Landscape architecture is all about increasing your usable space outside. The goal is for your backyard to become a destination space, in this case a retreat. Create cozy areas both on your patio and within the backyard that serve as a respite from the workaday world.
The first step to designing your backyard retreat is deciding what style patio you want. The use of the space drives the patio design. For example, if your outdoor living style is about lounging, you'll want to design the area to be somewhat secluded. You may even want to include a sundeck or an outdoor fireplace. According to the Landscaping Network, at least 16 feet by 18 feet is needed for an outdoor living room.
For a lounge-style experience on your patio, it's necessary to create some privacy. As you're designing the space, note where outsiders can see. One way to interrupt their line of sight is with built-in planters featuring privacy plants. Bamboo is a fast-growing plant that provides an attractive screen. Other tall plants such as rhododendron, Japanese pieris and hydrangea make attractive screen plants.
A pergola is another method for adding privacy as well as shade. A wooden pergola is both attractive and affordable. Cedar and redwood are common woods for a pergola that's mostly going to stand alone. If you're planning on training plants over the structure, opt for pressure-treated wood. It's even more budget-conscious, and the plants will cover it anyway. If that is your plan, consider fragrant flowers such as rose, honeysuckle, clematis and wisteria. They'll add a touch of pleasant scent to your outdoor lounge area.
You'll want to enjoy your backyard retreat year-round. An outdoor fire pit is a very useful addition. You can locate the fire pit on your patio, but it can also become a part of your landscaping architecture. For example, consider locating a fire pit in a relatively secluded corner. Have pavers placed around the pit, and plant fragrant thyme between for a scented appeal.
Design the landscaping around the fire pit for year-round appeal. For example, utilize privacy shrubs, such as cotoneaster, that display color even in the winter months. A couple well-placed shrubs further delineate the area around your fire pit. Include other pretty plants nearby, such as red-stemmed and yellow-stemmed dogwood and ornamental kale. These also show beautiful color all year, making your fire pit area a cozy destination even in winter.
Make your backyard into a year-round retreat with landscape architecture that complements your outdoor living style.