Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

The backyard is the last bastion of artistic expression on your property, and can create a bit of a private getaway. Often overlooked, this canvas can be brought to life, on  budget. So get creative, set your budget, and set come up with a great backyard landscaping idea to put into action

3 Backyard Landscaping Ideas

1. Japanese Garden

The characteristics of a Japanese garden are simple, clean lines accented with bold colors, most often with a dominant red. It’s been said that the Japanese garden is never done, it’s always a work in progress. The basic framework to get started consists of textures, colors, and foliage indigenous to Japan. These gardens work well on any scale, from using the entire yard to building a small Zen corner for a quiet retreat. Try bamboo hedging to accent a large tree or isolate your Japanese section. Bamboo may also be used to compliment an existing waterfall by replacing a traditional spigot with one made of a hollow bamboo shoot.
Garden foliage would not be complete without the bonsai tree, which comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. For bonsai beginners, the juniper species, in shades of green, is the easiest to shape and maintain. Juniper miniatures start and 4 inches and go up to the 18 inch Karate Kid species. For color accents, try some blossoming bonsai such as the flowering weeping Barbados cherry for hues of red and pink. For a darker colored Japanese plant, the acer not only adds color, but texture contrast to the bonsai with it’s light, feathery body in rich tones of burgundy and magenta. In addition to organic materials, Japanese gardens are characterized by water and bridges, which can be built on a large, functional scale, or miniatures in your Oriental corner. Adding lanterns and statuary bring your garden to life with your distinct personality.To develop your own game plan, try the how-to guide “Create Your Own Japanese Garden”, by Motomi Oguchi. The overall effect of this landscaping choice is a neat and tidy yard, rich with color and culture.

Learn about the Principles of Landscape Design

2. Desert Garden

Desert gardens, also known as Xeriscaping, are ideal for parched terrain in need of drought-friendly foliage. There are plenty of colorful shrubs and flowers that need little to no maintenance, bringing your space to life with breathtaking color. For sectioning a desert yard, try oleander which grows to 20 feet high. This plant makes a good hedge or divider, while adding a splash of color. Other vibrant choices include purple sage, which needs an occasional trim, but to keep the purple buds, trim your sage when it’s not in bloom. For yellow, orange and pink accents, lantana grows well in the desert. Another ideal choice is the fairy duster, a heat-friendly evergreen that grows at lightning speed and are a favorite for artistic gardeners to sculpt their own designs. For a low maintenance grassy-green look, try pampas grass to line your hedges or encircle a pool. Also, the bougainvillea is a great way to colorize a trellis or add a blooming vine to the fence.
Southwest garden statuary and decor adds that final touch to a desert oasis. For a whimsical flair, try some Kokopeli iron works to dance among the oleander. Native American pottery, sundials and wagon wheels refresh the garden with an Old West feel. And for complete instructions on caring for your desert garden, try the foremost authority book on the matter called Desert-Gardening.

3. Tropical Landscaping

For the island or jungle expression, look for wide, leafy leaves and palms, planting them close together for that lushly vegetated feel. Bamboo and lacquered wood add that special island expression and, of, course you’ll add the waterfalls.
To compliment your furniture, try hanging planters with plenty of frilly fronds. One backyard palm tree is sufficient and could be encircled with canne lilies, hibiscus, jasmine and henna, for that special tropical scent. Knowledge is power, and to jumpstart the learning process, The Tropical-Look Encyclopedia is a must read for anyone interested in tropical plants.

Don’t feel your backyard is big enough to be given serious consideration for a major landscaping project?

Check out our slideshow

28 Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas

a backyard with little grass, but lots of fancy stone work
a minimalist style tropical backyard
A narrow backyard, with design elements to make it feel spacious
Create an overgrown oasis in your backyard with a small arch covered in climbers
The water feature in this backyard adds a bit of tranquility to this small yard
The clean modern looking cement planter adds a crisp, clean look to this small backyard
This is an easy to build backyard feature of cinder blocks
by seperating the dining area to the back of the yard, it gives a sense of privacy while enjoying friends and food
A concrete seating area, offset by a bleached concrete patio
A tropical inspired backyard
This small backyard is broken up into different growing area to give it a more open feel
When doing a small backyard landscaping project, tie in different areas, like in this picture the matching furniture
A simple overgrown backyard style patio area, gives you some privacy
Using offset geometric patterns in an area will make it feel larger
Doing a feature like the long drawn out bench seat here, will elongate the area, making it feel larger
mixing patterns and substances will make your area feel larger and more spread apart
round out your patio, to add depth to the area
edge lighting will make your backyard seem more inviting
Keeping the middle open and doing raised beds along the edge, gives you a little plot of grass
Spreading your seating areas out to both sides of your yards, gives your yard little pockets of privacy
The walkpath is skirted along the edge, giving a geometric patterned layout to the yard, opening it up
Doing an arched entrance to your pocket oasis, gives it a sense of seclusion
Using containers to landscape, allows you to change up the design easily
THe lights in the tree compliment the edge lighting in the area, giving it a glow at night
The broken pavers give this backyard patio a larger feel
Do an overgrown back area, to give your yard a sense of depth
Using an overgrown area along the edges provides privacy from neighbors
The offset walk path gives the landscaping a more focalized point
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