Landscape Transformation Tips


Today, a fabulous backyard is so much more than a well-kept lawn. People want to spend more time outside, and they want their outdoor space to be inviting. But transforming your wildest dreams into a real landscape design can be daunting.

At Shearer Patio & Landscape Services, we have been helping turn landscape dreams into reality here in Columbus for almost 20 years. Whether you are working with a small space or have an outdated landscape in desperate need of revitalization, we have the experience with landscaping and hardscaping solutions to create your ideal outdoor oasis.

But what sort of updates and landscaping renovations are available? The possibilities are practically limitless. Homeowners are increasingly bringing the creature comforts of home outside, using their outdoor spaces to relax with family and friends, host exciting parties and otherwise enjoy the warmer months. Thoughtfully placed shade can take the edge out of the summer heat, while a good fire can make the colder months more inviting. Architectural features can evoke luxury and timelessness without breaking the bank.

These are but a few of the landscaping possibilities available to those with the vision to transform their space.

With that in mind, we have collected a number of favorite pictures to help you envision your personal landscaping dreams. So don’t be afraid to let your outdoor living room or small front yard landscape design ideas guide you.

A Much Needed Update

Trends change. What was cool twenty years ago looks incredibly outdated today. Your landscaping is no different. Thankfully, there are a number of ways you can update your landscaping in a way that will drastically transform its appearance. And many of these solutions are both simple and cost effective. So don’t let your backyard remain as a relic to the 1980s. With a few small changes, you can radically transform your outdoor space:


Replace Backyard Surface

Replace the old. Outdoor materials are, by design, hardwearing, but that doesn’t mean they are invincible. Years of weather and foot traffic can begin to take their toll on concrete and wood planks. Don’t be afraid to update these materials. Plus, if your concrete is worn, this is also the perfect opportunity to replace your surface with newer, more aesthetically interesting materials, such as brick pavers. Either way, a new surface can drastically transform an outdoor space.

Expand your patio footprint. Older design approaches followed the simple rule: the larger the lawn, the better. But this is no longer the case, as grass can’t stand up to heavy use. Instead, consider expanding your patio, whether its wooden or paved. This will give your outdoor space more versatility, so if you are throwing a party or regularly sharing family meals outside, you won’t be destroying your lawn. Plus, wood decks and paver patios give you a chance to add interesting design elements and dedicated use spaces to your landscape. So think about what you want to do with your outdoor space and make sure your patio is large enough to accommodate.

Rethink pavement. These days, pavement is much more than gray concrete. Pavers come in a variety of colors, textures and shapes, all of which give you a level of design versatility that is beautiful, hardwearing and affordable. So don’t let pavement limit you. Instead, see it as a canvas for beautiful hardscaping design.

Go beyond grass. A lush, green lawn can make you the envy of all of your neighbors. But grass can be hard to maintain and requires constant watering during a dry spell, which can be taxing on the water bill. Thankfully, you can replace large patches of grass with plant beds that are mulched. Not only does this add visual interest to your backyard, but mulch retains moisture when rain is scarce and helps keep weeds at bay, reducing the time you spend on maintenance. And don’t be fooled; a number of flowering plants require very little care. So, if you’ve grown tired with the constant effort required to keep your lawn presentable, consider shrubs and flower beds instead.

Think creatively about space. Small and awkward spaces can be seen as a hindrance to a quality outdoor remodel. Change your perspective! If you think creatively about a small space’s potential, you can transform an eyesore into a focal point. Turn a narrow alley into a wet bar. Place a water feature in an awkward corner. Tight spaces are often architecturally interesting. So instead of trying to hide them, emphasize them and use them to your advantage. The possibilities are only limited by your own creativity.

Bringing the Indoors Outside

The more time you spend outside, the more you’ll want to bring indoor comforts with you. There are fewer limitations to outdoor design than you may think. A kitchen’s space for food preparation and the relaxing retreats of a family room can all be moved outside, allowing you to spend more time outdoors with family and friends. So if you long to cook five-course meals outside or host a friendly game night under the stars, these are but a few options for bringing your indoor activities into your backyard:

Cook outside. Nothing says summer quite like a backyard barbecue. But with an outdoor kitchen, you can do much more than light up a charcoal grill. Outdoor kitchens can be equipped with storage space, food preparation surfaces, brick ovens and wet bars. Plus, brick ovens and grills add culinary flair that cannot be replicated indoors. By moving preparation and storage outside, you can spend more time hosting and enjoying the company of family and friends and less time running inside to chop vegetables or check on something in the oven.

Treat your patio like a living room. The best living rooms are staged to help people gather and be comfortable. While outdoor spaces require outdoor furniture, you can stage outdoor spaces in similar ways.

Patio furniture has come a long way from the old-fashioned lawn chair. While outdoor furniture features waterproof fabrics and weather-resistant materials like rust-proof metals and treated wood and wicker, they can be just as comfortable and inviting as their indoor equivalents. So don’t be afraid to really turn your patio into a living room, complete with couches and chairs designed for withstanding the elements.


