Landscape around a patio

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Patio Gardening and Landscaping

How to plant around a patio and outdoor living space By Maureen Gilmer Swipe to view slides

  • When you can enjoy a beautiful clematis in full bloom from just a few feet away, you get a close view of its exquisite flowers.
  • The use of plants with bronze, lime green or variegated foliage allows a colorful space all year long even when there are not flowers present.
  • Small trees and deciduous shrubs with unique bark provide an interesting subject for the winter months.
  • Planting around patios and decks is the best place to blend a variety of small vivid plants for plenty of interest.
  • Beware of plants overhanging pavement that can be crushed by foot traffic to release unappealing scents into the outdoor living space.
  • Using numerous medium sized pots on the patio is more manageable than using larger containers that are difficult to move.
  • In mild climates, the Australian tree fern is an outstanding choice for sheltered patios and courtyards.
  • The patio tree is a shrub trained to a single trunk to resemble a small tree, which offers height without much volume that would otherwise compromise space.
  • Design for winter by using shapely evergreens for attractive forms in the patio space in the off season.

Incorporating Planting Beds

Discover how planting beds can soften your hardscape and get ideas for designing space for plants around your patio.

A good planting plan can turn hard space into a natural environment for outdoor living. It can carry your interior schemes into the landscape with color and fragrance. Planting solves problems with beautiful living things. It offers a changing face with the seasons. A poorly designed planting plan does little for the quality of the space, increases maintenance, compromises square footage, and negatively impacts your enjoyment of the patio.

It pays to do your research on plants you are considering for the space. Know what they look like, when they bloom, if you like their fragrance, if they are dangerous or toxic, and make sure they remain in scale with the space over time. To help you better understand how plants can fail, we’ve begun this guide with The Don’ts, before we move into more positive attributes.

The Don’ts

Your terrace, patio or deck may experience all sorts of activities in many seasons. Your designer must ensure the planting works equally well for all of them. Don’t just gloss over the patio planting because this is where a finely wrought planting plan can make your outdoor living spaces more than a patio, they become a three dimensional environment.

Don’t oversize plants.

By far the most common mistake is using plants that crowd your limited patio space. Double check that every plant matures within the height and diameter provided. You should not have to prune or clip a plant to keep it in bounds. When you do, there’s not only additional maintenance, but you sacrifice its natural beauty. Remember, these plants may be there for years to come.

Don’t use sharp plants.

Plants that bear spines or thorns are painful when located near patios. The interest in succulent plants like agaves often overlooks the potentially dangerous spines on each leaf tip. These can badly scratch a leg or wreck havoc on dressy party clothing. If and when children are present, they too are vulnerable because eye level is far lower than with adults. Be careful what you plant in raised planters, along seatwalls, in narrow passage ways, dining areas and at poolside. Major offenders: Roses, cactus, some succulents, and holly.

  • Pro Tip: If you do have agaves, you can disarm them by clipping off the tip of each leaf spine. Do not cut into the fleshy tissues, just snip the first eighth or quarter inch to blunt them without spoiling the beauty.

Don’t use toxic plants.

Because children and animals tend to touch, smell, and sometimes eat much of what they discover, it’s wise to avoid patio plants that are poisonous. Angel’s trumpet, one of the most beautiful tropical flowering trees for patios contains powerful alkaloids that can be absorbed through the skin when handled. Some other major offenders are morning glory, euphorbia, castor bean, foxglove (Digitalis), and oleander.

Don’t use pungent plants.

Not all natural scents are appealing, and some created to mimic pheromones can be downright stinky. Some plants can become unappealing when crushed, so beware of them along the edges of foot paths and stepping stones, or where they are likely to over grow onto pavement. Keep in mind that scents you find appealing may not always be as pleasing to others, so be careful not to overdo it. Major offenders include privet, female ginkgo tree, stinking hellebore, photinia, and carob tree.

Don’t use oversized pots.

When planting in containers on the patio or deck, always be aware of the combined weight of any one pot and its contents. Large pots used for planting small patio trees or tropicals can be difficult to move or remove without heavy lifting. Whenever possible, use wheeled platforms under large pots when they must be moved to protection for winter. Or, downsize the containers but use more of them.

  • Pro Tip: If you have an older wood deck that may experience dry rot or termites, beware of using heavy pots that produce a significant dead load (weight with no people) that when combined with you and your guests may overstress posts, beams, and planks to the point of failure.

The Do’s

The right planting can make your patio a celebration of the senses with beauty, fragrance, texture, and color. Solve problems using carefully selected plants that enhance the outdoor living experience in a variety of ways.

