Featured Image for Blog, Backyard Ideas for Central Texas Homeowners, by Best of Texas Landscapes

Backyard Ideas for Central Texas Homeowners

Enjoy Your Yard in the Heart of Texas

While we love our great state, and try to act like it's not really that bad to "outsiders," let's all just admit that the Texas heat can be sweltering.

Without the right elements in your backyard, it can be easy to find yourself staying in the safety and comfort of the AC. The problem is, it's good for you to be outside. It's good for your mental and physical health. It's good for your Vitamin D levels and your sleep cycle. And it's not just good for the kids to "go outside and play" (or us for that matter) it's necessary.

So how do you make yourself go outside when it's sooo hot? How do you create a happy space for you and your kids? We've got a few tips just for you.

Covered patio and outdoor kitchen by Best of Texas Landscapes in Leander, Texas

Stay Cool in the Shade

Who wants to sit and bake in the sun (if you're over the age of 18)? For the most part, we only enjoy a full-sun experience when we're moving around.

When designing the layout of your backyard, make sure you have a shady area to give you some relief during the heat of the day. This can be as simple as utilizing a large tree in your yard or adding a sail cover. If you'd like to take a little more advantage of your space, you can construct a more durable cover to make space for a more refined lounge area or outdoor kitchen.

Take things up a notch and install a fan or water cooling system around the border of your cover for a refreshing breeze.

Make it Cozy & Private

Give your yard a more cozy appeal with a privacy feature.

Add lattice or create living walls with creeping plants. Create a private nook in your yard by utilizing an existing corner or side-wall, or place it where you want to spend more time, like near your garden or a naturally scenic space.

To give your backyard nook a cohesive feel, build a patio of wood or stone, or use small pebbles to define the boundaries of your space.

Bring on the Entertainment

One small problem with spending more time outdoors is that it's so hard for us to disconnect. We can approach this in a number of ways. One way would be to cut off your media when you go outside. Let your battery on your phone die and forget the TV for a few hours.

Or - you can succumb to your 1st world self and install the basics to keep you entertained.

Add electric outlets near your sitting area or back patio. Make it easy on yourself and get the plug-ins that already include the USB port.

Install a fan and some outdoor speakers.

Mount a TV under your new patio cover.

Now pop open a cold one, sit back and relax.


Don't Be Scared of The Dark

Let's not forget lighting!

Lighting is not just a great idea for your backyard to give focus and depth to your favorite elements, it's also great for safety and your own sense of security.

Install outdoor lighting in your backyard where you want to hang out, walk freely, or keep any would-be burglars from prowling around.

Sprinkler Systems

You may not immediately think of sprinkler systems as being your ticket to an outdoor wonderland. But have you ever tried to walk barefoot or do a cartwheel in dead grass? It doesn't feel good.

Watering your lawn on a regular basis is time-consuming. We get it. By installing a smart watering system in your yard, you'll not only save yourself time and water, you'll give yourself the gift of a lawn you love to look at and one your kids can tumble on without a fuss.

These are just a few ideas for your backyard to help you beat the Texas heat and get some fun in the sun this summer. If you're looking for help to design your outdoor destination or makeover your backyard, contact us for a free consulation.

Blog featured image for Best of Texas Landscapes, "Take it Outside"

50 Ways to Take it Outside

Are you running out of ways to keep the kids entertained? To keep yourself entertained? We may be stuck at home, but we can still find ways to have a little fun. We also need to make sure we're getting our daily dose of Vitamin D to stay healthy and keep our spirits up.

Use these ideas to avoid getting cabin fever and take it outside.

Backyard Fun When You're Stuck at Home

  1. Build an outdoor fort
  2. Build a fairy house or take it one step further with a whole garden
  3. Star gaze - Download an app to find the constellations
  4. Get artsy with chalk or water soluble paint
  5. Hunt for worms
  6. Play flashlight tag
  7. Go on a nature scavenger hunt
  8. Create a nature journal to collect and record what you find
  9. Make a bird feeder and watch the birds
  10. Make luminaries and light up your driveway
  11. Make a rock garden
  12. Backyard Bowling - set up "pins" with whatever you've got handy and use your ball of choice
  13. Water balloon race - hold your balloon with a large kitchen spoon in front of you as you race across the yard. Don't drop it! Best as a relay.
  14. Get active - set up a workout circut the whole family can do. Jump rope, skip, whatever gets your heart pumping.
  15. Meditate - practice mindfullness with quiet time circles, stretching, yoga or reading aloud
  16. Go all in picnic style and lunch outdoors or host a fancy tea party
  17. Paint rocks with uplifting messages or pretty pictures
  18. Make a time capsule
  19. Make an outdoor race car track
  20. Go camping in the backyard
  21. Take the TV outside and do movie night under the stars
  22. Turn up the music and make it a dance party
  23. Water Play - Chase the kids with the hose or make it a limbo game, water's always fun
  24. Got a tarp and a sprinkler? Splash pad!
  25. Water balloon pinatas anyone?
  26. Bubbles! Make your own bubble solution and get huge bubbles with a couple of sticks and some twine.
  27. Hula Hoop contest
  28. Jump rope contest
  29. Family sack race - large pillow cases work great!
  30. Order a hammock
  31. Make a swing
  32. Design an outdoor play zone
  33. Create a reading nook or garden teepee
  34. Set up a miniature golf course
  35. Lots of boxes from all those deliveries? Set up an angry birds IRL with boxes, balloons and your stuffed animal "angry bird."
  36. Use a little spray paint to make your own outdoor Twister board
  37. Create an outdoor puppet theater
  38. Play a lawn game like horseshoes or bean bag toss
  39. Order a tumble mat
  40. Has everyone grown out of those old hoola hoops? Cut them in half and grab some old golf clubs for a game of croquet
  41. Design your garden retreat
  42. Spruce things up with outdoor lighting
  43. Paint an outdoor chalkboard
  44. Build a sun-dial
  45. Build an obstacle course for remote control cars
  46. Turn that old storage unit into a She-Shed or Man-Cave
  47. Got a kiddie pool lying around? See who can build a mini-boat that floats - challenge your family to use whatever they can find.
  48. Got a competitive streak? Make your own Family Olympics challenge.
  49. Does everyone need a timeout? Make personal sheet tents with a hoola hoop, draped with a sheet, hanging from a tree limb.
  50. Get crafty with 85 more ways to transform your backyard
Angry Birds In Real Life
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Make Your Outdoor Space Liveable

