Breaking the Rules: Backyard Design

April 13, 2021

Spring weather means more people will be spending time outdoors. What better time to think about backyard design – especially if you’re thinking about building a custom home.

According to a recent article on, if you’re looking to push the envelope with your outdoor decor, it’s time to break the rules.

Break the rule that says keep it neutral

Who wants a bland outdoor space? Use pavers, then add in contrasting inlays or borders, and your outdoor living space can be transformed into a work of art. Follow the rule of three by limiting mixed items to no more than three combinations.

Break the rule about lots of lawn

In many parts of the U.S., the lawn is the crowning glory of a yard. Not so much anymore. People are shifting away from the idea of an unused lawn. Use your yard to grow food, compost, collect rainwater, and attract pollinators. Or create an outdoor yoga/meditation space, kids play area, alternative work environment for your Zoom calls, socially distanced seating areas for visiting friends, or even a greenhouse.

Break the rule about manicured shrubs and trees

In a post-pandemic world, we want spaces that feel natural, not curated. Sprinkle trees and shrubs throughout your backyard to elevate your space sculpturally. Try to evoke that sense of wonder you get while walking through lush forests, wild deserts, or untamed fields. Invite woodier plants to mix and mingle with your flowers to create a more dynamic ecosystem and a deeper sensory experience.

Break the rule that the yard is only for daytime

Outdoors is the new indoors, so design your backyard space for enjoyable evenings. The key element for a livable backyard that can be used at night is lighting – and LED lights have made it simpler than ever. Incorporate them throughout the landscape – and get creative by controlling them with apps and changing colors with the seasons.

Break the rule to keep it simple

Outdoor living spaces aren’t just for barbecuing and relaxing. Add a feature like an outdoor chess set, cornhole, a pool table, or a bocce ball court. Not only will these look great, but they’ll turn your backyard into the place to be. And a permanent feature can add value when it’s time to sell.

Break the rule that exotic plants are a must

Exotic plants may look fabulous with their colorful, sculptural blooms, but they can do more harm than good in your backyard. They may be detrimental to native plants and wildlife and can require more maintenance (and more resources, like water and artificial sunlight) to keep them alive. A more earth-friendly approach means turning to your local nursery for local plants.

Put some spring in your step and in your design plans – and give us a call when you’re ready to build your custom home!

Your Friends at Crystal Creek Builders

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