Do plant fragrant flowers.

The haunting scent of jasmine adds romance to your patio, particularly after dark when the source is less visible. Careful planting design can create a succession of seasonal aromatherapies. Position the various species to maximize the experience for you and your guests. Position them close to where you sit or dine for a more intense experience, or give them distance for subtle background fragrance. Scents from plants placed upwind will waft into the patio on the prevailing breeze rather than away from it, and the fragrance of those located close to windows and doors may be drawn inside for double benefit.

Do exploit close up detail.

While sitting on the patio, you’ll get an eyeful of close-up planting. This is where you can use intricately detailed flowers that may often be overlooked in a larger landscape. Many plants that feature colored foliage can be mixed and matched for high contrast all year long.

Do utilize trees in pots.

Small trees in big pots are your most powerful tool for patios that lack much ground for planting. They are an important problem solver too: A palm or crepe myrtle can distract the eye from a large bare wall behind it, or a row of them can become visual partitions to improve privacy or block unattractive views. Nothing is better for spot shading on a hot afternoon or to fill an empty corner with foliage and flowers.

Do plant for off-season interest.

While planting for the warmer months is a given, don’t forget plants that feature off-season interest too. For example, coral bark Japanese maple is one of the most popular small trees for winter beauty due to its bark that stands out brightly on dull days or against snow. The forms of well shaped evergreens are powerful interest in winter too. If you live in the north where winter is long and cold, what you see out the windows is important. Make doubly sure your patio is well stocked with off-season plants and use up-lighting after dark to create a beautiful view.

Do utilize diversity.

Some homes don’t have views, so intricate planting combinations are the next best thing. Give special attention to using a wide variety of small plants with exquisite qualities. Too often modern designs fall back on massing a single species rather than putting in the time and effort to mix-and-match varieties, textures, sizes, and colors.

The Art of Topiary

The art of topiary evolved from the Romans who planted aromatic herbs such as rosemary or wormwood in their courtyards and regularly clipped the foliage to release fragrance. When you plant them as edging or topiary, you too can clip before a party to naturally scent the area.

Do plant for seasoning.

Culinary herbs make some of the finest plants for patio areas, where they are convenient to pinch and cut when you need fresh flavors in the kitchen. Woody herbs such as rosemary and lavender make first-class landscape plants in pots or in ground. Creeping rosemary and creeping thyme are old-time favorites for edges of flagstone paths where they are routinely crushed, so the aroma is released when you pass. Some herbs, such as purple fennel, offer truly outstanding form, color, and texture. Even herbaceous parsley and basil make fast-growing seasonal fillers.

Landscaping ideas for front yards and backyards should not be ignored. In most cases, people pay more attention to the interior part of their house and less to the exterior. Designing your landscape is just as important as designing any part of the house. Landscaping ideas that are skillfully carried out can complement to the whole aesthetics of your house. You can enhance the whole appeal of your yard by choosing the appropriate shrubs, garden edges, plants, and flowers.

Before you start designing your front yard and backyard, you must create an inventory of on your front- and backyard space. As there are many landscaping ideas to choose from, try to figure out which one would be fit best for your space and then make adjustments to create your perfect garden. Consider that you might want to have a pool or a playground for the kids, or if you want to work outdoors then you make space for a flower garden. For some people, it is their lifelong dream to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Try to consider what your family really wants. The front yard and the backyard are two unique entities since they serve separate purposes, so designs your garden with that in mind while keeping an overall theme!

Landscaping Ideas for Front Yards

1. Cheap Landscaping Ideas

Originally posted by homedit

The walkway is very simple, however, it is made beautiful by the well-trimmed grass around it. There are bunches of flowers in order to make it colorful. Be sure to keep the surroundings tidy by taking out those weeds as soon as they are pop-up.

2. Beautiful Home Garden Designs

Originally posted by forumvilag

This is a beautiful home garden design for your front yard landscaping. You can update your front yard design by adding shrubs, walkways, gardens to make it colorful.

3. Contemporary Front Yard Landscape

Originally posted by amazonaws

These days, modern landscaping has toned down a bit. It has a minimal approach with lesser stones and flowering plants.

4. Stunning Landscaping Ideas

Originally posted by cdhoye

This is a small landscaping for the front yard with a colorful flower garden. It’s the best way to dress up your front yard.

5. Desert Landscaping Ideas

Aside from plants and flowers, you can also add stones, gravel mist, and river rocks to add some texture to your landscaping. This design is highlighted by the potted plants.