Covered Porches and Pergolas

Frame your space. To give your outdoor space definition, you want to frame it. But you also don’t want to rob it of its spaciousness. Pergolas and covered porches designate which part of your landscape is your outdoor living room. That way, if the kids want to run and play, they can run through the yard while you sit and enjoy a beverage on the patio. A well-framed outdoor room is also ideal for hosting larger gatherings, as it creates different spaces for guests to congregate and converse.

Add some shade. The warmer the weather, the more inviting the outdoors can be. But sometimes the sun is just a little too strong. Consider placing umbrellas or building a pergola to provide your space with some added shade. Or install a gorgeous shade tree if you would rather cool down the natural way. Either way, your outdoor retreat can also serve as a retreat from the noonday rays.

Adding Attention-Grabbing Features

The best outdoor spaces use eye-catching features to bring interest to the landscape. But these elements don’t need to break the bank. So take some time and think about what you want out of a space. Do you want to evoke a sense of timelessness, or would you rather add a serene feng shui to your landscape? Whichever you prefer, a single design element can completely change your outdoor space. Here are some ideas:

Install a water feature. Water can really transform your backyard. For starters, a water feature is visually stunning, adding a sense of movement to your landscape. But the sound of flowing water can also give your space a sense of tranquility. If you plan on spending long hours outside relaxing, a water feature will help ease you into a more peaceful frame of mind. Plus they are perfect for creating interest in a hard-to-use corner.


Backyard Fire Pit

Gather around a fire. Since the dawn of time, people have been gathering around the fire to share the day’s news and enjoy each other’s company. Today, there are a number of options available for creating a warm, inviting gathering space. A fire pit is a great option as it is versatile and can be placed in a number of different places. A full fireplace is a little more involved, but it can also be a real show-stopper.

Additionally, fire can be used for cooking, adding another element for shared time together. It can also extend the outdoor-living season. With a raging fire, you can enjoy your outdoor space well into the crisp autumn months.

Get architectural. Small architectural elements give your outdoor space a sense of history and permanence,but that doesn’t mean architecture isn’t affordable. A small statue or a well-placed pedestal evokes luxury without requiring a large investment, and one small architectural feature goes a long way. Plus, stone doesn’t need light, so this is a great option for a shady space where plants and grass might struggle to grow. So let your old world or Mediterranean backyard landscaping ideas run wild.

Think big with plants. While some landscaping may use plants to add color or fill in spaces, large plants can become a centerpiece rather than an afterthought. Small trees have long been a key element to Asian landscape design. Consider how a small fruit tree can transform a space. Or use a large, flowering shrub to brighten up the corner of your landscape design. Plus, large plants can add shade to shield you from the sun.

Getting Big Value Out of Small Spaces

A small backyard shouldn’t discourage you from seeking your landscape vision. There are a number of creative ways you can get the most out of a small space. Certain plants are ideal for growing vertically, and patios can be built in levels to get the most out of limited square footage. So with a little imagination and some well-placed elements, you can expand your outdoor space, making a small backyard into an inviting outdoor room:

Raise your levels. If you don’t have a large outdoor footprint, think vertically. By adding patio levels, you can create interest and dynamic space in a limited area. This is an especially good solution if your space is already graded. That way you can transform a hard-to-landscape space into a funky patio.

Grow upwards. Certain plants need a lot of space to grow. But this isn’t true for vines. Lattice work and wood beams can be used as anchors for plants, and there are a number of plants that fit the bill.

Flowering plants add color while vertical gardens can put fresh produce — such as tomatoes, beans and cucumbers — on your table. Or consider a shelved garden. Any plant that doesn’t need deep soil can easily be adapted for vertical planting. Plant walls are perfect for framing an outdoor living room, giving your space a sense of exoticism. So don’t let a small yard hamper your green thumb.

Replace grass with shrubs. Even small patches of grass require mowing. And while a small yard may seem like an easy maintenance job, just getting out the mower can be a real hassle. So replace your grass with flower beds or shrubs. True, they also require maintenance, but the majority of that work only requires your hands. You can relieve the headache of lawn care while adding a sense of luxury to your outdoor space.

Build in seating. A small space may make for a tight squeeze for patio furniture. But if you build in your furniture with custom benches and seats, you can cater your outdoor space to your limited square footage. Plus, with custom seating, you know that your space is one-of-a-kind. Simple custom seating is also affordable, so don’t be afraid to be creative and use your limited space to its maximum potential.

These are just some ways you can update your outdoor space, but the possibilities are endless. Remember, it’s your landscape, so it should meet your expectations and reflect your own design aesthetic and dreams.

Even if you have a large backyard, you can still install custom seating. If a well-manicured lawn is your idea of a perfect landscape, you can still think about how you can frame your lush, green space with flower beds or pavers to make it really stand out. And of course, you can combine architecture and water features to create a truly stunning landscaping element.

So there’s no need to restrict yourself to these ideas. Instead, let them jump start your own landscaping imagination. Combine elements or even improve upon them. We are always excited by the ideas of our customers. Contact us today, and we can help transform your backyard into a beautifully landscaped outdoor getaway.