A flat backyard can be a waste of your landscape’s full potential - as monotonous as a symphony without crescendos. Building platforms, hollowing out areas and constructing vertical elements can energize your existing landscape, improving the curb appeal of your property and revolutionizing your outdoor entertainment. The following landscaping ideas should inspire you to add more dimension to your own Monroe, NY backyard this year.
Unique outdoor stairways
Creating a stairway that links your home and yard can architecturally tie the two together. Concrete is durable, low-maintenance and versatile, making it the perfect candidate for your outdoor steps. Concrete steps can also be built in an endless array of shapes to suit your yard’s layout and aesthetic, creating a sense of cohesion throughout the landscape. To prevent injuries, ensure that your steps are well-lit at all times and fitted with abrasive safety strips. While smooth concrete steps can grant your landscape a sleek, modern look, natural stone framed by small shrubs can create a charming path that blends into the surrounding landscape.
Beautiful retaining walls
A retaining wall is any short wall that frames a bed of soil. These can be veneered with an endless variety of natural and man-made stones to suit your style. Using irregularly shaped natural stone or blocks of different sizes, you can add further depth to your landscape design. Consider using subdued, neutral shades for your retaining walls and capstones, allowing the colorful plants behind them to draw focus instead. Opt for capstones with a routed edge that will allow rainwater to run off the surface and prevent staining. Constructing your steps and retaining walls using similar stone or pavers should help to create a seamless flow throughout your hardscape.
Efficient seat walls
With the optional addition of vibrant pillows, retaining walls can double as seat walls. As such, retaining walls should be topped with smooth stone to create a comfortable surface that won’t damage your clothing. Even a well-furnished patio can make use of extra seating when the usual family gathering expands to an enormous birthday party, for example. Potential partners for your seat walls include elegant firepits, pools and hot tubs.
Diverse outdoor rooms
Different levels within a landscape can define separate outdoor rooms, which are customized areas with different functions and atmospheres. An outdoor kitchen assigned to food preparation is generally more cold and functional than the dining area, for example, which is warm and welcoming in contrast. If raising and sinking parts of your landscape isn’t an option for you, you can still divide your outdoor area using stone pillars and decorative low walls.
Pillars can add great aesthetic appeal to your covered patio, but are also important structural supports for your roof and should be carefully sized and placed. Once your pillars have been designed for optimal structural efficiency, they can be customized further to complement the architectural style of your home. Consider framing plain patio poles in short stone columns, spanning the spaces between them with seat walls of similar stone. Short pillars are often used to break up long stretches of retaining wall and can be placed at both ends of the wall, perhaps holding an ornate planter, lighting fixture or garden statue.