6. Easy Landscaping Ideas

If you have a big home and a big front yard then you should also have a larger plot for your plants. However, there’s no need to fill every space. Something like these yellow pops can make the design stand out with very little!

7. DIY Landscaping Ideas

This is a simple front yard landscaping for small spaces. If you have a small space in your front yard then you can make it look cute and perfect by having a small garden with grass and plants.

8. Tropical Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

Originally posted by thisforall

If you have a big house with a huge front yard, you have to consider that not all trees are suitable for it. This huge palm tree looks great on this big house.

9. Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

One of the best ways of transforming your modest space into something bigger is by using the symmetrical approach. Having an equal balance of trees and flowers on both sides makes it look amazing.

10. Front Yard Landscaping Ideas With Rocks

This is a blend of modern architecture and desert landscaping. This is the perfect setting for xeriscaping. The lines and the planes of the housework well with the well-structured landscape design.

11. Garden Landscaping Ideas

A cottage front yard garden is best for minimal space. Create rock pathways and blend them with perennials. Add a seating area to make it look more inviting.

12. Grand And Colorful Front Yard Landscaping

When visitors enter your front yard, make it grand. The huge potted moms are a colorful way of welcoming them to your yard and home.

13. Front Yard Landscaping Plant Ideas

Most beautiful front yards are made of wild flowering plants. If you would like to have this design then be sure to consider the height of your perennials. The tallest plants should be at the back while the shortest plants should be at the front. In this way, each plant will be well appreciated.

14. Front Yard Landscaping With Rocks

Front yard landscaping ideas can enhance the curb appeal of the outdoors of your home. This beautiful design is a mixture of stones, rocks, plants and water bodies with some grass.

15. Inexpensive Landscaping Ideas

This neutral landscaping looks fabulous with the white wildflowers, grass, and small bushes. The scalloped mulching adds charm to this creative design.

16. Landscape Designs For Small Yards

The design of this terracotta stone house is also applied to the landscaping. The earthy front yard consists of large boulders combined with natural foliage. It looks so simple and peaceful.

17. Landscaping Design Ideas For Front Yard

Hanging flowering baskets in your front yard provides a fresh and elegant appeal to your home. You can also change them every year in order to enjoy a fresh new look.

18. Amazing Landscaping Ideas

This is an example of simple and sweet landscaping which highlights the charming home. The natural color provides comfort and freshness.

19. Landscaping Ideas Around House

Best front yard landscaping ideas with garden flowers and plants. If you want to keep things simple then let the green grass, bushes, flowers, and plants provide you with freshness.

20. Landscaping Ideas For Front Yards

Originally posted by seotons

The green grass and the curb appeal is elaborated in this front yard landscaping. It can ensure visitors that they are very welcome to enter your yard and home.

21. Landscaping Ideas For Privacy

Always make sure that you have enough time in maintaining your front yard landscaping design. This colorful design only requires minimal maintenance.

22. Landscaping Ideas For Small Areas

A colorful flower garden is the best way of dressing up your front yard. A flower garden can add texture, color, and fragrance to your front yard.

23. Landscaping Ideas For Big Front Yard

One of the best ornaments that you can use in your huge front yard is the Bermuda grass. It creates a connection in every boundary. It provides a clean and fresh look.

24. Landscaping Ideas For Your Front Yard

This modest front yard looks clean and fresh with the flowering tree. It adds visual height to the yard and makes the home look classy. Adding different heights to your landscaping provides amazing curb appeal.

25. Landscaping Ideas On A Budget

The variety of sweet flowers with radiant colors brings elegance to your front yard.

26. Symmetrical Landscaping Ideas

If you don’t have enough time in grooming your front yard all year long then you can just keep it simple. The bushes provide lushness as they grow. The potted plants and the green grass provides freshness, especially during the warmer months.

27. Desert Front Yard Landscape

Most often, a desert landscaping design can consist of gravel, rocks, and small boulders. It looks superb when combined with grasses, plants, and trees.

28. Simple Landscaping Ideas

This is a simple landscaping idea for a front yard that highlights the white house. It adds richness to the house and its simplicity provides freshness and comfort.

29. Small Front Yard Landscaping

The pair of potted topiaries provides symmetry. The garden with a variety of plants and flowers makes the front yard look fresh and colorful.

30. Small Front Yard Landscaping Design

If you have a modern home then you should have a contemporary front yard design. This landscaping is very easy to maintain and looks elegant.

