Designing Your Backyard Garden: Tips and Tricks

Creating an outdoor garden can be an exhilarating and challenging endeavour. Assembling a plan, determining the appropriate plants to include, and designing a beautiful and functional space can be overwhelming. However, it is possible to transform any backyard into a marvellous garden paradise with some preparation and imagination.

It’s essential to consider the size of the space and select the right plants, as well as to incorporate hardscaping elements and a garden color scheme that complements the area. This guide will provide all the necessary tips and tricks to create an inviting and beautiful garden in which you will enjoy spending time.

Climate Considerations

Canada is a vast country with diverse regions that experience varying climatic conditions. The climate considerations when designing a backyard garden in Canada vary from region to region.

Western Provinces

In the western provinces such as British Columbia, the climate is relatively mild and damp, with a lot of rain and minimal snowfall in the winter. The best plants in this region thrive in moist conditions, such as ferns, hostas, and hydrangeas.

Central & Prairie Provinces

The central and Prairie provinces, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, have a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. Gardeners in these regions must consider drought-tolerant plants like lavender, yarrow, and ornamental grasses that can withstand harsh conditions.

Eastern Provinces

The climate is more temperate in the eastern provinces, including Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes, with hot summers and cold winters. Gardeners in these regions can grow a wide range of plants, including perennials, annuals, and vegetables.

Regardless of the region, Canadians need to consider the average temperature, amount of rainfall, and the length of the growing season when selecting plants for their backyard. Choosing plants well-suited to the local climate is important to ensure they thrive and produce a bountiful harvest.

Backyard Garden Design Ideas

For Canadians, planning and designing their backyard garden is of great importance because it not only enhances the beauty of their property but also provides them with fresh produce and a space to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Proper planning and design also ensure efficient use of outdoor living space, allowing for the growth of various plants and vegetables. In addition, incorporating native plants can attract local wildlife and contribute to the preservation of the environment.

Here are some tips to help you plan and design your backyard garden in Canada.

A beautiful garden with an abundance of trees created through backyard garden design.

Garden Layouts

When it comes to landscaping, homeowners have a wide range of design possibilities, similar to the variety of home decor styles available.

A Backyard can be a tranquil haven for relaxation, a playground for kids and/or pets, and a fruitful area for gardening. Homeowners can choose from traditional in-ground rows, raised garden beds, or a combination of both to cultivate their lush oasis.

Garden Beds Layout

Constructed with wood, bricks, or other materials, raised beds are filled with high-quality potting soil, compost, and/or leaf mould to provide maximum drainage. Raised beds are ideal for areas with stony, compacted, contaminated, very wet, or nutrient-poor soils, making them a great choice for the avid gardener.

Kitchen Garden Layout

The kitchen garden provides a captivating medley of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers that can be grown in succession to ensure a steady supply of fresh ingredients for the kitchen. The flavour of freshly-picked herbs and vegetables is incomparable, and the artful planting of the garden gives it a unique allure.

Flower Garden

Flower gardens are a great way to bring beauty and joy into any outdoor space. Cut flowers can be grown as decorations indoors while tending to the garden can be incredibly relaxing. Furthermore, the presence of flowers can be beneficial for pollinating fruit and vegetable crops and providing food and shelter for beneficial insects.

Water Features

A lush green park with a small stream, perfect for designing your backyard garden.
When selecting a spot for your water feature, consider its aesthetic and functional impact on the rest of your garden design. Opt for a location visible from a porch or window that can accommodate the size and type of water feature you want to install. If you plan on incorporating plants or flowers, choose a sunny spot.


A fountain can bring a timeless aesthetic to your garden while providing a soothing soundscape. Whether you prefer a traditional tiered design, a modern abstract piece, or a wall-mounted fountain, you can find one that complements your garden. Fountains create a captivating display of sight and sound, making them the perfect addition to any garden.


Creating a garden stream can be a labour-intensive project, but it also provides a unique opportunity to bring a touch of the wild into your backyard. Not only does it add a beautiful aesthetic, but it can also give your yard a feeling of seclusion. However, remember that it requires a large area for proper installation.


Transform a sloped grounds into something special with the addition of a waterfall. Utilize the natural terrain by constructing a DIY water feature or a classic natural-looking waterfall. With water’s natural inclination to flow downhill, a waterfall perfectly solves an uneven yard.


When designing a pool, carefully consider its location, how it will interact with the surrounding foliage and the views it will offer. Positioning it to capture the sun or reflections of the garden or sky can add interest and create a strong focal point in the landscape.

Bird Bath

A bird bath can make an attractive and low-maintenance water feature for your backyard or garden. For an added touch of movement, you could opt for a bird bath with a fountain installed.

