Looking for backyard ideas

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I live in Phoenix with a tiny backyard with 6-small trees and a drip system. I am 79-years-old living with my 55-year-old daughter. We do not have much extra money for a prfessional landscaper. I would be grateful for any ideas.
q we have gravel in our backyard which is now sparse trying to decide
There is a small area with artificial grass & the rest is gravel which now has become sparse.
  13 answers
  • Janey B. Janey B. on Mar 20, 2018
    i would suggest you have someone deliver more of the gravel and rake it out to make what is there renewed.
  • Doreen Doreen on Mar 20, 2018
    I, too have this situation. As suggested by a landscaper who was just willing to solve the problem as inexpensively as possible, he suggested refilling with deposed granite (DG). DG is the result of rough granite landscape rock which literally decomposes & becomes much, much smaller & is easily raked & smoothed throughout a season. Where I needed it was in my "urban orchard", we have sold property but it was very important to me to have it look nice when new owners take possession. Good Luck, believe me, I understand trying to stretch every dollar upgrade/maintainance as far as possible.
  • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Mar 21, 2018
    Trying to landscape in Phoenix is not easy. There are some very pretty ornamental grasses you could try and if you know where your drip lines are you could try planting some daylilies for color. They do well in the full sun in 100 degree days in Oklahoma and they can be divided annually for more (free) flowers. They come in several different colors and heights. Check around your neighborhood and see what seems to do well there. You might need to rake the gravel up along the fence and use a mulch which would keep the ground cooler in the summer. Hope this helps.
  • Trudi Trudi on Mar 21, 2018
    I would add more gravel.
  • Janine Janine on Mar 21, 2018
    Use potted plants and bargain pots.
    Mix plants in some of the pots!
    You can also liven up your
    space with found objects to create "Yard Art".
  • Janine Janine on Mar 21, 2018
    Also look on Craigslist for FREE things. It's fun and sometimes you hit it big!
  • Sharon Sharon on Mar 21, 2018
    I would call a local gravel company and have them deliver some in the type and color you want, then have them dump it as close as possible to the area its to be applied. Be sure to put down landscape fabric in any new areas so weeds don't grow through it. I raked out my drive and circular pad in front of my garage myself and it took 7 yards. about $70.
  • AuntQueenie AuntQueenie on Mar 21, 2018
    adding rock will help. If you are asking how you can do more than just adding rock to bring more eye catching interest here are a few inexpensive ideas that aren't super fancy, but diy things you can create for fun. paint some rocks using glow in the dark paint.( colors to choose from) and make a design or put around base of a tree,

    Whimsy in the garden….old plastic christmas ornaments on a small painted dowel (or other type)…what an easy idea  garden yard art


    Go to Pinterest too!
  • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 24, 2018
    Resist the idea of pots all over the yard. They will look cheap and dinky, and messy. One of the biggest diy yard decor mistakes I have seen is too many too small objects and plant containers scattered all over.
    If you would like pots, then go for the Large colorful ceramic type, start with only one, and plant succulents (no maintenance). You could also insert stiff wire in a shape above the small cacti and , if you put the pot nearby an electrical outlet on your patio area, you could wrap some mini LED lights, to add some sparkle after dark.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 24, 2018
    As you have a tiny backyard, you do not need to hire a professional landscaper. With the artificial grass and the trees already in, the yard has great potential already.
    I would definitely make a circle or kidney-shaped enclosure around the trees using landscaping bricks/blocks. There are many different styles available, and this is a diy project that can easily be completed even if you choose to work at it slowly. Put the weed fabric down first, then the bricks overtop in the shape you want, making at least 2 layers. Gravel can then go on top of the fabric 'inside' enclosure.
    Having this feature will define the area around the trees, and will add some needed dimension to the yard. Birds especially quail, love to hop up on the flat edges under the shade.
    You also might want to consider getting some higher slanted curbing edging stones to sufficiently hold back the gravel from sliding down on to the grass area.
  • FredHughes FredHughes on Mar 24, 2018


  • Donette Donette on Mar 25, 2018
    hi I also live in the Phoenix area. Lantana, fairy duster, dwarf bottle brush, and sage bushes grow very well here. Oleanders are especially easy to grow and would give color as well as, eventually oleanders can offer privacy. These all tend to be basically evergreens in our climate. These can be bought in 1 or 5 gal. buckets that are pretty inexpensive. Good luck.
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