31. Stylish Small Front Yard Landscaping Ideas

The red brick home is the perfect backdrop of colorful flowers. The variety of colors makes the home look bright and elegant.

Landscaping Ideas for Backyards

32. Amazing Backyard Landscaping

Originally posted by homebunch

Does your garden look untidy? If so then it’s time to give a new look to your garden and try recreating your whole backyard. A variety of plants can make your garden look new. It can also provide a variety of colors.

33. Awesome Small Backyard Rock Garden

Originally posted by lessonup

You can add privacy to your backyard by adding a stylish fence.

34. Backyard Curb Appeal

Having a cozy backyard sitting area is an amazing feature of your home.

35. Spectacular Backyard

The outdoor seating areas offer an exclusive place. The natural surroundings and the garden designs makes the area spectacular.

36. Backyard Landscape Design

Creating a flower bed on your backyard can add beauty to your home. You can add some texture and architectural dimension to your backyard by having planters such as this metal pipe. If you are using tall planters, you can avoid using a lot of compost or soil by filling cans or plastic bottles at the bottom.

37. Backyard Landscape Ideas

Regardless if you have a small backyard, you can still create your own separate seating area.

38. Backyard Landscaping Ideas

The pool is located at the rear end of the backyard leaving a huge space for playing.

39. Backyard Landscaping Designs

Although it is only a small backyard but its beautiful landscape is a dream come true for a person who has a green thumb.

40. Backyard Landscaping Plans

This backyard is beautifully decorated with colorful flowers and tiny trees. Make sure that the arrangement of your flowers are harmonious.

41. Unique Backyard Landscaping

Having a water element on your backyard makes it unique and beautiful.

42. Backyard Shrubs Design

Having this clean and simple design is most often more attractive than having a complex one.

43. Beautiful Backyard Landscaping

The best place for a sitting area is in a corner which is more private. When it comes to landscaping, it should not be limited to flowers and plants only. You might also consider other elements such as the patio, the fence, the walls, the water elements and other features.

44. Cheap Backyard Landscaping Ideas

Aside from having trees and pathways, your backyard landscaping should also have a functional side.

45. Backyard Pool

Your backyard can also become your spa-like space. You can have a pool and a sitting area. If you still have space, it would be nice to have a pond or a fountain aside from the plants and the flowers.

46. Elegant Backyard Garden Ideas

You can add other functional elements to your backyard such as an outdoor kitchen, a barbecue or even a bar.

47. Backyard Landscaping Designs

Try to consider every element of your backyard since it is an essential part of your landscaping.

48. Garden Landscaping Ideas

Sometimes its great to sit back and enjoy the magnificent view of your backyard.

49. Landscape Design For Backyard

You can add some rocks to the edge of your flower bed to make it more creative.

50. Landscape Design For Backyard Patio

Blending natural elements and colors can create a harmonious effect on your backyard.

51. Landscape Design For Small Backyard

This is a contemporary small backyard which includes natural materials and other elements.

52. Landscaping Your Backyard

Your backyard can also be used as your lounging area. Nature combined with an outdoor sitting area is a perfect match.

53. Perfect Landscape Design

This landscape is a combination of the pathways, fence and the stairs along with the green grass and the plants.

54. Natural Landscape Design

One of the best natural elements that can be used in backyard landscaping are rocks. There are a lot of ways of using rocks to your own advantage.

55. Landscapes Ideas with Fireplace

An outdoor fireplace can be very useful especially during autumn and spring.

56. Landscaping Designs with Pathways

The pathways can create a solidarity look on your backyard.

57. Patio Landscaping Ideas

The patio should not be exposed to excessive sunlight.

58. Landscaping Backyard Ideas with Lights

This is a great backyard which features sitting areas, rock walkways with vibrant plants. It also has privacy factors with superior lightings.

59. Backyard Pool Landscaping

The backyard pool is the main element in this landscaping.

60. Nature Landscaping Ideas

Generally, vegetation and plants may require more care and maintenance.

61. Wonderful Backyard

This is a perfect place for relaxing and enjoying the natural surroundings.

62. Landscaping Ideas For Small Backyards

This minimalist design has a harmonious effect.

63. Landscaping Images for Backyard

Originally posted by diynetwork

Be creative and go beyond sod and mulch by creating a sand bed with a hammock. This tropical paradise can be completed by having a bed of flowers and some trees.

64. Gorgeous Backyard

Create a beautiful lounge area on your backyard by having Spanish arches on the background.

65. Lovely Backyard Landscaping

This newly renovated backyard features a bench around the mulberry tree. It also has a lovely wood deck with a privacy wall and a sitting area.