Water Bowls & Ponds

Still-water features such as bowls, ponds and other bodies of water provide a great opportunity to add color to a garden, particularly if it is naturally dark. Surround such features with vibrant and colorful plants to create a beautiful reflection that will help to soften any hard edges.


Wells have been a classic addition to gardens for centuries. While they may not be used to pump water, a decorative well is still a lovely way to add a rustic touch to the garden. To take the aesthetic to the next level, consider incorporating a fountain or water garden nearby, creating a unique water feature that will add a timeless appeal.


Designing a garden with a light feature.

It is essential to have the right type of landscape lighting for any outdoor setting. Creative lighting designs can quickly transform your premises into a functional and beautiful space to enjoy in the evening. These lights can highlight focal points, such as trees and plants, and create different areas for entertaining, dining, or socializing.

When creating your lighting plan, it may be beneficial to sketch out your yard to help you visualize where to place lighting to meet specific needs.

Light Posts

Landscape post lights and bollard lights can add a subtle touch of ambiance to any outdoor area. These lighting fixtures can stand alone or be mounted in areas such as around the patio, a garden pathway, a driveway, a deck, or a fountain. They are often used to highlight a garden feature, delineate a walkway, or illuminate a pond or feature plant. Light from these fixtures can be distributed evenly to create an all-encompassing glow or focused down onto the ground for more specific lighting needs.

String Lights

String lights, also known as decorative or fairy lights, are a type of lighting used to enhance indoor and outdoor aesthetics. Adding solar-powered string lights to your patio roof will create a cozy ambience that looks stunning in the evening. Various outdoor string lights are available, such as LED, halogen, and stainless steel, to match any outdoor patio decor.


A spotlight and floodlight have distinct differences in their beam spread. Spotlights feature a focused beam of light, typically around 45 degrees, ideal for highlighting specific features such as architectural details or landscaping. Meanwhile, floodlights emit a wider beam spread of up to 120 degrees and are best suited for illuminating larger areas like driveways or parking lots.

Hardscape Lights

Hardscape lights are small fixtures that attach to or build into structures, illuminating narrow areas and adding nuance to your outdoor living environment. These lights highlight the beauty of the hardscape, light up pedestrian paths, and even offer extra security.

Inground Light

Inground lights are an elegant way to create a dramatic, illuminated effect in your yard. Installed directly into the ground, they provide an uplight that can reveal the features of trees and structures. These circle-shaped fixtures are also perfect for illuminating pathways and driveways, adding a touch of sophistication.


Illuminate your garden at night with various lantern styles ranging from modern to rustic. In addition to traditional lanterns, decorative torches provide a unique lighting option for pathways. Lanterns are an economical and long-lasting choice that can help create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

Fire Pit

A fire pit can be a great addition to any garden during the cooler fall or winter months. Not only will it provide a cozy light source, but the flames’ warmth can also help keep guests comfortable. For a safe yet stylish option, consider utilizing solar-powered candles in the area.

Furniture & Garden Structure

A backyard garden with outdoor furniture.

Modern gardens are becoming increasingly like living rooms, with outdoor sofas, coffee tables and rugs overtaking the traditional six-seater dining tables and bistro sets. When choosing furniture for your garden, there are a few key things to consider.

First and foremost, you’ll want to think about the style and aesthetic you’re going for. Do you want a traditional look or something more modern? This will guide your choices regarding materials, colours, and overall design.

Next, consider the size of your space. If you have a small backyard or patio, you’ll want to choose appropriately sized furniture that doesn’t overwhelm the space. Look for pieces easily rearranged or stored away when not in use.

Another vital factor to consider is durability. Canadian weather can be tough on outdoor furniture, so you’ll want to choose pieces designed to withstand the elements. Look for materials like metal, wicker, or teak, known for their durability and resistance to moisture and UV rays.

Comfort is also key when it comes to outdoor furniture. Choose furniture that offers ample cushioning and support, and consider adding additional elements like throw pillows or blankets to make your outdoor space even cozier.

Finally, think about how you’ll be using your outdoor space. Do you plan on hosting large gatherings or simply relaxing with your family? This will guide your choices regarding seating arrangements and the types of furniture you choose. For example, a large dining table and chairs might be perfect for hosting dinner parties, while a comfortable outdoor sofa and lounge chairs may be better suited for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Most used furniture for a backyard garden design:

  • Patio Sets:
    A patio set typically includes a table and chairs designed for outdoor use. They come in various styles and materials, such as metal, wood, wicker, and plastic.

  • Hammocks:
    A hammock is comfortable outdoor furniture that can be used for relaxation and napping. They can be suspended between trees or installed on a stand.

  • Outdoor Sofas:
  • Outdoor sofas are comfortable and stylish seating options for a backyard garden. They come in various sizes, styles, and materials, such as wicker, metal, and wood.

