Landscaping: Simple Ways to Transform Your Outdoor Space

The possibilities with landscaping are pretty endless.

Imagine a sanctuary of flowers, trees and shrubs just beyond your doorstep, an oasis tailored to your every whim, flourishing and serene.

Or imagine a yard full of the hardscape elements you love that requires zero lawn care.

Homeowners have a lot of options when it comes to their yards. But most of us want our outdoor space to reflect our tastes, enhance the value of our property and actually get used.

Landscaping and hardscaping provide that avenue – and transforming your space begins here. So let’s take a look at the three steps you need to take to turn your yard into the best part of your home.

Step 1: Make It Usable

First things first…how do you want to use your space? Are you envisioning parties in the backyard with hot dogs, hamburgers and a pool? Are you looking for a cozy spot to relax and read a book? Are you starting your own vegetable garden or exercising your green thumb?

These questions have to be considered before going through the design or construction phases. And many yards end up as mixed-use spaces so that they can be enjoyed in different seasons and for different reasons.

Here are a few common ways that yards can be used…

Cook and Eat

Let’s start with one of the biggest items on many homeowner’s wish lists: an outdoor kitchen.

Cooking outdoors is popular for many reasons including connecting with nature, socializing or just getting some fresh air. Outdoor cooking can also lead to more creative dishes by being able to use grills, smokers, wood-fired pizza ovens and more.

Some of these options can be rather expensive like building an outdoor barbecue with a mini-fridge or wine fridge. This can also be done for almost no money by using a portable grill and bringing some of your kitchen items outside. No matter your budget, cooking outdoors is both possible and awesome.

Eating outside can be just as great.

Whether your food was cooked inside or outside your home, there’s just something special about sharing a meal outside. Of course you’ll need some sort of table-and-chairs set up. And maybe an overhead cover. And maybe some lighting.

You don’t have to get crazy with the set up though. No matter how you do it, we highly encourage you to find someone to eat with and share that meal together outside. Chances are you’ll love it.


Some people take one look at their backyard and see a party waiting to happen. They can see where the pool should go. And the outdoor bar. And the fire pit.

These people might also want to put in some lighting and a sound system. Maybe also a fountain both for the ambience and aesthetic.

Or maybe you need a wall for throwing darts (or axes?). Or maybe just a long open stretch to play cornhole. Or maybe an open bit of concrete to play ping pong or other types of pong. Or maybe…

You get the idea. Backyard parties are usually a blast and there are a lot of ways to set up your space to entertain like a champ.


There are many homeowners, however, who are just looking for a place to get away from the world and relax. Hammocks, porch swings or other comfy seats could be part of the puzzle. We’d recommend setting up some shade and looking into pest control too (mosquitoes are the absolute worst!).

Or maybe your idea of relaxing includes doing simple work with your hands like gardening or taking care of animals. Back yards and front yards are obvious places to do some planting, pruning, painting or whatever you might be in the mood for.

And of course, most yards are set up to serve multiple purposes. The point is to think about how you want to use the space before doing anything else.

If you’re ready to start turning your ideas into reality, please let us know how we can help!

Step 2: Make It Appealing

Now that you have a broad understanding of how you want to use your outdoor space, it’s time to start figuring out the details. There are a ton of options to consider and we’ll cover a few of the big ones below.

Choose Your Surfaces

Odds are that you already have a clear idea of what you’d like for the surfaces in your backyard. Some people want their yards to be full of grass and plants wherever possible. Other people want us much concrete as they can get away with so they don’t have to bother with sodding, fertilization, etc.

When selecting a surface, consider the balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. For high-traffic areas, sturdy materials like concrete or pavers are practical and withstand wear. Meanwhile, grass introduces natural beauty, absorbing heat and contributing to a cooler environment but requires consistent care.

For those seeking a low maintenance solution, synthetic turf may be the optimal choice—offering the appearance of grass with minimal upkeep. I personally think synthetic grass options, even the good ones, look tacky. But we offer artificial turf because many of our wonderful customers like it. Make your yard your own!

Expanding the palette, mixing different materials such as gravel with flagstones or interspersing pavers with creeping groundcovers can create captivating patterns and textures. These combinations not only enhance the visual appeal but also serve functional purposes, like directing foot traffic or facilitating drainage, ultimately enriching your outdoor experience.

Add Accents

Strategic placement of trees can offer both beauty and shade, creating a serene and inviting outdoor atmosphere. Accent walls and patios define spaces, providing structure to your landscape design.

Incorporate fountains or fire pits as focal points that anchor your outdoor space. They provide ambiance and a reason to gather.

Design selections, such as the elegant rustle of ornamental grasses or the tranquil sound of water from a fountain, contribute to a sensory-rich atmosphere that encourages relaxation. Sculptural elements like a sundial or birdbath add layers of interest to your garden tableau.