66. Modern Backyard Landscaping Ideas

This modern backyard features some artificial grass with stone pavers. It has a colorful fireplace on the side and a table with hanging lights.

67. The Perfect Place to Hangout

This backyard is the best place to hangout with your friends. You can have some barbecue or perhaps play some game.

68. Nice Backyard Landscaping

This is the perfect place to have your private dinner. The tin tile serves as the privacy wall.

69. Newly Renovated Backyard

If you love the smell of firewood then you can place a fire pit on your newly renovated backyard.

70. Landscape Design with Walkway

You can create a private walkway and at the end place a bench so that you can enjoy the view. You can either create a single path or a double path.

71. Dining Area On Your Backyard

Your backyard can also be the perfect area for dining. These red dining chairs can make your backyard look more colorful.

72. English-inspired Backyard Design

In order to create a formal look, you should properly maintain your sculpted shrubs. This rounded top shape is one of the most popular hedge shapes since it can permit the sun to reach the base.

73. Superior Small Yard Design

Originally posted by freshome

Add color to your seating area by choosing colorful textiles for your throw pillows and cushions. Red and orange are a brilliant combination.

74. Simple Landscaping Ideas

If your ground space is only limited then the best option would be a custom flower box. Place a variety of plants with different texture and sizes on your miniature garden. It can add fragrance and color to your small backyard.

75. Backyard Ideas with Perennials

Plant some tall flowering perennials on your garden bed to create a border between your yard and the road. This garden consists of Echinacea ‘Coconut Lime’, white Phlox paniculata ‘David’, Aster ‘Bluebird’, Platycodon and Digitalis ferruginea.

76. Small Backyard Landscape Design Ideas

Raised beds are perfect for areas with sandy soil or heavy clay. Raised beds can let you choose the soil that is appropriate for your plants. Choose a variety of colors for your garden.

77. Backyard Ideas

A fire pit on the backyard can attract friends and family members who love marshmallows. You can place it at the edge of your backyard in order to have more space.

78. Contemporary Backyard

If tradition mulch is not possible then you can create rock beds for your plants. The synthetic turf on the stonework is perfect for this modern sitting area.

79. Simple Backyard Ideas

If you love to eat salad then you can create an edible garden on your backyard. Create raised beds and plant your edibles on it.

80. Backyard Landscaping for Fun and Games

Create a touch of green on your backyard by putting an authentic or a synthetic turf. Real turf is less expensive but requires more maintenance. If you prefer to have less maintenance then you can use synthetic turf, however, it is more costly.

81. Nice Backyard Ideas

Creating a mystery path can be accomplished even if you have a small backyard. Plant some perennials on the sides of the walkway so as to conceal the end of the path.

82. DIY Backyard Ideas

Originally posted by hgtv

One of the easiest and quickest DIY backyard ideas is creating a stone patio. You can do it on your own by using some tools.

83. Beautiful Backyard Ideas

Have you tried transforming your backyard into a living room sanctuary? This backyard features a lounging area, dining area, and a playing area.

84. Unique Backyard Ideas

This is a blend of old and new architecture. The fireplace is the center of attraction. It also features a woven sea-grass rug and some water-resistant furniture.

85. Backyard Ideas With Pool

The light on the firewall gives light to the pool. It’s like swimming under the stars.

86. Backyard Ideas Patio

Having a fire pit on your patio can provide warmth on cool evenings. It is perfect for any outdoor gatherings.

87. Backyard Ideas On A Budget

This is a unique hedge with tall maiden grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’). It is blended with a dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Hameln’). This garden creates an enclosure with a musical effect.

88. Small Backyard Ideas

Sometimes you can create a bigger lawn with your small space. The secret is to use a faux-grass rug.

89. Simple Backyard Ideas

You can create a tropical hideaway by maximizing the space on your small garden. The Japanese fiber banana (Musa basjoo) is a hardy tropical plant.

90. Backyard Landscaping Ideas

You can transform a small space into a garden by planting a stylish pergola. It can provide shade for your windows and at the same time, it can also block the view of the neighbors.

91. Backyard Design Ideas

This is a contemporary backyard which includes a variety of elements. It is highlighted by the magnificent metal and glass fire.

92. Landscaping Ideas

The stone patio blends well with the furniture. The colorful accents in the seating area provides warmth to the backyard.

93. Backyard Designs

The green ceramic water pedestal is the focal point of this backyard. It is surrounded with rocks and some green plants.

