5 Tips To Create A Backyard Haven

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Story by Jeanie Erwin

Wanting to create that outdoor space that sings “this is me” but don’t know where to start? KCH&S shares how-to tips gathered from Chris Feldkamp, owner of Land Design Group of Roeland Park, who specializes in creating unique outdoor spaces that fit your individual style and budget.


Small townhome garden with patio furniture amidst blooming lavender.


1.  Work With Your Surroundings

“No matter if your yard is flat or has some variations in height, look at it as a design opportunity. A hilly yard adds character and can separate spaces. A flat yard can be a clean canvas waiting for your creative touch,” Feldkamp continues. “Look closely at what you already have and make choices based on those more permanent elements. If you have a large tree for example, choose plants that could survive in shade or stonework that can withstand the elements to which they will be exposed.”

2.  Know Your Budget

Feldkamp shared his most indispensable encouragement: “I think the most important thing to remember is that any space can look stunning on any budget. Budget does not have to restrain you when you find great inspiration. Look in magazines, on the internet, and visit stone yards. You can have the look and feel you want in an unlimited number of ways.”


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3.  Keep It Low Maintenance

“As you create your backyard space, consider long-term maintenance,”  says Feldkamp. “One of the biggest mistakes most people make is in plant choice and plant location. All plants need some type of maintenance so choose ones that can be managed well with the amount of time and effort you want to invest. The location also adds to the maintenance factor as the right plant in the wrong location may not  survive and need replacing.” He adds, “Stone and pavers also need care, so keep that in mind as you choose.”


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4.  Make It Reflect Your Personal Style

“I always recommend that clients go to the stone yard to find some inspiration. There is so much variation in stone and pavers that it surprises most people. If you are struggling with how to make your space reflect your style, this is a great place to start for design inspiration.” Asking yourself the right questions is also important. “Look at the rest of your life for inspiration as well. Do you love color or do you like things to look crisp and clean? Whatever your design aesthetic, you can absolutely carry that over into your backyard haven.”


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5.  Know How You Will Use The Space

“Before you start your design, it is important to know how you will use the space as it will affect your choices. Do you want to entertain and do you need space for the children to play? Once you determine how you will use the space you can let that guide the kind of materials you will use and their durability or where you will carve out space for each activity. You may want to put the play area within view of a window or you may want to define an area to entertain.”

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