Planning Your Backyard Retreat

patio chair

When I first move into a home, whether it is an apartment or a single dwelling home, I really study the area that I want to recreate my backyard retreat. Sometimes you can just see it in your mind what you want to do with the space, but other times you can’t. When I can’t see it in my mind, I start by buying plants that I know I want in my retreat or something similar in size or shape, just to get an idea. I usually start with some bigger ones because I like privacy. I just set them around the patio or in the yard where I think I might like them. I don’t plant them in the ground yet because I really don’t know where I want them. Next I place some furniture or just a chair to see how it feels. Keep moving things around and adding more plants till you get the retreat you are looking for.
palm tree
So go to your local hardware store and see what plants they have. I like to start with a couple palm trees or something similar to that. They are usually tall and can provide some of the privacy that I like. I also like ferns. I have ferns every year, but not the ones that you plant in the ground. So pick out a couple of them too. Then I put some flowers under them for color. The people at Lowes usually look at me strange because I gather all these plants right there in their garden center and rearrange and play with them, just trying to get an idea. Now let me tell you right now, I don’t spend too much money at this point in the game. But I do know from experience that this does help me figure out what I really want in my backyard retreat. Once you are happy with what you have found at the hardware store, take it home and play with it.

Once you have what you want, now it is time to figure out what kind of plants you will actually put in the ground. The first year, I don’t plant anything in the ground until maybe the fall. I want my backyard retreat to come up each year without much work from me. So as the summer goes along I take notice of where the sun hits and what time there is full sun and full shade, if any. All of this will make a difference in what you plant in the ground. If you have mostly shade in your backyard, you will have to choose plants that are good in the shade or if it is a sunny backyard, you choose ones that like the sun. But you really won’t know that till you sit and watch your yard for one season.

So go buy some cheap plants and then go play in your backyard. Have fun with it!

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