94. Unique Backyard Ideas

This is a floating deck backyard with a shade structure. It features vegetable planters, a privacy wall, a metal water and other elements.

95. Small Backyard Design Ideas

A gray seating set is perfect for this backyard. The fireplace provides warmth to the family members.

96. Backyard Ideas Cheap

You can incorporate line paths into your landscaping to make it eye-catching.

97. Backyard Ideas For Small Yards

If you love turf but you do not have time to mow then you can install an artificial grass. It saves you time and water as well.

98. Ideas For Backyard Spaces

If you have a bigger backyard then you can crete a family room in your garden. Furnish it with furniture to make it more relaxing.

99. Backyard Ideas For Moderate Spaces

Create a garden with a variety of colors. The trees provide shade and fresh air too.

100. Beautiful Backyard

Creating a stepping stone path towards your lawn can guide your visitors. Use a string in creating an outline.

What is your favorite Landscaping Idea?

Which landscaping idea is your favorite? You can choose to do your own landscaping or you can hire a company. Landscaping can add a touch of style and functionality to your outdoor space. You can add color and variety to your outdoor space. You can add color and variety to your garden any way you’d like. Why not add an outdoor fireplace or an outdoor kitchen? An edible garden is very useful and healthy if you like to know where your food is coming from while a pool adds a lot of fun for your children. Either way, sit down with your family to and discuss what you want before planting anything. If you have your own creative landscaping ideas then please share it with us.

From a simple penchant for yellow flowers as a child to becoming a full-time gardener, nature advocate, and garden designer, I am extremely happy to finally have a platform for me to successfully spread knowledge and expertise in the garden. After highschool graduation, I took many courses related to garden design to feed myself with more knowledge and expertise other than what I learned from my mom growing up. Soon as I finished courses, I gained more experience through internships and most especially, garden shows! I also tried to join as many garden design competitions locally. For any garden design inquiries, ping me!

Homeowners often spend the majority of their time (and budget) decorating the inside of their home, but the front and back yards are huge areas of opportunity as well. Freshening up your home’s landscaping – both the front and backyards – is beneficial to resale value.

Adding value to your outdoor space involves more than just laying down a lush green lawn. A landscaped yard is more appealing than plain grass, and it’s easy to liven up the space in a weekend. Try some of these backyard landscaping ideas, and you’ll have a welcoming backyard that’s perfect for entertaining in no time.

Add a Backyard Fire Pit Area

A fire pit is a great place to gather around during any season of the year (weather permitting, of course). Fire pit ideas range from simple metal styles you can buy at most home and garden stores, to more elaborate custom styles. To decide which style is best for you figure out what you’ll be using it for. If you’re looking for a fire for roasting s’mores, then a cheaper, metal bowl will do. However, if you’re looking to create a stylish, focal point then custom is the way to go.

Add Backyard Privacy With Plants

Are your neighbors a bit too close for comfort? If you’re looking for the benefits of a privacy fence without actually installing a fence, use plants instead. You can use tall shrubs, small trees or even large plants to obscure the view into your yard from neighboring lawns and porches. Boxwood shrubs, cypress trees and bamboo are all great options that grow quickly.

Create a Backyard Dining Area

If you want to get more use out of your backyard, try adding a dining area for al fresco lunches and dinners. This can range from something as simple as a picnic table, to something as elaborate as an outdoor kitchen. For a simple backyard landscaping project, create a patio by using large paving stones or a slab of concrete. Add a table, chairs and some colorful decorations for a cozy feel. Place a grill nearby, and you’re ready for BBQs, Sunday brunch and more.

Add a Backyard Water Feature

Water features are a great way to bring calmness and serenity to your backyard, and they’re also fairly simple to install. You can buy ready-made kits for ponds and waterfalls, or you can make it a DIY project. This is also a great way to take care of any drainage problems you may have during wet weather. Add a few goldfish and a few small plants to create your own personal outdoor oasis.

Cover Up Any Eyesores

If you have anything particularly unappealing in your backyard-such as outdoor air conditioning units, utility meters, or old buildings-add landscaping around them. For example, you can place a lattice fence around an outdoor A/C unit (as long as it still has plenty of ventilation). You can essentially fix any eyesore you have in your backyard by adding tall or bushy potted plants.

10 Ideas for Backyard Landscaping on a Budget

Thinking about upgrading your backyard this spring but fearful of what it might cost?

Fear not.

From hardscaping to softscaping, there’s plenty of cheap landscaping ideas for your backyard.