If you're thinking to yourself, "Our backyard is the last place anyone wants to hang out..." give us a call. Whether you're dealing with dead grass that hurts to play on, drainage issues that create messy situations, or even a lack of privacy - we can help turn your backyard into an extension of your home everyone will want to enjoy. You didn't buy an apartment, why live like you're still in one?

It's time to get creative and take advantage of the blessings we have. It's time to take it outside!

Featured image for blog post about small yard landscape designs by Best of Texas Landscapes

Landscape Designs for Small Yards

Urban area neighborhoods notoriously have small front or backyards, and sometimes both. These small spaces can often go unutilized, resulting in bare, unattractive plots in what would otherwise be a beautiful property. What's worse - the functionality of your property is diminished.

You paid for every square foot of property your home sits on ⎯ why not take advantage of it?

Paths & Walkways

Turn that unused space in between homes into a functional walkway. Not only will you be able to utilize the space better, but it will increase security and deter prowlers when it doesn't seem like an area that's regularly ignored (they also don't like cactus around windows). Adding indigenous plants will also help to decrease the amount of maintenance required.

(Want the rustic, cactus look without the thorns? Spinless Prickly Pear is a really a thing. Unfortunately for all of us from Texas, it's not the version of the plant we're most accustomed to.)

Side yard landscaping by Best of Texas Landscapes
Front patio landscape design by Best of Texas Landscapes

Porch & Patio Landscaping

Use the patches around your patio and porches to add texture and color to your home's facade. Adding different sized plants will give your design some depth. Use natural stones to create steps for easy access to places you'll need to reach.

Types of step stones:

  • Natural Stone
  • Paver/Block steps
  • Granite/Bluestone


Natural Stone & Gravel

Using a mixture of different products adds texture and variety to an otherwise boring landscape. As an added bonus, with a design like this, you won't need a mower or weed eater. Talk about a low maintenance yard!

Popular types of gravel & rock:

  • Lava Rock
  • Crushed Granite
  • Pea Gravel
  • Glass Gravel
  • River Rock
  • Slate Chips
Natural stone path by Best of Texas Landscapes

Do you try your best to ignore your yard during the walk to your mailbox? What if it was a space you could use? What if it was a space that made you happy just by looking at it? A small outdoor area doesn't have to mean you lock yourself indoors. Let's find a way to make it a space you can use and be proud of. We'll create an outdoor extension to your home that's so fluid and inviting you'll wonder how you ever spent so much time inside.

Best of Texas Landscapes design images from 2019

2019 Year in Review

What a year! With a growing and awesome crew, and amazing clients, 2019 has been one for the books. We’ve continued to prove that our team knows no limits when it comes to what they can do. From expert-level design to the best that masonry has to offer, our crews continue to blow us all away.

Transform Your Yard with Hardscapes This Winter

Room to Dream

It seems like everyone is moving to the Austin metro these days! While the Austin suburbs grow up around us out in the Hill Country, just a short drive north east of Austin, in towns like Salado, Jarell and Florence, being a homeowner can still easily mean you’re going to need a riding lawn mower as well.

With room to breathe and dream, owning a home with land gives you the opportunity to create whatever you want. It can also be a daunting task to figure out where you should begin or how it will all work together.

Covered rock patio with fire pit

The Benefits of Winter

Where will the paths lead? What type of sitting areas do they go to? What elements do you want to include? Should the outdoor kitchen go here? Or a fire pit there?

The winter months, when your space is less cluttered with greenery, is a great time to visualize a plan for your landscape. It’s also the perfect time to build hardscape structures like patios, paths or outdoor living areas. Take the opportunity now to create a year-long solution for your landscape design that you can enjoy from one season to the next.

Hardscapes & Outdoor Living Spaces

If you’re lucky enough to have the space to dream of more for your home, get some inspiration for hardscapes and landscape designs for your home below.


Stone Pathway in Grass
natural stone walkway with gravel and rock and plant accents


Outdoor Kitchen


Outdoor Fireplace


Landscape design in Liberty Hill, Texas by Best of Texas Landscapes

Love Where You Live

Aren't you ready to stop planning and start enjoying your new backyard, or front yard…or both? If you're one of the lucky ones, give the space you've invested in the heart and attention it deserves, or in other words, love where you live.

Give the landscape design and build team at Best of Texas Landscapes a call today at 512-240-1433 to schedule your consultation. We are your turn-key solution to all of your landscape needs!