With spring rapidly approaching, it’s time to think about enjoying your backyard in warmer weather.

Do you like to spend time outside in the spring and summer? If so, by setting up your backyard the right way, you’ll have an excellent space to enjoy time with friends and family outdoors. 

If you’re looking to make some changes to your backyard space, then there are some options you can try by yourself. If you’re the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) type, then you’ve come to the right place for some pointers.

Read on to discover how you can make your backyard the beautiful space you want it to be. When those spring afternoons and summer evenings come around, you’ll be thankful for such a lovely space to spend time with the people you care about.

Beautiful Backyard Ideas You Can Definitely Do For Yourself

Take a moment to really imagine what you want your outdoor space to look like. Try to think about what it should feel like, too. 

Here are three important categories to consider before you get started drafting plans:

  1. Function: what do you currently use your backyard for, and what would you ideally use it for?
  2. Beauty: what does your ideal backyard look like? What colors and materials would you like to see?
  3. Feel: what vibe are you looking to achieve? Think about how function and beauty combine to create the energy or feel you’re looking to achieve.

Build Your Stone Pathway

Most often, backyards have grass. If you want that grass to stay well-maintained, then you’re going to need some pathways. 

Stone pathways are a great option. They’re easy enough to install without professional help, and they protect your grass. Install pathways where people walk most, that way you’ll ensure you really are protecting your grass. If you put a pathway where someone is unlikely to walk, then they’re unlikely to take it. They’ll just cut across the grass, as people tend to do. 

Instead, to decide where to lay your path, identify the different spaces in your yard. Then consider how people would move from one spot to another. If there isn’t a path between two high-traffic areas, then that’s a place to put a path.

There are plenty of materials to choose from that look like stone, or you can use real stone. a durable material like this will be your best choice, so that you don’t have to spend much time maintaining or replacing the pathway.

Maintain 5.5 feet Wide Pathways

Maintain 5.5-Foot-Wide Pathways

Ideally, one person should be allotted a minimum of two feet of width to pass down a path. So if you want two people to be able to use a path at the same time, then opt for at least four-foot-wide pathways. 

Since backyards are used for socialization, we recommend opting for 5.5-foot-wide paths. That way, two people can pass each other on the path without bumping shoulders. 

Choose Plants with Colorful Foliage

Flowers add bright pops of color to your landscape, but you can also rely on plants with colorful foliage. That way, you’ll have beautiful colors in your yard even when your flowers aren’t in bloom.

Here are some options we love for colorful foliage year round:

  • Coleus, whose textured leaves can range in colors that include reds, pinks, yellows, burgundies and even more.
  • Coral Bells, whose leaves grow low to the ground and offer colors such as orange, red and gold on their speckled and splotchy leaves.
  • Smoke Tree, whose oval leaves are reddish-purple.
  • Dusty Miller, whose white-silver leaves offer a complement to whatever other colors you have in your yard.

No matter your backyard goals, there are plenty of colorful options other than flowers that you can add. But definitely don’t skip the flowers!

If you’re having a hard time choosing a color scheme and finding the plants that fit, we’re here to help. Our expert team at Exscape Designs can figure out the right way to achieve your visions–colors included!

Contact us today to get started!

Include Outdoor Lighting

Don’t end your BBQ at sunset.

Since summer nights tend to be warm and festive, outdoor lighting is a must-have. Think about how many hours of enjoyment you’ll be able to add by extending the space’s use beyond sunset. 

And even if you don’t host dinners, gatherings or parties, you’ll benefit from the lighting just for yourself. 

Imagine sitting outside on a warm evening, listening to the sounds of the summer night. Whether you’re reading or sipping on a cold cocktail, you’ll appreciate the lighting. 

Illuminate pathways and high-traffic areas for safety. Also brightly light where the level or pitch of the walking surface changes, such as the edge of your patio or any stairs. 

It also looks nice to highlight your structures, flower beds and more with spotlights. Anything you want people to notice, you should light. 

And if you want to set a relaxing mood, we recommend string lights or hanging lights.

Don’t Exceed 6 Inches on Rise of Steps

When steps are more than 6 inches tall, it can be difficult for people to use them safely.

The rise of the step is how tall it is, and the run of the step is how long it is. 

There are many considerations that go into determining ideal rise and run for steps. For your backyard, we recommend keeping steps shorter than 6 inches tall.

It’s important to keep yourself and your guests safe, so don’t neglect this step.

Place Your Shady Spots Strategically

Place Your Shady Spots Strategically

Where does your shade fall? And at what time of day?

Depending on how you use your space, and at what time of day, you’ll want to design your shade to work for your needs.

Ideally, when the sun is at its highest, you’ll want your most-used spaces to be shaded. Check to see where the bright spots are at what time of day, and act accordingly.

Make sure the sun falls on the plants that need it. And make sure the sun doesn’t fall too strongly where people will be when it’s hot out. To maximize the amount of time and enjoyment you get out of your backyard, this needs to be carefully planned. 

Otherwise, you might find yourself getting sunburned while your plants are stuck in the shade, craving that sunlight.

Focus on a Relaxing Environment

Even if you’re looking to host people in your backyard, aim for a relaxing environment.

We find that most people are looking for their yard to have this relaxed feel, so make the rest of your choices to fulfill this end. You’ll thank us when you have a nice place to take a load off after a long day at work. 

What sounds better than relaxing in your backyard to the sound of a fountain and some birds chirping in the late afternoon? You can still use that space to host plenty of parties, if you want, but it’s harder to turn a party space into a relaxing environment. 

Additional Options You Can Add To Your Backyard

Now that we’ve gone over the main considerations to design a beautiful backyard on your own, let’s identify some specific features you can add. One of these choices might be the missing piece for your backyard makeover.

Build a Pergola

Once you’ve chosen a spot where you’d like some shade, opt for a pergola. In the summer, this will be a great space to spend time when the sun is highest and hottest. Don’t run inside to escape the heat. Build a pergola to sit under, instead!

Create a Trellis

Trellis are a good DIY project to try. They aren’t overly complicated to plan or construct with some basic tools.

Place planters at the base of each side with anything that will climb as it grows. Sit back and watch them grow up the sides of the trellis, creating a natural-looking archway to add some charm to your backyard.

Vertical Garden

There are options other than trellises for vertical gardening. Instead of having the plants literally climb up while they grow, you can plant them at different heights to achieve a vertical look.

Create a vertical garden to save horizontal space and add some whimsy to your yard. Picture a bookshelf or a ladder, but instead of shelves or rungs, there are planters secured all the way up. 

Tree Benches

Looking for a nicely shaded spot to read? Try a tree bench!

Tree benches are built to wrap around the trunk of a tree. Choose a big tree for one of these benches to encircle. It’ll offer space for a few people to sit and lean up against the trunk, and it’s a good way to connect the natural landscape to what you build.

A Fireplace


If it gets chilly at night, you can turn on your gas fireplace. It’ll look nice, and they can really give off some good heat to keep you from shivering while you look at the stars. 

You could also opt for a fire pit, especially if you’re looking to use your backyard in the cold seasons. A sunny winter afternoon outside around a fire pit sounds awfully nice, too, while you wait for the spring and summer to arrive.

You might be able to add some of these features to your space by yourself, but if you’re looking for help, then look no further. 

At Exscape Designs, our site engineers will design your space to fulfill your vision, and then our crew will go to work turning it into a reality. You don’t have to get your hands dirty to build the backyard of your dreams. We can do it for you!

Contact us to get started–and do it now, so that you can enjoy the warm weather as soon as it arrives.


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