge investment and requires a large amount of maintenance. For something lower maintenance, consider a jacuzzi. This is a small hot tub that will give you a space to relax in luxury beneath the stars!
Onto our last element: fire. Chimineas have gained a lot of popularity in the last decade or so and are generally a novelty item. They can be placed on your patio and will burn wood for hours on end, providing heat for those who want to spend time in their gardens during the evenings once the sun has set and temperatures drop. They are generally freestanding and made from clay, so are resistant to most weather conditions. While you may want to tuck it away in a shed for storage in the winter, it should never be used in any enclosed space. They have vertical vents which means smoke is exuded through the top and shouldn’t pose the problem that open fires often have of smoke blowing in your face.
BBQs are a great addition to any backyard, especially as we are edging out of winter and heading towards spring and summer months, when you might want to entertain guests in the garden. Nothing beats a proper BBQ. As anyone who has used a small disposable BBQ will be well aware, they don’t cook food thoroughly or evenly. A gas BBQ ensures that (given the right supervision) food is cooked properly and will be a hit with your guests, rather than falling flat and being followed up by a takeaway order. Take a look at the wide range that will be available to you, as different BBQs have different features. You’ll doubtless be able to find one that suits your needs down to a tee.
Candle Lit Lanterns
There are numerous ways to light your backyard. Safety lights are a sensible option, as they light up whenever a person or animal steps foot in your garden. This adds a sense of security to your property. But this shouldn’t be the sole light source if you plan to spend time outdoors in the evenings. Solar powered lights are great, but you cannot depend on them for constant and bright light, as their power depends on the weather of the day. Consider investing in candle lit lanterns. These are quaint and add a cute touch if they are hung in convenient spots around your garden, especially considering the way that they flicker and the warm glow that they give out. Just remember to try to keep them away from flammable substances, such as wooden decking or fence panels. While it’s unlikely that problems will arise, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Hopefully this has given you a little insight into how using the elements to your advantage can bring an alternative flair to your backyard design. As you can see, everything out back doesn’t have to be greenery and even when it comes to the earth element of your space, you can get creative and implement changes that are both aesthetically pleasing and practical too! While you needn’t rush out and implement all of these features at once, you should consider adding those that you can accommodate with the space that you have available to you. This will serve to make your backyard an absolute hit with yourself and those who visit!
This is a contributed post.
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