Enjoy the outdoors just beyond your patio door this season. These backyard landscape ideas add comfort and style fast and can be customized to suit any home.

Start with the entrance into the backyard. Add a patio or deck against the house to provide a seating and entertainment area close by. Make sure it is large enough; usually an average sized patio set fits within a 12 foot by 12 foot area. Aim for that minimum amount of space to provide room for traffic and safety around the table and chairs.

Display an attractive border around the patio area. Relatively shallow gardens that surround the patio will be easy to maintain and still give the space color and visual interest. Make sure that the size of the garden is in proportion to the patio. Be sure to incorporate curves to provide gentle, welcoming lines.

Trees work for adding shade, privacy and a wind break. Plant evergreens along the property lines as a living fence and year round wind break. Look for a full variety that is hardy to your zone and research the mature size of the tree to plant accordingly. Place deciduous trees around the yard for spot shade and gorgeous fall color.

Level off the lawn with retaining walls. If you have a slope that makes the backyard unusable, change the lay of the land with retaining walls in stone or wood.

New top soil can improve the health of the grass and the drainage on the property. Always be sure to install any walls on the proper base for stability and longevity.

Put up a fence for privacy and security. Fences can be installed on your own with minimal skill or contracted out for a reasonable cost. Make sure that fence posts are set deep enough for the climate (below frost lines if applicable) and that the material used is top quality.

If privacy is not an issue, chain link or iron fences are virtually maintenance free and blend in with any landscape. Wooden privacy fences are the most cost effective and popular around swimming pools and in subdivisions.

Simple things such as patios, border gardens, trees, retaining walls and fences can transform the feel and function of the yard. All of these backyard landscape ideas can be done by the homeowner or contracted out. Either way, they will add value and enjoyment to your home.