Last summer, you said you wanted to give your backyard a makeover. Maybe exciting ideas popped in your head all winter long. Well, now it is time to get started! Sure, it will be a lot of work, and you will probably need to devote at least a full weekend to the project, but then you get the pleasure of showing it off all summer.

Grab a Pen and Paper

You need a plan. Yes, even if you have a vision, you need to draw it out. When you put it on paper to analyze, you may see a flaw with your plan. Be as detailed as you can be, including walkways, trees, and anything you don’t intend on moving. This will also help you see if your plans are going to block the view from any interior windows.

Activities and Lifestyle

To truly love your makeover it needs to work well with your lifestyle and activities that take place back there. If you have a couple dogs that love to dig and are sure to trample flower beds, stick with raised gardens and planters. If your kids spend a lot of time playing in the yard make sure there is plenty of green space. Do you always run out of room and feel cramped when you have friends over? Maybe it is time to expand the deck and build bench seating around the perimeter.

Don’t Break the Rules

If you are installing a fence, pond, pool, etc. make sure your plans don’t violate any local codes. You might even need a permit. If you are hiring a contractor, they will likely handle obtaining the permit, but you will need to get it if you are handling it yourself.

Create a Focal Point

Similar to the inside of your home, your outdoor living space also needs a focal point. Cast stone water features are ideal. They are durable and come in every design and size imaginable. Plus, the cascading water will give your backyard a resort-like feel. You don’t have to stick to only one though. There is no such thing as having too many cast stone water features.

Be Aware of Maintenance Requirements

Exotic plants and a koi pond may seem like good ideas, but are you prepared for the work involved to maintain these elements? Native plants are always ideal because they require the least amount of work. If you are planting trees, make sure you know how large they will be at maturity. When adding plants and flowers, be aware of location, and make sure they will receive the right amount of sunlight.