5 Steps to Designing a Professionally-Designed Landscape on Your Own

Having some good hardscape in place, for one, can go a long way.

Working on your backyard—or your front yard, for that matter—is no easy feat. Just the idea of gardening can make any homeowner want to cover their ears and close their eyes, while the idea of landscaping creates a whole new level of terror.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

ESTATENVY poked around for some landscaping ideas, and here are five ways you can create a professional-looking landscape on your own.

Have a year-round plan

Who says a nice landscape is only doable when the weather is warm? You can have a nice landscape year-round if you plan ahead.

The Spruce, for one, recommends having a “well-researched plant-selection plan” for the year, stating that “The goal is to have flowering trees and/or shrubs throughout spring and summer, fall foliage in autumn and good structure in winter.” The Spruce even provides an extensive list of flowering trees you can have year-round.

Country Living recommends investing in a good stone to serve your landscaping needs: “Though it can be a pricey option, bluestone has a dense composition that makes it incredibly durable.”

You can even keep up with your landscaping in winter by making sure you have solid hardscaping game (think trellises and sculptures, for example) and evergreens, according to Better Homes & Gardens.

And if you’re on a bit of a budget

There are many ways you can get creative with your DIY landscaping if you’re on an especially tight budget.

Backyard Boss provides plenty of economical ideas to improve your landscape, including refurbishing items such as old bathtubs and tires and using them as planters, and converting your driveway or even your garage into a mini-garden paradise.

Backyard Boss notes that even just scaling up your existing outdoor space can go a long way: “Have a bunch of old pots? Repaint them and add some of your favorite herbs for a tiny potted herb garden. Have an old coffee table? Stain it or add some cut out tiles to create your own mosaic outdoor patio table.”

Give your side yard some razzle-dazzle

Just because your side yard or yards may not be used as frequently doesn’t mean they don’t also deserve some TLC. Plus, they’re a great way for guests of your backyard outdoor party to just skip that awkward “Do I ring the front doorbell?” moment and just go straight to your shindig.

The website for home improvement guru Bob Vila, for one, has many side yard ideas, including installing a welcoming entry gate and building a trash bin enclosure to help mask those eyesores.

“If your side yard is more like a path to your backyard than it is a space unto itself, embrace its function,” the Bob Vila website states. “Install a stepping-stone path to make this stretch of lawn easier to traverse, and to ease wear and tear on your turf.”

Let there be light

Lighting can go a long way in improving the overall look of your home’s surrounding landscape.

“Landscape lighting transforms the appearance and safety of your home at night,” the home improvement retailer Lowe’s states on their website.

Lowe’s also points to solar landscape lighting as a possibility, citing benefits such as being eco-friendly, requiring little maintenance and easy bulb replacement.

“With no wiring or electricity, these lights can be installed anywhere,” Lowe’s states. “They work by using a solar collection panel that absorbs energy from sunlight and converts it into electrical power that's stored in highly efficient rechargeable batteries. As the sun sets, the solar lights turn on. In ideal situations, fully charged solar lights remain on for up to 15 hours.”

The DIY Network points out that lighting placement is key and provides several lighting ideas, such as using outdoor LED tape to help with hardscape lighting and mixing styles of path lights to keep them from being too uniform.

And please don’t forget your front yard

Your backyard may be a prime spot for you and your family and friends to unwind and grill, but remember to also sprinkle your front yard with lots of love.

The DIY Network has many front yard words of wisdom: “It’s the first thing that you see driving up to your house, and you can wow guests before they even enter your home. Just remember that curb appeal is important, but no matter how pretty your landscape is, it needs to be functional.”

Flowers and other types of plants can go a long way in giving your front yard a nice boost.

“To create dynamic visual impact with little long-term commitment, try layering flowers and low-growing greenery in your front yard,” the website Curbly suggests, adding “Add drama by layering the height of your plants. Big in the back, small in the front.”