  • Garden Benches:
    Garden benches are a classic and timeless furniture piece for outdoor spaces. They are known for their ability to create a cozy atmosphere in your outdoors. Wood, flat polyethylene weave, and cast iron are the most commonly used materials.

  • Adirondack Chairs:
    Adirondack chairs are a popular choice for a backyard garden design. Their low-to-the-ground design and wide armrests make them perfect for lounging and enjoying the scenery of a backyard garden. While their sturdy construction ensures they can withstand the elements and last for years to come.

  • Bistro Sets:
    Bistro sets are perfect for small outdoor spaces like balconies and patios. They typically include a small table and two chairs.

  • Outdoor Dining Sets:
    If you have a relatively large backyard, having a dining set is a great idea. These sets are great for hosting barbecues and outdoor dinner parties. They typically include a large table and chairs designed for outdoor.

  • Lounge Chairs:
    Lounge chairs are perfect for relaxing and sunbathing in the backyard garden. They can easily fit in with the aesthetic of a backyard garden, adding to the overall ambiance and style of the space.

  • Umbrellas:
    Umbrellas are most used in backyard garden because they provide shade from the sun and shelter from light rain.

Garden Color Schemes

Garden color schemes are an important consideration for any gardener, and a limited palette of green plus two other colours are often chosen. Beginner gardeners may be tempted to choose a variety of colours to create a visually stimulating garden. However, this can often result in a chaotic and displeasing outcome. By choosing the right color palette, you can create a certain mood and atmosphere in your garden or outdoor space.

Decide on the energy of your garden

When designing a garden, it is important to consider the “temperature” of the colours used to evoke the desired atmosphere. The garden can create different energies and feelings depending on the chosen colour palette.

  • When creating a tranquil garden space, consider using a muted color scheme of cool hues like grey, purple, blue-green, and white. This will help to keep the atmosphere serene and limit contrast.
  • For an energizing garden, choose warm colors with high contrast, such as red, bright orange, yellow and lime green or yellow-green.

Choose ONE color at first

To get started on your color scheme, simply select a single color to be the foundation. This color can be your favorite, or one you think would be best suited to your project. Once you have your base color, the rest of your color scheme will be easier to build upon.

Understanding the Color Wheel

  • The primary colors are red, blue and yellow.
  • By blending two of the primary colors together in a 50/50 ratio, complementary colors can be created. These color combinations are known as the secondary colors of the color wheel. Like the Red + Blue = Purple
  • The next color group is the tertiaries, which occupy the space between the secondaries, such as when transitioning from red to orange.

  • To choose colors that complement your plants, consider using natural elements from the local landscape, like natural stone or untreated wood, for a subtle, elegant display.

    For a dramatic effect, choosing a perfect backdrop that complements the planting is essential for showcasing its beauty. For cottage garden designs, consider house colors that are in harmony with the plants, such as soft blues, pinks, or yellows. Additionally, pay attention to the foliage of perennials, grasses, and shrubs to introduce an additional pop of color and to further enhance the surrounding plants.

Sustainable Practices

  • Composting: Create a compost bin to recycle your food and yard waste. It will provide nutrient-rich soil for your garden and reduce landfill waste.
  • Rainwater harvesting: Collect rainwater in barrels and use it to water your plants. This reduces water waste and lowers your water bill.
  • Native plants: Plant native plants in your region. They require less water, fertilizer, and pesticides and provide a habitat for local wildlife.
  • Mulching: Use organic mulch like leaves or grass clippings to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weed growth.
  • Organic gardening: Avoid using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Instead, use natural alternatives like compost, natural pest repellents, and crop rotation.
  • Companion planting: Plant mutually beneficial plants to attract insects and pollinators while deterring harmful pests.
  • Use renewable energy: Install solar-powered garden lights or use hand-powered tools to reduce your carbon footprint.

By incorporating sustainable practices into your backyard garden, you can create a healthy and eco-friendly environment while enjoying a bountiful harvest.

Hiring A Professional Garden Designer

Hiring a professional garden designer for your backyard garden is important because they have the expertise and knowledge to create an aesthetically pleasing but also functional and sustainable garden. A professional designer can help you make the most of your space and create a garden that suits your lifestyle and preferences.
A backyard garden with outdoor furniture.

Transform Your Outdoor Space With These Creative Garden Designs

Backyard garden design ideas are endless, and with a little planning and creativity, you can create a beautiful and functional outdoor space that fits your style and needs. Whether you have a small or large backyard, you can incorporate various design elements to make the most of your space.

The possibilities are endless. So, get inspired, roll up your sleeves, and start designing your dream backyard garden today!

Curb Wise