If you have a backyard covered in grass, it may look a little boring. While large, grassy yards were once a sign of opulence and wealth, they’ve become something of a suburban paradigm. While large, grassy areas are fun to run around in, or entertain on, adding some biodiversity and attractive features are a better option than the regular care and maintenance that grass demands. If you’re considering adding something to your backyard, you have many options.
Since access is a factor, consider setting something out there that can maintain itself. Creating wind or noise barriers, should you need them or secluded areas for privacy, a place to relax, enjoy some tea or company are great ideas for a backyard landscape.
Perhaps you’d like flowering trees, or, if you want to approach a small amount of maintenance, fruit trees. Spacing them out and adding symbiotic plants to create a guild is a great use of backyard space. Guild plants would consist of deep-rooted nitrogen-accumulators, (comfrey being a good example), mulch plants that have large leaves and offer good cover, insect attracting plants (like lavender), and barrier plants to deter pests (thorny plants that don’t spread wildy work in this capacity). By planting guilds, you take care of the needs of the central trees and weeding, feeding and watering is cut down. You get all the benefits of a beautiful orchard with a fraction of the effort.
Keyhole Flower Beds
Native plants and wildflowers are better-adapted for your particular climate. And they can take a bit less care than traditional flowers. Ask around for what these plants are and when you find out, arrange them in beds with undulating barriers, or as keyhole beds, with a small area shaped like a key built into the edge that you can get into and work within.
Trellis and Benches
A trellised area is great for creating shape and privacy. Plus climbing plants love them, Table grape varieties will gladly take one over, as will hops. Put a comfortable outdoor chair or some benches on the inside and take a load off.
If you use a rainwater catchment system, you can channel your runoff into aquatic areas, a small pond planted with semi-aquatic plants. You can use a system of built-up berms (which can be planted themselves), to channel water into it. You may even attract frogs and other water-loving wildlife. Birds love a gradually-sloped pond-edge with enough area for them to drink and bathe.