If you look at your whole backyard as one giant expanse of garden space that needs care and attention, you might feel overwhelmed. Instead, make the best -and easiest- use of your outdoor space when you divide your garden into designated planting, play, relaxation, and entertainment zones. You can have your vegetable plot and all sorts of great outdoor good times, too.
Dedicated entertainment space
First, consider the sort of entertaining you’ll do and the average number of attendees at your proposed yard parties. Will you require a lounging area in addition to an eating zone? Built-in seating with comfortable cushions and incorporated storage offers a versatility unmatched by standard patio furniture, notes Lifestyle magazine. The ideally zoned entertainment space can be used for multiple purposes in all seasons and enjoyed by family, neighbors, and friends of all ages.
If kids are part of your outdoor life, you’ll definitely want to designate at least one of your garden zones to their recreation. Swingsets, trampolines, badminton nets, tether ball poles, and other youth athletic equipment can be corralled in one corner of the garden yard. A sizeable yard may be able to accommodate a fancifully furnished playhouse; smaller yards with a smooth lawn are good spaces in which to set up teepees for kids’ sleepovers during clement weather, recommends Australia’s Nine magazine. Transition the walkway between a kid-friendly space and another garden zone with colorfully painted large pavers arranged in a hopscotch pattern. Let herbs grow between pavers for a burst of fragrance where feet frolic.
Private chill space
A separately zoned space dedicated to quiet relaxation is a must-have in any backyard garden or outdoor space. A leisure space where you can read a book, paint a picture, or simply unwind in privacy and peace is utterly essential and altogether possible to achieve. Hang an island-style hammock between a pair of trees, or place a portable hammock frame stand in the prettiest corner of your yard. Solar lanterns, planter boxes brimming with blossoms, a small table for snacks and books, and a weather resistant daybed with colorful cushions are nice additions to a private chill space.
One of the best things about outdoor entertaining is serving tasty meals cooked under the sky. Whether you create a zone with a humble wood pit for roasting wienies and marshmallows or install a fully operational outdoor kitchen with a gas range and pizza oven, a dedicated cooking area is a backyard essential.
If space allows, you’ll want to divide your outdoor kitchen into zones, too. Note the flow of your cooking habits, and use that order to plan your outdoor scullery. Make a prep zone, a cooking zone, a serving and plating zone, and a dining zone. The prep zone needs a sink, a cutting surface, and a trash bin. Keep separate cutting boards for raw meats and fresh veggies. This is a good place for a dry storage pantry that will spare you a lot of running to your indoor kitchen for paper towels, table linens, and the like.
The plating and serving zone should comprise storage for cutlery, dishes, and glasses. A warming drawer for dinner rolls and hamburger buns is a great idea. A clean-up zone is optional, but a nice addition to your outdoor cooking station.
Just like nature, only better
Consider your climate when choosing plants for your garden zones. If you live in an arid area, opt for xeriscape cactus, Joshua trees, ocotillo, and century plants. Install a drip irrigation system to provide necessary moisture to a stately date palm. If you dwell in a more tropically oriented area, surround your swimming pool with lush ferns, palms, banana trees, and tropical flowers suggest backyard zoning experts at Sunset magazine. Water watchers will be glad to know that zones of bromeliads, plumeria, red ti plants, and colorful cycads consume significantly less water than a lawn of similar dimension.
Water features such as birdbaths, koi ponds, and floating pond fountains are marvelous additions to a backyard garden of any size. Ponds provide a pretty thing to look at, and burbling fountains offer background sound that soothes. A pond fountain keeps itself healthy by introducing oxygen to the water via airborne droplets. This element benefits the ecosystem of the water feature while adding interest and elegance to a zoned garden space.
Upgrade a classic camping experience when you install a gas-fired log pit around which friends and family can sing songs, roast marshmallows, and tell their favorite ghost stories.
Daniel Crackower has been in the pond aeration and fountain business since 2004 when he founded Living Water Aeration. Daniel’s expertise comes from hands-on experience consulting and helping thousands of customers install aeration and fountains. Daniel currently resides in Lafayette, LA where he lives with his wife of 8 years.