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Create Your Own Backyard Haven with Landscaping

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/24/2006 | Home Improvement
One of the things that many times stops home owners from attempting to take on their own landscaping project is fear. Look through the books on landscaping and read some of the suggestions and it can scare a person to death.

Fear not! You definitely need to read up and look at pictures before you begin a project, but remember; this is your backyard and you are free to do with it what you want.

The main thing to be concerned with when planting different plants is to make certain of their growing requirements. Do they require a lot of sunlight, a mix of sun and shade, or mostly shade? Other than that, let's get started.

The biggest and most dramatic feature you can add to your backyard is a pond. Put in a waterfall and enjoy the relaxing sounds of water while you sip lemonade and read a good book.

If a pond is in your plans, do this first. It will be the focal point and you can begin your plantings later.

A pond is not hard to build. Plan your layout and get some white spray paint or chalk and layout your design. You can use one of the plastic pre-shaped pond kits if you like, but you can never really get the natural look that you can with a liner.

The hardest part will be digging. The tedious part may be laying out the liner to try to remove most of the wrinkles. The fun part will be filling the pond with water and, later, stocking the pond with fish.

Put in some water lilies and, if that's the only thing you get done the first year, who cares?! This will be dramatic and will definitely bring you lots of relaxation as well as pride. Plant it near where you spend most of your time. Don't hide it away at the back of your yard.

When the pond is finished, pick areas around your yard and plan the location of your plants. Notice the sunshine at different times of the day. That's what will determine the location of your plants in each area.

Unless you have a lot of time and money, you probably won't be able to plant your entire backyard in one season. Start with one area and till it up. Plant a few plants and space them out somewhat. This will give you a chance to mix in some plants next year. You can see what the plants look like and decide if you need more color or some hostas or some more of the same plants. Next year, you can add or subtract plantings as needed.

One more important point. Plant short plants in front and taller plants in the back.

Start with a few sections now or one section and add more each year. You'll be amazed what you can accomplish in four or five years without breaking the bank. You'll create a backyard haven made especially for you.