Depending upon the type of landscaping and soil you have in your yard there may be a variety of different backyard ideas that can help achieve a sustainable lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. If it is gardening and raising livestock that interests you there are many options available to invest in.
The first step would be to assess your backyard. Take into consideration both the size and shape of land you have to work with. The bigger the yard the more room you can provide for both animals and decorative or food plants to move in. There may be better spots in corners or shadier areas for coops. Gardens tend to be in longer areas or spread out in different shapes along the edges of the yard. Just make sure they are placed in the sunniest areas, as most vegetables and ground fruits require the sun.
Patios and decks are usually placed in the shadiest area of the yard to ensure that your family and guests can enjoy the yard comfortably out of the sun’s hot rays. This means you need to know the orientation of the yard to the sun. The simplest and best way to track the sun’s positioning is to stand in your yard at various times throughout the day and take note which area’s are getting the most sun.
If the yard is out in the open with no fencing, no close neighbours and not many trees and shrubs, care must be taken to protect the garden from the wind. Plants and animals need adequate shelter from the wind. If just creating your garden and accessories you may want to build as many wind breaks as possible. Walls from sheds or homes can help, fences can be erected, but also tough plants and shrubs can be used to help shelter the inner gardens. Coops or other animal houses must always have an enclosed area to protect from the elements.
Stone patios or walkways can make beautiful accents to the garden while making easier access to all areas of the yard. A pond or a waterfall would be a soothing option to consider as well. The magical qualities of water will add pleasure and relaxation to your niche. Also ducks love water and a pond could offer them a cool place to clean themselves and rest.
A bed for vegetables is a must in a sustainable yard design. Raised beds are popular but you lose connection to your native soil. The best way to grow food plants sustainably is through composting and making your own soil. A real challenge would be to design and build your own greenhouse and enjoy harvests all year long.
If you have children you may think about adding a garden just for them. They need somewhere to dig and play and make a mess and you probably don’t want them in your newly landscaped garden. A treehouse or a play fort for the youngsters would also give them a hideaway from the sun on hot days.
Birdhouses are another favourite for the animal lover. If not up for raising livestock, this would be a simpler way to encourage wildlife into your yard. Birdhouses are much less maintenance than a coop but still offer the same entertainment value.
Adding a windmill or solar panels can help you harvest energy for your home and to sell to other companies. Collecting rainwater in a barrels or with irrigation system can eliminate the dependance upon city water. This makes utility bills disappear and adds more money to invest in your property.
There are a plethora of backyard ideas waiting for your creative intuition to take hold of. Whatever your goals, there will be a designs in mind to put into action. Creating a sustainable environment within your own back yard can give you a sense of accomplishment and will satisfy the need to feel less dependant on others for food, power and enjoyment.
“Garden Design and Planning Specialist” A + G Bridgewater. New Holland Publishers. 2006