Unless the backyard consists simply of a long stretch of well-tended smooth lawn, it incorporates a number of features which are not necessarily in harmony with each other. The purpose of having a proper design for the backyard is to try to bring these areas together in the most harmonious way possible.
The backyard design presupposes that the yard will have at least, a sitting area, a play area, a clothes-drying green, flower beds, a vegetable garden, and a garden shed. Further features may include a workshop, a 'natural' area with meadow flowers, a number of trees, a greenhouse, or a poultry run.
The backyard design divides the backyard into a number of different 'rooms' by the use of hedging, fencing or low walls. Where there are a number of existing mature trees, paths are wound through them from one room to another. This basic design gives the impression of a much larger garden than is actually the case.
The sitting area is close to the house and is either a patio, a deck or a lawn. Of these three, the patio is preferable. It is a level firm surface which can be used in all weathers, the furniture can be permanent, and it does not, as decks do, offer a home to vermin underneath. If well done, it also harmonises well with the green pleasure garden beyond.
A workshop needs to be adjacent to the house for the supply of electricity, but should be screened from the sitting area by a closely clipped evergreen hedge, unless it is of aesthetic value. An extension to the workshop is the machinery shed which holds the garden mower, hedge clippers, barrrow and other large garden tools.
The drying green for laundry is within a few yards of the utility or laundry room and should also be screened from sight by a neatly maintained hedge â when entertaining guests on the patio, you do not want them to see your underwear hanging up.
Flower beds, on the other hand, are clearly visible from the patio and from the house. A variety of island beds in a green lawn and borders round the edges of the lawn, give a strong impression of spaciousness. Even more so, if the flower garden is contained within a tall evergreen hedge, clipped to a smooth cushioned finish, with an arched doorway through which, from the patio, you can see the rest of the garden beyond. In a corner of the pleasure garden there is room for a small summerhouse. This serves a dual purpose. It is a pleasant place to sit and it can hold the hand tools that are needed for the maintenance of the flower beds.
When you pass through to the garden beyond, you come into a wilder area where spring bulbs are naturalised in the grass below trees and there are small patches of wildflower meadow. Screens of bushes are allowed to grow without too much pruning, and narrow paths wind round them. In the middle of this 'natural area' there is space for a play area. If ball games are played the play area should be surrounded by high netting. This will save hours of frustrated searching in the hedges and protect the games players from the wrath of the gardeners. A games area can also, of course, make use of mature trees, with rope-ladders, tree houses, and swings.
Beyond the games area is the vegetable garden. This needs to be fenced, at least with rabbit wire netting. It is even better if the vegetable garden has a high evergreen hedge, fence or brick wall around it to shelter it, particularly if the vegetable garden contains a greenhouse (a further reason for the ball games area to be netted!).
Where the backyard contains a poultry run or a pig run, it is far from the house and beside the vegetable garden. If the fowls are free-range, divide their run into two small paddocks with the poultry house set in the middle. This way the birds can run on one paddock for a few days and then be moved to the other to let the first recover.
The compost heap is also close to, or indeed part of, the vegetable garden. A natural cycle will be formed between the poultry, the compost and the garden, with the garden feeding the poultry, the poultry manure feeding the compost heap and the compost heap feeding the garden!
Where Can I Find Supplies For My Backyard Garden?
Garden supplies; seeds, pots, plants, soil, and tools can be found at your local supermarket. WalMart, Costco, and Target all have large gardening sections that are well equiped with garden supplies. WalMart sells 20 cubic inch plastic planters for $120, which would fit nicely on a porch or patio. They also stock other small planters that sell in sets (usually 4 to a set) for $20 to $35. These prices are comparable at other supermarkets, so don't go driving across town hoping to find a better deal. If you don't have a supermarket in your area, you can check local listings for a gardening store. There are few towns and cities that won't have somewhere to purchase garden supplies, but if that is the case, you can always look online.
Shopping online for garden supplies is not the ideal way to find the materials necessary to design your backyard garden. Shipping costs can be quite high for large and heavy items, not to mention you will have to wait around a week for your purchase to arrive. It is sometimes possible to get reduced shipping rates on bulk purchases, or purchases over a certain dollar amount, but this usually doesn't equate to the prices you would find at local stores. However, sometimes there are items that you cannot find in your locale, in which case shopping online may be in ideal solution. Amazon sells a wide variety of gardening supplies, and there are many seed sellers, such as parkseed.com, that can provide you with your plant seed of choice.