DIY Landscaping Ideas and Projects for your Home Garden

Feb 26, 2013 by

*A Guest Post by Karen Miller


how to start a gardenOur gardens, lawns and yards represent an almost extraordinary opportunity for us to release our hands-on creativity and build something interesting or lovely where nothing previously existed. This is something that should never be allowed to go to waste.

If you happen to have a piece of land around your home, regardless of its size, you can absolutely make it into the perfect setting for a DIY gardening/landscaping project of your own. Do this and you will get a wonderful chance to build something that you can admire, feel proud of and show off to all your friends.

That said, let’s go over some excellent do-it-yourself gardening ideas for properties of all sizes and finances of all kinds. None of the following are too expensive to create on a modest to moderate budget and none of them too hard for anyone with a little learning ability and a touch of practical thinking.

Tiny Yard & Small Garden Space

Let’s start off by giving you a couple of ideas for the tiniest of yard and garden spaces; these projects can easily be developed even if your property’s open space feels like it could fit inside a postage stamp.


Water Fountain/Small Pond Combo

Not only is this combination of elegant pond and Water fountain easy to build, it can also perfectly fill out and beautify even a ridiculously small yard space. Furthermore, building both together requires very little hard work, low long-term maintenance and fairly small expenses.

Start off by setting out whatever soft or fillable ground you have in your yard. Once you’ve done this, delineate a part of it that’s anywhere from a fifth to a third of the space’s size and excavate it as a wide, more or less evenly rounded and shallow hole.

Fill this hole in with waterproof plastic liner and set up a store-bought water recycling pump inside it. You can then work the tubes of this pipe into almost any kind of stone or concrete water fountain that you buy or make so that the water you place into your pond circulates upwards and then flows back down in a constant cycle.You can even stack flat or round stones in such a way that they hide the pumping mechanism and water tubes to create a lovely natural looking fountain or spring. With this simple procedure you’ve just set up your pond and fountain. For extra natural appearance, fill the inside of the pond with coarse stones so that the black plastic liner is invisible –the stones need to be larger than the pumping tubes if you want to prevent constant clogging.

Japanese Garden Arrangement

how to start a japanese gardenA Japanese garden project has a few attractive benefits to give: for one thing, it makes for a wonderful stand-alone project; secondly it’s deeply attractive in spaces of any size and third, it can beautifully complement the above-mentioned pond/fountain combo. Japanese gardens are also extremely low maintenance.

Set out your available space, which can be made up of soft ground or even concrete flooring. If you have soft ground, then you should excavate several holes throughout it and into these holes plant several small bonsai style bushes, trees and shrubs (especially small evergreen or Juniper bushes). In addition to the plants, place different types of elongated boulders into some of the other holes at random angles. For the plant holes, add a decent insulation of garden soil around your planted shrubs, and for the boulder holes, add firmly packed sand around the stones.

Particularly lovely stones include basalt, sandstone and any kind of marbled, multicolored rock with moss or lichen growing on it; especially is the stone is very oblong and weather-worn.

Having scattered and blended together both boulders and shrubs in a well-distributed and randomized way, simply lay out some wee barrier along the soil or terrain between them all and cover it with a thick (2 to 3 inches) layer of fine pea sized gravel –the more multicolored and shiny the gravel, the better. Rake out this gravel between your bushes and stones so that it covers all remaining terrain evenly and has a finely raked look to it.

There, done! You’ve just created an elegantly simple but very easy Japanese garden. It can look especially lovely as a feature that surrounds your pond and fountain arrangement.

Larger Yards

In a larger yard with ample space and plenty of soft ground for excavating garden beds and lawn areas, the sky is the limit with what you can do. However, to keep things simple, let’s go over some interesting basic ideas.

Decorative New Lawn & Garden Features

If your plot of land consists of just dirt, barren ground or old patchy grass, then you can give the space a dramatic but fairly simple facelift with a neat new lawn installation. To make the lawn project work even more attractively as a complement to your house, add decorative features such as strategically placed boulders, large evergreen shrubs and garden beds with stone borders.

Yard Features

backyard landscaping designsYour first basic step is going to involve stripping out or killing all the old ugly plants and lawn that are already occupying your yard space. Either dig them out, scrape them out with a rented bobcat micro excavator or simply kill them with a strong herbicide.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to dig out holes and depressions for any garden beds, large plants (bushes, trees, etc) or boulder locations that you’ll plan on placing amidst your soon to be new lawn. Either dump the excess soil or –if it’s decently rich and fertile—simply scatter it around the rest of your yard space for the next step you’ll do, which we’ll get to in a second.

Having set out your excavated shrub/garden bed/boulder spaces; fill them all in with rich garden soil blend and start planting those bushes, flowers and shrubs that you like best. In the case of the boulders, get some friends to help you roll them into place after adding some firmly packed sand inside their holes –surround any gaps between boulder and hole with extra sand and tamp it firmly. Define the borders of your garden beds with small boulders, logs or anything else you’d like to use (though moderate sized, weather worn boulders usually look best).

New Lawn

Now that you’ve built and defined your more decorative lawn features (feel free to add as many as you like) you can actually install your lawn itself. This is fairly simple and consists of adding a fine 3 to 5 inch layer of sandy turf soil over the entire grass space, tamping it down firmly and then either rolling actual grass turf on it or simply covering the lawn soil in a thick layer of fresh grass seeds (at least 7 to 10 seeds per square inch) Seeds will be much cheaper but turf creates an instant lush lawn that takes only a few weeks to take root completely. In both cases, fertilize the soil with a turf fertilizer before laying seed or turf.

Obviously, if you’re going with the rolled turf option, remember to cut your grass so that it neatly molds around the edges of your other garden features.
There, you’ve just created a totally new and beautifully decorated yard without sinking into too much complexity or expensive materials and construction work.

Also, remember that any of the above for both small and normal sized yards can be mixed and scaled however you like; your large yard can have turf and garden beds but also include a pond and fountain, while even a small yard can include some grass or garden beds inside its limited space (as long as it gets decent sunshine).

Contributor Info: Karen Miller writes about landscaping and gardening ideas. Karen is a writer for this website. In her free time Karen enjoys working in her own personal garden and spending time with her friends and family.

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