If you are still looking at dirt, mud and plants that need care and watering, you got this all wrong. The yards in front and behind your home can be wild meadows, desert vistas, paths into the unknown and even a veritable canvas on which to display your personal brand of ingenuity and design.

Spring 2016 has already sprung and the summer will be with us soon bringing warm nights and lots of sun. The time to think big in the backyard without blowing a hole in your financial plan is right now.

Following are 11 Landscaping Ideas to recreate your garden in an attractive and engaging way.

1. Perennials at the Perimeter

Create a lush hedge of summer-flowering perennials along the edge of your property outlining the boundaries between neighbors or even the adjoining road. Some great options for this project would be the echinacea Coconut Lime, Digitalis Ferruginea Foxgloves, phlox paniculata David, Aster Bluebird and Platycodons.

Buffers of perennials around the rim of your garden is a great replacement for ugly fences that can give your garden the boxed in look. Oh, don’t forget the tough and hardy eutrochium plant, Joe Pye with pretty pink flowers grows just about everywhere.

2. The Mirror Effect

Backyards of all sizes can be cleverly divided in two by an attractive walkway, or even a staircase if the garden slants, that bisects the length of the garden. A cooling and relaxing effect is achieved by mirroring the gardens on either side of the division.

It’s not necessary to repeat every plant on the other side of your mirror-image. The effect is best perfected by seeking rhythm and repetition of colors, sizes and shapes by side-by-side plantings. A project like this should be ongoing and constantly rebalancing itself, till a satisfactory symmetry is achieved.

3. Family Firepit

Create a corner of the garden that the family can gather round for strengthening ties and roasting marshmallows. Choose a corner of the yard on the edge of the property that is furthest away from the home, this will create the far and away feel to this special spot.

Setting up a distant destination in the corner also makes the yard feel a bit more spacious.

4. Create a Living Salad Bar

You will want to fence it in though, there are all kinds of foragers from the animal kingdom that might try and take advantage of your feast. Plant your favorite veggies in raised beds extra zucchini please and prepare for a summer of feasting on salads and zucchini delights.

Some of the  greatest edibles to raise yourself are lettuce, which is ready in just a couple of weeks, and tomatoes, with their attractive red orbs these make an excellent tutorial to the world of veggie gardening.

5. A Path into the Unknown

An air of mystery and adventure can be added to gardens of all sizes, all it requires is a little positioning and sense of depth. A path leading to the unknown can be accomplished with some subtle curves and shrouding perennials planted alongside the path ó be sure those perennials do a good job of shrouding the final destination ó even if it’s just the water hose.

Combining a shading-mysterious path, a family firepit and a perimeter of perennials will produce an effect that is sure to win best garden on the block and is not nearly as costly as you’d think, especially if you DIY all the way.

On that note, a combination of two or more of these 11 Landscaping Ideas is a perfect start to a garden of your personal design.

6. Outdoor lighting

Summer nights will bring dinner outdoors under the night sky and chirping crickets. For a splash of festivity string up some cafe style lights or go for a rustic look with some strategically placed tiki torches they never get old.

7. N is for Nice Napping in a Neat Nook

Creating a destination in the garden is a time honored tradition. Places to think, places to play but the most rewarding of all would be a shady place to take a relaxing nap. You will need some sturdy trees, you could lie under an umbrella but you would miss the sunlight filtering through the foliage overhead.

Then you will need a hammock, and badabing; you are set for some lazy summer afternoons. Lemonade?

8. The Wild Meadow

And speaking of Lazy summers, how about not watering and mowing anymore? You are only wasting water, time and effort. There is a natural alternative to the manicured lawn called the wild meadow. Tear up the lawn and fill the area with tough native wildflowers.

9. Go artificial

Perhaps the whole watering and mowing rigamarole is too much, but you still want the turf? Never fear! Human innovation has produced an artificial substitute that looks great, doesn’t need to be watered or mowed and is pretty comfy underfoot. Don’t think less of your garden if you go the artificial way, it’s a perk of living in the modern era.

10. Art in the Grass

Isamu Nouchi, artist and designer from the mid- 20th Century, once said that ìI see my garden as a sculpture of Space.î Bringing an artistic touch to your garden and lawn can be done with the inclusion of a sculpture or even just some abstract rock formations deftly placed around the garden.

11. Keeping the Vermin at Bay

Certain people living on the fringes of the great backdoors, sometimes report problems with deer, rabbits and even wild pigs breaking into the garden and consuming the Begonias, or whatever. There are ways to keep our persistent animal friends at bay without going ballistic on them or turning your garden into a high security fortress.

Depending on the type of intruder your are perturbed by, there are many attractive and effective fencing options. See your local animal control specialist or local gardening outlet for specific ideas for thwarting the intruders common in your area.

In Closing

So there you have the best 11 Landscaping Ideas for this summer. Be sure to document your process carefully and take tons of pictures, this way you can expect and even better production next year.