Combining functionality with aesthetic allure, an outdoor fire pit extends the usability of your space into the cooler months, ensuring a warm locale for socializing. Carefully chosen outdoor lighting accentuates these features, casting a captivating glow that transitions your landscape from day to night. Consider these accents as “jewelry” for your outdoor space, enhancing its allure and drawing the eye to its best features.

Dazzle With Details (flowers, lighting, nature mitigation, etc)

It’s crazy what a difference a few flowers can make.

The judicious placement of flowers can alter the mood and aesthetic of a garden significantly. By using a harmonious palette of perennials and annuals, you can create a tapestry of color that evolves with the seasons. Strategically, blooms do more than pleasing the eye; they also play a role in nature mitigation by attracting pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden.

Highlight your landscape with subtle lighting.

Outdoor lighting is a multifaceted tool – it not only extends the use of your space into the evening hours but also creates an enchanting ambiance. By employing different lighting techniques, such as uplighting for trees or soft path lighting, you can highlight the architectural features of your landscape, simultaneously improving safety and security.

Create a symphony of nature with mitigation strategies.

As we craft landscapes that complement our lifestyles, providing solutions for nature mitigation becomes imperative. Employing strategies like deer-resistant plantings, proper drainage systems, and barriers against erosion can nurture a harmonious relationship between your cultivated space and the natural ecosystem it interfaces with. The best landscapes thrive in 2023 brimming with life while simultaneously controlling the more unwelcome aspects of nature.

Step 3: Make It Happen

This is the fun part. Especially for people like us who love working outdoors.

Now where do you go for help making it happen?

If only there was a great local contractor who would love to help

Get Costs and Ideas From Pros

Before getting too far down the road, it’s important to get an idea for how much your project will cost. We’ve given plenty of estimates over the years and typically get one of three responses:

  1. Wow, that’s way more than I thought it would be!
  2. That’s pretty much what I thought it would be.
  3. Wow, that’s way less than I thought it would be!

Our pricing doesn’t change from project to project but our customers’ expectations sure do. This is why we like to talk options and costs as early as possible. This helps both of us have a really good idea of what fits within our customers’ budgets.

As we’ve discussed throughout this post so far, there are plenty of options with landscaping and hardscaping. Some of them are pretty expensive. Others aren’t very expensive at all. We’d love to help you get a real idea for what your project might cost but you can also take a look at our ever-changing pricing page for a reference.

Figure Out What You Can DIY

There are some projects that you can absolutely handle on your own. DIY can be very rewarding and usually increases your overall satisfaction with the process. There are also some projects that are best left to professionals.

Consider starting with cosmetic improvements, such as planting flower beds, installing simple edging, or refreshing mulch. These changes can make a pronounced impact without the necessity of professional intervention, tools, or expertise.

For larger projects like patios or retaining walls, determine your proficiency and comfort level with more complex tasks. If these ventures seem too daunting, reserve them for landscapers, hardscapers or all-around awesome contractors like us.

Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

When it comes to landscaping, having a well-thought-out plan is crucial for achieving the desired results. Whether you’re looking to enhance your outdoor space or completely transform it, proper planning is the key to success. In this article, we will explore the importance of planning your landscaping project and how to effectively execute your plan.

The Importance of Planning

Planning is the foundation of any successful landscaping project. It allows you to visualize the end result and ensures that all aspects of the project are considered. Here are a few reasons why planning is essential:

  1. Maximizing Space: A well-planned landscaping design takes into account the available space and optimizes it to its fullest potential. By carefully considering the layout, you can create functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor areas.
  2. Budgeting: Planning helps you determine the costs involved in your landscaping project. By setting a budget and sticking to it, you can avoid overspending and make informed decisions about the materials and services you need.
  3. Time Management: A detailed plan allows you to allocate time for each phase of the project. This helps you stay organized and ensures that the work progresses smoothly and efficiently.

Steps to Effective Execution

Once you have a solid plan in place, it’s time to put it into action. Here are some steps to help you effectively execute your landscaping project:

  1. Prepare the Site: Clear the area of any debris, rocks, or unwanted vegetation. Level the ground if necessary and address any drainage issues.
  2. Choose the Right Plants: Select plants that are suitable for your climate, soil type, and desired aesthetic. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, water requirements, and maintenance needs.
  3. Hardscaping Elements: Incorporate hardscaping elements such as pathways, patios, or retaining walls to add structure and functionality to your outdoor space. Choose materials that complement your overall design.
  4. Planting and Installation: Follow the planting guidelines for each type of plant and ensure proper spacing. Install any irrigation systems or lighting fixtures as needed.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Once your landscaping project is complete, regular maintenance is essential to keep it looking its best. This includes watering, pruning, fertilizing, and addressing any pest or disease issues.


In conclusion, planning your work and working your plan is crucial for successful landscaping projects. By taking the time to carefully plan and execute your ideas, you can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and functional area that you can enjoy for years to come. Remember to consider your budget, maximize the use of space, and choose the right plants and materials. With proper planning and execution, your landscaping project will be a true reflection of your vision and creativity.