Guide in Planning your Backyard/Garden

Guide in Planning your Backyard/Garden

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Published by TOP4 Team

The aim of many backyard designers is to bring the tranquility of the garden into home.

The best way to start planning your backyard is to assess what you have. Consider your block, as if for the first time, and look at its qualities and defects. In which directions does your land slope? Do trees give you privacy but restrict winter sun? Which parts of your backyard are exposed to cold winds or the extremes of summer sun?

These considerations, as well as your lifestyle, will affect the way you shape your ideal backyard. You may be planning a number of features: entertaining areas, a variety of different garden areas, paths, a shade patio, a courtyard and pergola or a pool. As you look at ways to integrate your house with features, issues such as sun, shade, privacy, the qualities of your block and its aspect will be important.

In most cases you can use the characteristics of your backyard to great effect to meet your needs. However, sometimes, you may have to consider major works such as excavating, building retaining walls, adding drainage and removing trees.

As you sketch your plans, keep in mind all your possible needs. Have you planned special areas for all members of your family, including children? Have you considered the positioning of trees and shrubs to allow for their growth?

Although every family has its own special needs to consider when designing features for the backyard, there are some aspects that are commonly encountered and which can pose problems. These aspects need to be given a bit of thought like the garden is not spacious enough for the whole family, making the most limited space can present quite a challenge. Just keep your garden simple, simplicity is beauty.

Finally, create a realistic timetable and spread the workload over an extended period, perhaps years rather than months if it is an ambitious project. In this way you are more likely to enjoy living in your backyard as you complete the process.

Design and planning checklist:

You need to consider:

  • Summer shade, winter sun

  • Windbreaks

  • Blocking undesirable views, privacy

  • Drying the washing, compost heaps, storage for garden equipment and furniture

  • Level changes, steps and/or retaining walls, pavements and lawn levels

  • Lighting

  • Drainage

  • Easements, overhead lines, drains and/or sewers

  • The width of paths, gates and steps, the size of pavings and patios, the shape of lawns and the ease of mowing

  • Security, especially for swimming pools

  • Space for children’s games, herbs, vegetables or other special garden projects

  • Access for the car

  • Access to the garden during construction and afterwards

  • Comfortable access to the house

  • Can you/do you need to build the garden in stages?

  • Have you allowed enough space for planning, so that plants won’t outgrow themselves and need constant cutting back?

  • Do you need council approval for fences, structure and pools and for planting on the street?


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