Landscaping Ideas for Backyard
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Landscaping Ideas for Backyard

In Philadelphia, the winter months are a great time to start thinking about backyard landscaping and planning for spring planting. Often, adding privacy is a factor when planting around the perimeter of your yard.

In Philadelphia, the winter months are a great time to generate backyard landscaping ideas in anticipation of spring planting.

First, think about your landscaping goals. For example, adding privacy to your yard is a factor when planting around the perimeter of your property, as hedges and trees provide a natural screening alternative to fences. If you are a gardener, mark off space to grow vegetables. If you love flowering plants, research which annuals and perennials work best with the amount of shade and soil condition of your backyard.

Creating a Space for Relaxation

Backyard landscaping can create an atmosphere of relaxation around your outdoor living space. If you like year-round greenery, include evergreens such as hollies, boxwoods, pines, and spruce trees in your landscaping plan. For longevity and long-term growth, consider planting trees, flowers, and shrubs native to Pennsylvania. iConserve Pennsylvania maintains a native plant database that allows you to search by type of plant (trees, shrubs, grasses, and flowers) as well by site condition (shady vs. sunny, dry vs. moist). The search engine even offers a “Best Bets” feature that provides a list of the hardiest plants that are widely available in local nurseries.

Backyard Landscaping Ideas for All Seasons

In Philadelphia, accounting for the shifting of the seasons allows you to incorporate dramatic change into your backyard landscaping. Consider how the backyard will look throughout the year, not just when your annuals bloom in the summer. To increase the beauty of your winter landscape with an intricate branch design, search for trees such as the stewartia — it’s a type of mid-sized tree with exfoliating bark.

You can highlight Philadelphia’s autumns with deciduous trees’ bright purple, red, and yellow leaves. According to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania’s foliage season lasts longer than any other state in the nation. Take advantage of this local characteristic when selecting trees for your backyard — if you don’t mind raking leaves.

Working with the Lay of the Land

Grading is an important factor in backyard landscaping. There is nothing worse than investing a chunk of money in landscaping and seeing it all get washed away after a flooding rainfall, or watching everything dry out within the first season because the new plants and trees have not received enough hydration. Not many homeowners are lucky enough to have perfectly flat backyards, but working with a landscape designer to regrade your yard by adding soil improves your chances of long-term success.

Irrigation is another landscaping concern. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, up to 75 percent of household water usage during the growing months is for outdoor purposes. New plants and trees often require extra watering in the first year or so, until roots are firmly established. So plan accordingly by using trickle hoses or sprinklers. Also, try to time your watering to the coolest part of the day (typically early morning) for maximum hydration.