4 trendy landscaping tips to improve your backyard
‘If you can’t get out of the city, at least you can create backyard tranquility’: landscaping expert
This piece was originally published on May 30, 2020.
With warmer weather in full swing (and the pandemic still limiting your activity options), landscaping is the perfect spring/summer project to help you enjoy the sunshine safely at home.
"I think a lot of people are sitting at home and looking at their backyard, thinking how it could be improved," said Kristi Liske of Regina's Classic Landscape Company. "If you can't get out of the city, at least you can create backyard tranquility."
Michael Blain, of YXE Landscaping in Saskatoon, suggests scrolling through Pinterest or picking up landscaping catalogues from a local centre for inspiration.
"Spend time planning and designing what you want to do," he said. "It does take time, but it's worth it because it will flow nicely in the end and won't look ad hoc."
Here, the two share the season's most popular landscaping trends to help bring some inspiration to your yard.
1. Use xeriscaping to save you money and stress
Xeriscaping is a landscaping process that utilizes native plants that typically thrive in the given climate. It reduces the amount of irrigation needed by relying on what nature provides.
"People are turning to xeriscaping to help reduce costs and stress," Liske said. "You can use different types of rock to create a nice curb appeal and then use plants to break up the hard look of the rock."
Blain notes that xeriscaping works in tandem with a ground cover that typically flows with the scheme of the house. To get started, he said to check out what plants work best for your yard.
"If you have a shady yard or a south-facing yard, visit a garden centre or do some research online for what plants will work," he said, noting that you can start by paying attention to where the sun falls on your property.
2. It's OK to fake it
"We have seen an increase over the years in the demand for artificial turf," Blain said. "In the grand scheme of lawn maintenance expenses, investing more upfront in artificial turf will pay for itself in money and time."
Artificial turf is the perfect solution to a low maintenance yard that doesn't sacrifice the colour of a green lawn. Liske said that artificial turf looks and feels similar to real grass, without having to face yellow, dead grass in the off-seasons.
"If it's installed properly, you can essentially have a perfect lawn with no effort outside of the initial investment," Blain said.
3. Install a firepit
"I'm seeing patios and firepits starting to come back," Liske said. "Without being able to travel and the camping season being harder to book this year, many people are turning to creating their own. A nice patio with a firepit is a great start to creating that camping feel."
If you decide to go the route of doing a patio or firepit yourself, many manufacturers have resources on their websites on how to install their products and materials.
"You can also check out local landscape centres for rental options. Many places will rent tools needed for installation," Blain said.
When choosing materials, Blain said you want to go for high-quality products to maximize the longevity of your work. It's also possible to find items like brick or paving stones on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace at budget-friendly prices.
"Research the product first, though," Liske warned. "The cheapest type of brick isn't always the best. You can also save money on delivery by picking up any materials yourself."
4. Upcycle old items
Being innovative with what you already have on hand can save money and give old items new life.
Try lining a flower bed with rocks or stones, upcycle lumber to create benches for a firepit, or repaint old pots, tins or containers to use as flower pots and planters.
"I had a customer who used old tires to make flower beds," Blain said. "You can find things to reuse on the secondary market, too. Be creative with what you have at your disposal."