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Backyard Bliss: Tips for Creating a Backyard Wonderland

At the end of a long day, during the dog days of summer, on a wind-down weekend, or any other time that you want a little bliss in your life, your backyard can be your own private sanctuary from the world. If yours is looking a little bit more like an impenetrable jungle or an arid desert these days, here are a few tips to help you clear away the shrubs and create a perfect little paradise.

Nice BackyardGet Inspired

Not sure where to start? Give your brain something to work with and find some inspiration. Pinterest, home improvement and gardening magazines, and friends and family are all great starting points. Do you have a favorite flower or color? Do you like a lot of foliage, or do you dream of an outdoor kitchen and entertainment center? Close your eyes and imagine environments that relax you. It’s also important to understand exactly what will work with your personality, time, and budget. Do you have a green thumb or would you rather ‘set it and forget it’? Do you want a vegetable garden or an entertainment space? Or both? Begin by writing things down, taking pictures, pinning images, and exploring magazines to find your own inspiration. Keep all of this inspiration together in a bookmark folder on your desktop or a notebook.

Build a Budget

Sit down and take a look at your budget. A lot of what you build will depend on what you want to spend. But remember a backyard makeover doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a little elbow grease and some advisement from a local home remodeler you can get an understanding of what your ideal backyard oasis will cost. However you decide you want your paradise to look, there is a way to get there within your personal budget. If you need help, reach out to local experts that understand your climate and lifestyle and can suggest the best way to get the most for your money.

Create Your Space

Stand in your backyard and image what it might look like with the addition of new elements:

  • Porches and Partitioning – Simply sectioning off different areas of your backyard can work wonders for your space. Consider adding a porch for entertaining and relaxing, and then partition off areas for children to play or for you to build that perfect garden.
  • Pools, Fountains, and Trees – Water elements can add an amazing spa-like feel, and shade trees can give you a spot to sit under, read, and relax. Consider some fruit trees for added functionality.
  • Xeriscaping and Paving – If you’re not interested in spending too much time on maintenance, you may want to consider xeriscaping, or even paving some of the space to create a no-fuss entertainment area. With either option, you’re choosing a water-wise backyard setup.

Don’t be afraid to get out some paper and draw your ideas out. Measure your yard and create a proportional drawing based on the measurements. Simply sketch out a few ideas and let your imagination lead the way!

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Gregg Cantor, a third generation contractor and owner of Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel has successfully remodeled thousands of homes in San Diego County. Gregg's is experienced in all phases of construction and home remodeling including design development, project management, best building practices, code requirements, and contract law. He also writes articles for examiner.com and is co-host of The Home Pro Show Saturday's at 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on A.M.600 KOGO San Diego. Follow Gregg's posts.

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