Check out these ten budget-friendly ideas to beautify your backyard landscape without having to take out a second mortgage.

10 Cheap Landscaping Ideas for the Backyard

1. Use Mulch Alternatives

Mulching is a time and money saver as it reduces the amount of water and weeding your garden needs, but mulch itself can be expensive. That’s why one of the best budget backyard ideas is to use an affordable mulch alternative.

Low-Cost Mulch Alternatives:

  • Grass Clippings: The next time you mow, rake up the clippings – and the savings – and spread them onto your flower beds.
  • Leaves: Shredded leaves make a great, cheap mulch alternative and provide nutrients to your plants.
  • Pine Needles: Pine needles are a relatively low-maintenance mulch alternative that is lightweight and easy to spread.
  • Compost: If you’ve already made your own compost bin, put it to good use in your landscaping. Just be careful not to layer it too thickly, as too much can heat up your plants and damage them.
  • Newspaper: After you’re finished with the Sunday funny papers, let your plants take a peek – layer about five pages on the ground, water lightly and then cover with topsoil before planting.
  • Stone: Stone mulch isn’t right for all plants, but if used properly, it can cut down your weeding and maintenance costs in the long run. According to Steve Boehme of GoodSeed Farm Landscapes, it’s important to choose the right spot for your stone mulch:

“Stone mulch works especially well in clean environments like around in-ground pool decks, traffic islands and narrow beds between buildings and pavement. This is because grass clippings and other organic matter won’t be as likely to soil the stone mulch in such places. Also, stone mulch is less likely than wood mulch to wash onto pavements or blow into swimming pools.”

Steve Boehme | GoodSeed Farm Landscapes

If your heart is set on traditional mulch, it’s best to go with pine mulch, says Gene Caballero of GreenPal. “It’s way cheaper than hardwood mulch and is easier to transport and spread.”

2. Repurpose Old Tires

Tires are bulky and can be difficult to get rid of, as many waste haulers won’t accept them. Why not put them to good use in your backyard?

According to Michelle Bull of Lakin Tire, recycled tires are inexpensive and easy to find. “They can be picked up at a local recycling plant for a few dollars, but most people are willing to give away any old tires that they have on hand,” she says. Here are a few cheap landscaping ideas for your backyard using tires:

How to Landscape With Recycled Tires

  • Cover with outdoor pillow casings or rope for durable, rustic patio ottomans.
  • Stack and stagger tires to create decorative planters.
  • Create a hanging planter by filling one half with soil and attaching to a wall or fence.
  • Make a man-made garden pond using a tire as the base.
  • Give your kids a fun place to play with a recycled tire climber.

3. Go Vertical With Your Gardening

Love to garden but don’t have a ton of space – or money – to do so? Consider a vertical garden.

Vertical gardening, simply put, is using vertical space to grow plants. If you’re looking for small backyard landscaping ideas on a budget, vertical gardens are a good place to start. Not only do they make the most of limited space, but they can be inexpensive too, especially if you’re using recycled materials like old plastic bottles to make it.

DIY Vertical Garden Ideas

  • Use a wooden ladder, terracotta pots and some wire for a rustic front porch vertical garden.
  • Wash out old paint cans, fill with soil and hang them up to create a vertical herb garden.
  • Repurpose a picture frame to create a vertical succulent garden.
  • Waterproof an unused shoe organizer for a vertical garden that’s easy to move.
  • Turn your wooden fence into a vertical garden using a few pot hangers and wood screws.

4. Add a Splash of Color

Sometimes all it takes to make a backyard pop is to add some color.

This can be as simple as painting planters to give your garden a more contemporary look, or giving wood, metal or plastic chairs a fresh coat of paint. To save even more on this budget backyard landscaping project, reuse leftover paint from previous projects instead of buying new paints.

You can also add a quick splash of color in the form of flowers or foliage, positioning them on a deck, patio, at an entryway or tucked into a planting bed.

Pro Tip:
Another easy, affordable way to add natural tones to your backyard

is to give your deck a new coat of stain.
Learn how to maintain your deck to keep it beautiful year-round.

5. Plant Useful Plants

Cut grocery costs in the summer time by growing your own vegetables and herbs right in your own backyard. From DIY herb gardens to plants that repel bugs, you can easily turn your backyard into a space that’s beautiful and functional with a few terracotta planters and the right placement.

6. Opt for Natural Perennial Ground Covers

Tired of weeding the lawn? Skip the weed killers and opt for dense spreading perennial ground covers instead.

