5 key elements for planning your backyard

professional backyard planning diagram, quinju.com

If you are planning a backyard refresh or starting from scratch here are 5 key planning elements you should consider in your backyard plans.

Before you actually start your backyard project, creating a plan is key and quinju has a great free planning tool to help. There are many benefits to planning your home renovation projects with your free quinju account.

quinju makes it easy to collect and save your ideas and capture pictures and images wherever, whenever you find them. You can share your plans and ideas with others easily. You can even invite participants into your projects, a great way to bring in an expert when you need them. A free quinju account includes templates to help you with each step of your project. Its safe and secure and easy to access anywhere on your smart phone tablet or computer. It’s simply the easiest way you can manage your project and its all free. You can start a project and activate your account right now by clicking on the button below.

Some advice on planning

We all get excited about starting new projects around our homes. Just like many others I have jumped into home renovations before and then quickly realized I should have done this or that first. Now I’m a little wiser and have a more measure approach. Now my projects always start with the project plan. It might be as simple as painting the fence, but it still needs a plan. Deciding what color, will you use paint or stain, do have the right tools, timing and the weather. These are all simple elements but all part of the plan. We have an earlier article on backyard design that can hep you with this process.

5 key planning elements for your backyard design plan

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1 - strutures

Naturally your backyard plan is tied to shape and position of the main house on your lot. You may also have existing decks, patios or storage sheds to consider also. If your starting from scratch you will want to factor these other elements into you design plan at this point. Many people seem to run out of storage space in their garages. A garden shed is a great place to store out of season items. We have some great ideas on garden sheds in this article.

2 - Flow

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Its time to consider all of the things you like to do in your yard and incorporate them into your overall plan. The flow element refers to how all of these areas fit together and you move between them.  For example, will your yard include recreation or play areas, a pool or hot tub? Perhaps an outdoor kitchen and dining area?  Will you incorporate a garden or a fireplace for those cool autumn nights? Whatever your ideas It’s a good idea to consider if these elements will be separated from one another or how they will be connected. By incorporating pathways, or separating with shrubs, trellis, screens and hard-scape items like fountains you can create distinctive areas. The flow and transition from one area of your yard by pathways can draw all of these elements together and separate at the same time creating a unique room by room feel.

3 - light

The position of the house on the property will dictate the sunlight exposures you get in your backyard. But it’s important to note the suns position at the various times of the day and plan accordingly. You may want your pool or lounging areas in the sunny part of the yard and the dining area in a more shaded and private area. These are of course your personal preferences but its better to make note of this now and factor it into your design considerations.

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Besides natural light sources, you should also consider what areas of the yard you would want to light in the evenings. Adding walkway lights and feature lights throughout the yard can create a dramatic effect. Lighting will also extend the hours of your enjoyment of the yard.  There are various options in exterior lighting. Low voltage lighting is easier to install as your creating your backyard oasis but can also be added to an existing space with a little creative thinking. Today’s solar products with LED lighting are another option and work very well, are attractive and easy to install. We cover this aspect in addition detail in our article on outdoor lighting here.

4- plant life

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This is a critical element to make your backyard space a truly relaxing and enjoyable area in all seasons. The biggest item in this element are of course trees. They can provide shade, act as a wind or privacy screen and add vibrant color and definition to your yard. For the best results you should use trees that are common in your area and will survive the hardiness zone where you live. Lets fact it, not everyone can have citrus trees in their yards! Next, you should consider shrubs or ornamental grasses. These can act as room dividers as well as ornamental touches of color.

Many suburban yards are fenced in and sometimes you do not get much say in what that fence looks like. A great way to turn these sometimes-unsightly barriers into a living wall is to plant vines that will cover them over and add more color and interest in the yard. Flowers and other plant life provide endless opportunities to be added throughout the yard with the use of containers as well as in the beds of trees and shrubs.

5 - colors

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This particular element will allow you to be as creative as you like. But before you decide on the color of the plants you should consider the whole space and its current elements. For example, the color of the house and hard-scape components like planters or retaining walls. Then move on to the trees and the color of the canopy or if you have distinctive colors in evergreens in your yard. If you have your yard divided into dedicated use spaces or rooms, consider the elements in each of these areas. Here is an example of how plant life can define the whole character of your back yard.

It’s your yard – make it enjoyable for you and your family! Be as creative as you like and have fun. Remember that quinju has all the tools you need to create and manage all your home renovation projects. Indoors or out, your free quinju account will help guide you through the process.


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