Introduction

Plan Out the Area

It is critical that you consider climate, weather habits, maintenance, sun exposure, growing season and soil type when deciding what plants to buy. You can save money while your plants grow, knowing that your backyard is a work in progress and more plants can be added later. When designing your outdoor living area, don't forget to plan for lighting. Well-placed lights can make the area safer for evening entertaining, as well as create a great atmosphere. Be sure to design your outdoor space to compliment the house, especially if it is attached to it.

Step 1

Prepare the Soil

Break up the existing soil using a rented ground tiller. Next, add a new layer of composite soil using a wheelbarrow (Image 1). Then, return to the tiller to mix the two soils together (Image 2). With the soil prepared, place plastic edging along one edge of the yard to help contain new soil and rocks (Image 3).

Step 2

Construct the Planter Boxes

Build new in-ground planter boxes using redwood planks, cut 4x4 posts and leftover composite decking (Image 1). After measuring off the deck and digging trenches with a pick axe, set in the completed sides of the planter box and use wood screws to join the two pieces (Image 2). Give the planter boxes a finished look by screwing down two mitered cap boards formed using the leftover composite decking (Image 3). With the planter boxes secured, backfill them with new soil (Image 4).

Step 3

Level Out the Area

To prevent weed growth, lay landscaper's fabric over new walkway areas and use metal staples to secure them to the ground (Image 1). Then dump pathway rocks over the fabric. Finish the walkways by spreading the rocks around with a shovel until achieving a two inch depth (Image 2). Set the plants into the planter boxes to determine their final position. For variety, stagger tall plants with wide plants and mix up the colors.

Step 4

backfill dirt into hole to straighten each plant

Set the Plants into the Ground

After deciding on the best locations, dig appropriate size holes for each plant and carefully remove them from their pots. Then, loosen the roots and sets them into their respective holes. Backfill dirt into the hole to straighten each plant.

Step 5

Add the Finishing Touches

With all the plants firmly in the ground, loosely spread four inches of cedar mulch to cover any exposed soil (Image 1). Mulch helps the soil retain moisture and will break down to add nutrients. Finally, install a low-voltage light kit around the deck (Image 2). After assembling the fixtures, stake them intermittently around the perimeter. Then daisy chain a spool of wire from one light to the next until completing a basic circuit (Image 3). To complete the project, connect the wiring to a transformer/timer and plug it in.