According to Jonas Sickler of ConsumerSafety.org, weed killers can be both costly and hazardous to your health. “Harsh chemicals in Roundup can sicken pets and has been linked to cancer,” Sickler says. “Weed killers aren’t just bad for your health – they also pack a punch to your bank account at over $20 .”

Check out these low-cost perennial ground covers for your next budget backyard landscaping project:

Cheap Natural Perennial Ground Cover Options

  • Creeping Periwinkle – $1.07 per plant
  • Walk-on-Me Thyme – $3.99 per plant
  • Moss Phlox – $4.59 per plant
  • Violets and Pansies – Seeds range from $0.95 to $2.95
  • Early Snow Glories – $2.40 per plant

Pro Tip:
If your backyard is full of big, beautiful trees, you may want to choose shade plants that can handle living in their shadow, as not all plants can tolerate full or partial shade.

7. Build an Outdoor Fire Pit

There’s no better way to bring the family together than with smores over a fire pit. But you don’t need to spring for a contractor to put one in – with one trip to the home improvement store, you can have your own backyard campfire station in just a few minutes. If you need to get rid of rocks from another project, building a fire pit with them is a great way to do it.

Here are a few affordable ideas to make your own DIY fire pit on a budget:

Fire Pit Ideas on a Budget

  • Concrete retaining wall blocks – about $1.25 per block, total cost of $50
  • Cinder block caps – about $1.50 per block, total cost of $40
  • Concrete fire bowl – about $3 for one bag of concrete, $56 total
  • Dirt floor fire ring – free, if using natural stones from your own woods

8. Plant a Tree

Planting trees is one of the easiest – and least expensive – backyard budget landscaping projects of all. All you need are a few digging tools, some mulch and the tree. Plus, having well-planned trees in your yard can end up saving you money in the long run, according to Steve Boehme of GoodSeed Farm Landscapes:

“Planting shade trees is a common-sense solution that will save you money and make you more comfortable. Trees are simply a wise investment in future comfort and energy savings. Just take a minute and sit under one on a ninety-degree day and you’ll understand this perfectly.”

Steve Boehme | GoodSeed Farm Landscapes

9. Use Affordable Lighting

Cheap outdoor string lights are a staple of budget backyard landscaping. Their soft, ambient glow can turn any patio into a chill summer hangout. White twinkle lights cost about $6 per strand, or for a more modern look, you can pick up a strand of clear globe lights for around $9. Though slightly more expensive, globe light strands are usually more durable than twinkle lights, and the bulbs are easily replaced. Once you’ve picked up affordable bulbs, try out these budget-friendly landscape lighting ideas:

Cheap Backyard Lighting Ideas

  • Wrap strands around outdoor pillars to create columns of light.
  • Run lights from house to tree using an eye bolt and an insulated cable to tie on a branch.
  • Create Texas lamp posts using wood posts, whiskey barrel planters and a little concrete.
  • Edge your flowerbeds with rope lights so you can see your hard-earned blooms even at night.
  • Drape your trees in lights for a charming, glowing backyard grove.

10. Buy (or Build) Low-Cost Seating

Once you’ve finished your backyard budget landscaping projects, you’ll want a place to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. But no need to run to the furniture store – you can easily search for used pieces online or make your own cheap outdoor seating right at home.

Cheap Outdoor Seating Ideas

  • Search Craigslist or Letgo for used patio seating. Check the “Free Stuff” sections often and be prepared to move quickly – good items will go fast.
  • Don’t limit your searches to outdoor furniture; with a little waterproof sealant, you can turn regular indoor chairs or barstools into patio-worthy seating.
  • Not finding anything you like? Make your own cinder block and lumber bench.
  • Turn a tree stump into the perfect reading spot by attaching a waterproof cushion on top.
  • Use a leftover tire to create a durable seat with storage for kids.
  • Fix weatherproof cushions to milk crates for portable seating that can be easily stored.
  • When all else fails, drag a few old logs around your new fire pit for easy campfire seating.

Reuse and Recycle to Reduce Costs

The best backyard budget landscaping tip of all is to reuse and recycle items whenever possible. Visit your local thrift stores and check the classifieds online to find local garage sales. By purchasing used planters, furniture and even gardening tools to spruce up your lawn, you can save hundreds of dollars, and keep some really nice items out of the trash. Ultimately, to keep your backyard landscaping costs low, all you need is time and a little creativity.

Budget Dumpster’s Home Project Guides offer resources from budgeting for a kitchen remodel, decluttering your home or even framing a wall. Have a few of your own backyard ideas on a budget? Share them in the comments below!

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