You occasionally fire up the grill and eat on the patio, and the dog loves running around the lawn. It’s nice to spend time in the back yard, but except for a few daylilies growing along the back of the house, two boring trees and a couple of patio containers, there’s really not much to look at. You know your yard could be far more colorful, interesting and inviting – you just don’t know where to start.

Design by Function Kidney Shaped Perennial Garden

This perennial garden adds a lot of personality to your backyard.

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Big or small, a colorful perennial garden can transform an uninspiring yard into a beautiful outdoor getaway. (And considering that “outdoor living space” is one of the top three criteria realtors and homebuyers look for in a landscape, a well-designed, attractive perennial bed might even help your property value!)

This kidney-shaped perennial garden has a lot to offer an otherwise boring back yard. Its curved lines bring a gentle, restful presence to the garden, as well as interest – and if that’s not enough to draw the eye, all the gorgeous plants growing there will! Pick your favorite trailing, upright and mounding perennials to bring splashes of color and texture. A flowering tree and some bloom-filled shrubs can offer wonderful fragrance, while an evergreen hedge in the back of the bed works as a nice backdrop. (And if privacy is an issue, some screen plantings placed behind your bed and along the inside of your property line will help block the view of any curious neighbors.)

But don’t just stop with the plants! If you have the room, extend your perennial garden beyond the planting bed. Consider adding some nearby stepping stones that lead to an attractive arbor. This extra touch further helps define your space, as well as offers some nice variety and a little height. Invite a climbing rose or perennial to scale the arbor, and you’ll have more than just architectural interest!

If your yard isn’t large enough to accommodate a big garden or any extras, that’s okay. You can modify this design plan and reduce the number of perennial favorites and their blooming companions. As long as the plants you select are ones that fit the appropriate function in the design and will thrive under your particular property conditions (sun-loving plants for sun-loving areas, etc.), you’ll be good to grow – and enjoy outdoor living beyond just eating on the patio.

Remember, when you shop for plants, pick the ones you like that match the functions identified on the plan!