As a trained landscape designer, I regularly visit home-owners to help them with Calgary backyard landscaping ideas. I’m often amazed that the first thing they do is take me to their space and begin complaining about what they have to work with. However, where people see constraints, I see opportunity. It’s just how I was trained! Here are my top five tips to home-owners who want to know how to propose landscaping ideas for backyards: Tip #1: Know and understand your lifestyle Not everyone needs a fire pit. That’s just an example, but it’s one that stands out at me among the thousands of home-owners I’ve met. Everyone says they want a fire pit, or rather, everyone feels like they need a fire pit. Don’t get me wrong, fire pits are great. Along with proper lighting and water fixtures, the addition of a fire feature can take your backyard to another level. Their ability to hit key emotional triggers make them perfect for a cozy space. However, you should not be spending thousands of dollars for a yard that has no use in your everyday life. Many Calgary landscaping companies (not all) tend to do the same cookie cutter tactics in every backyard they enter. Why? Because it’s easy. Their crews know it, the product is readily available and they can get it done with their eyes closed. On top of that, they charge you the same as someone who proposes a more intricate project. I can’t tell you how many landscaping contractors in Calgary will propose a 12’ diameter circle paving stone kit with a central stack-stone fire pit. Don’t get me wrong. This is something I too have proposed in the past. However, only when I deem it necessary for the particular yard, as per the client’s lifestyle. Simply put, you have to propose a landscape design for your yard so it will be a useable space for you, your family and your friends. Questions you should be asking yourself first and foremost are: How many people will we entertain? What will we be doing out here? What time of day are we most likely going to be out here? Do we have children? Pets? How much time are we spending outdoors? Is this for mostly Weekdays? Or weekends? Who is going to maintain this yard for years to come, so our money isn’t wasted? By understanding your lifestyle first, you can then move on to the next step of actually come up with landscaping ideas for your backyard! Tip #2: Mark your destination points One of the worst things you can do is have Joe Blow landscaping company design your backyard for you. Do yourself a big service and hire a professional landscape design company in Calgary. This is worth the investment – you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches later, trust me. A destination point is where you or your family will be engaging with your landscape. I tend to lean toward the three most common points of interest: cooking, dining, and lounging. Know your destination points. This will give you a great framework to work with when trying to figure out different ideas for your backyard landscaping. This may also open doors for you to look into landscaping features such as outdoor kitchens, privacy screens, fireplaces, and water features. Tip #3: Mark your transition points Once you have your destination points marked, i.e. What you want and where you want them placed in your backyard, you need to tie them with one another. One thing I often see landscape contractors do is “plop” things anywhere in the yard without understanding proper circulation patterns. There needs to be a flow in the yard. How do you get from one place to the next? Does it make sense to place the outdoor kitchen 20 feet away from the back door so you can’t conveniently get to your barbecue in the winter, for example? Understanding proper circulation patterns will allow you to tie in your destination points, thus giving your transition points a very experiential tone. Choice of plant material becomes essential as well here. Colour schemes and scales also play a big part. Also, considering the selection of ground-cover and borders to outline those transitional spaces is important. Tip #4: Inside to outside I always like to pay attention to the details of each client’s home, in particular, newly-built homes. This is because more often than not, the home-owners have selected the colour schemes and textural patterns themselves. For example, a very contemporary style house with contemporary style furniture tells me that my clients will love the contemporary/modern landscaping ideas for their backyard. Essentially bringing what they have inside their home to the outside is ideal. Why? Two reasons: one, because it’s a style I know they will love. Two, because the outside of the house should flow with the inside of the house as well. This will make it a much more beautiful, comprehensive landscape design. Tip #5: Seek advice from a Calgary backyard landscaping professional. When coming up with landscaping ideas for backyards, you can certainly try to sketch up what you are thinking. Alternatively, as most people end up doing, you can check out inspirational landscaping company websites, like Houzz for ideas. This is alright to do as a secondary resource, but I often tell my clients to keep one thing in mind: every yard is different. Every home-owner needs custom planning as it relates to their particular yard. The grades, the size, and sun and wind exposure all differ within just one quadrant in Calgary. Hence, hiring a professional landscape design company in Calgary that has a trained landscape designer can add real value. Often, home-owners will go through the flyers they get in the mail and call 3-5 landscaping companies asking for a “quote” or “estimate.” What you have to realize, however, that the money you’re spending on your yard today can make or break the value of your most significant investment: your home. Thus, seeking professional landscaping consultation from a professional landscaping design company in Calgary will open your eyes to a variety of possibilities that can bolster and accentuate your property.