Family-Style Backyard Garden Design

This landscape plan turns a modest-sized backyard into a garden with something for every member of the family.

Assessing Your Family’s Landscape Needs

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Key Features

  • Patio. The brick patio area provides a solid footing for tables and chairs, and allows a view of the entire yard.
  • Formal bed and fountain. This small garden is designed to be viewed from inside the house. Additionally, the fountain’s sound helps mask noise from the surrounding yards and streets.
  • Lawn. A small panel of grass invites children’s play. It is small enough to be easily resodded when worn out, and provides a visual break from structures and plants. A circular walkway provides a neat transition between lawn and planting beds, and offers a path to stroll year round.
  • Decorative arbor. Helping to soften the corner of the yard, this simple structure provides a shady refuge. Paving stones below the arbor eliminate mowing.
  • Play area. Bordered by sunken logs for sitting or hopping on, the shaded play area provides hours of entertainment and activity for children. The triangular sandbox is especially inviting to younger kids.
  • Vegetable garden. Separated from the play areas by a low fence, the vegetable garden is also protected from pets.

Patio Planning, Step-by-Step


(A) Yew (Taxus x media ‘Densiformis’); Zones 4-7.
(B) Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’; Zones 4-9.
(C) Astilbe ‘Sprite’; Zones 4-8.
(N) Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’; Zones 3-9.
(D) Coralbells (Heuchera ‘Pewter Moon’); Zones 4-8.
(E) Anemone ‘Robustissima’; Zones 5-8.
(F) Ajuga ‘Bronze’; Zones 3-9.
(G) Hosta ‘Patriot’; Zones 3-9.
(H) Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium); Zones 5-9.
(I) Astilbe ‘Ostrich Plume’; Zones 4-9.
(K) Serviceberry (Amelachier x grandiflora); Zones 5-8.
(P) Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii); Zones 4-8.

Best Flowering Trees and Shrubs


(G) Hosta ‘Patriot’; Zones 3-9.
(M) Rhododendron ‘Aglo’; Zones 4-8.
(O) Boxwood (Buxus microphylla); Zones 6-9.
(N) Hosta ‘Fragrant Bouquet’; Zones 3-9.
(P) Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii); Zones 4-8.
(R) Salvia ‘May Night’; Zones 5-9.
(H) Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium); Zones 5-9.
(W) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia); Zones 5-9.
(U) Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida); Zones 4-9.
(T) Rose (Rosa ‘The Fairy’); Zones 5-9.
(V) Phlox ‘David’; Zones 4-8.
(Q) Sedum ‘Vera Jameson’; Zones 4-9.
(X) Geranium ‘Biokovo’; Zones 5-8.
(Y) Pussy willow (Salix caprea); Zones 6-8.


(B) Hydrangea ‘Annabelle’; Zones 4-9.
(FF) Willow (Salix ‘Prairie Cascade’); Zones 2-5.
(BB) Miscanthus ‘Silver Arrow’; Zones 4-9.
(CC) Salvia ‘Purple Rain’; Zones 6-8.
(AA) Sunflower (Helianthus annuus); Annual.
(Z) Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.); Annual.
(DD) Semidwarf apple (Malus ‘Honeygold’); Zones 5-8.
(EE) Summersweet (Clethra ‘Ruby Spice’); Zones 3-9.