How To Transform Your Yard Into A Paradise

Is your backyard a peaceful oasis? Or, is it a place you rarely even notice? A landscaped back yard can add additional living space to your property as well as be a peaceful retreat and stylish place to entertain guests. You don’t have to embark on an elaborate and expensive landscaping project. Just adding one or two of the following features can help transform your boring backyard into a place you’ll want to spend lots of time.

1. Plants and Flowers: Plants and flowers are an inexpensive way to brighten up your backyard. Plus, few activities are as relaxing and gratifying as digging in the dirt and watching things grow. If you’re new to gardening, mix in a few annuals for instant color with perennial plants that will reappear in your garden year after year. Be sure to choose plants that are hardy in your USDA growing zone and remember to place shade plants in shade and sun-loving plants where they get at least a half day’s sunshine.

2. Fire pits: Adding a fire pit is another way to turn your backyard into a place to entertain friends and family. Sitting around a fire pit on a cool summer evening or fall afternoon evokes pleasant memories of sitting around a campfire as a kid. You can use a fire pit for warmth or to cook simple foods like marshmallows or hot dogs.

3. Patios: A patio or deck gives you a defined backyard space for sipping your morning coffee or hosting a family cook-out.  It also helps keep guests away from your tender landscaping plants. Patios can be a modest as a poured concrete slab or as intricate as a sprawling, wooden enclosure with built-in storage, seating and light fixtures.

4. Outdoor Kitchens: If you live in an area that gets at least six months of warm weather, an outdoor kitchen makes a great addition to your indoor cooking space. These outdoor entertainment areas can be as simple or an elaborate as you’d like, and often include a grill area, a built-in refrigerator, counter space and an eating counter with stools.  You’re really only limited by your imagination.

5. Water features: The sound of trickling or rushing water is calming, and sitting near fountains, ponds or backyard waterfalls are a great way to relax after a stressful day. You don’t need a huge area to have a water feature. You can even create a bubbling pond with a barrel and a solar-powered pump.

What are your favorite backyard features? What do you think of backyard waterfalls? Do you have one in your landscape? Share your backyard landscaping tips with readers by leaving a comment below.

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Heather Beleno is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites.