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A Beginner’s Guide to Landscape Design with Tilly 

When considering raised garden beds for your yard, it’s important to be thoughtful about their placement. You’ll need to consider sun exposure, protection from local pests, access to your home and your overall yard layout. Their placement is critical to your harvest’s success and it comes down to thinking about the design and functionality of your space.

If you’re struggling with placement and seamlessly incorporating raised garden beds into your yard, you’re not alone. Design is really hard. That’s why we reached out to the professionals at Tilly, an online landscape design company that creates custom plans for homeowners nationwide, to share with you some beginner tips on how to think about design within your backyard. Tilly matches homeowners with professional landscape designers in their region to create custom designs. You’ll ‘meet’ your designer on a video call and can give them a virtual tour of your yard, discussing your goals, obstacles and needs. The result is a beautiful landscape plan that you can DIY or share with a contractor. Also, you can conveniently order your plan’s plants from their fulfillment center at Bower & Branch, making it easy to execute your design.

Tilly has designed raised garden beds into thousands of client’s yards across the country so we’re excited to share their helpful tips on how to optimize your space. Read on to learn more… and don’t miss their exclusive discount code generously offered to Garden In Minutes® blog readers at the end of this post

Backyard  Raised Garden Bed Design Landscaping Design By Tilly

A 3D render of a raised garden bed in a Tilly client’s yard

Getting Started – Prioritize Your Needs

Before you dive into a backyard design project, it’s important to take a moment to assess and prioritize your unique needs. Consider who and how you will be using the space – kids? adults? pets? Is it a family-friendly haven, a place to entertain, or a sanctuary for relaxation? 

Then take into account your priorities – is having a hot tub more important than a playspace area your kids may grow out of shortly? Will having a raised garden area bring you more joy than a fire pit destination? Prioritize your wants and then start to tackle how to fit them all into your design. Also consider your budget and remember that phasing a landscape design plan is a great way to go about getting your dream yard. 

Aerial View of Backyard Landscape Design

An aerial view of a backyard layout that includes a fire pit, hot tub, raised garden beds and more 


Understand Your Existing Yard Conditions 

Understanding the unique conditions of your yard is critical in crafting a successful landscape design. Begin by observing the sunlight and shade across your outdoor space. This knowledge will guide your choice of plants, ensuring they thrive in their designated spots. Also pay attention to areas of where you may have drainage issues, as these will also influence your plant selection and placement.

Next, turn your attention to the soil. Assess its composition and drainage capabilities – is it clay-like? sandy? Knowing your soil type allows you to select plants that will flourish in your specific environment. If necessary, soil amendments can be incorporated to optimize conditions.

Consider any existing features or hardscape elements that are staying in your new yard. Are there pathways, patios, plants, trees or structures you want to preserve or work around? It’s important to consider the space holistically so you create a landscape that feels cohesive and purposeful.

Raised Beds Surrounded By A Fence In A Tilly Designed Backyard

Raised garden beds surrounded by a fence in a large Tilly backyard 

Create a Master Plan

Once you understand your priorities, needs, and yard conditions, it’s time to craft a plan. Having a master plan to follow will ultimately save you time, money and make sure everything works together – even if you phase your design over time. 

The Tilly design team often starts by creating “outdoor rooms.” For example, a fire pit area, dining space, raised garden destination, playspace, etc. When you define your outdoor spaces based on functionality, the layout starts coming together. 

While you may think that creating different entertaining areas is only for large yards, think again! Small yards are actually some of the best candidates for really defining the different desired spaces. And overall, a yard will feel bigger with this type of organization. 


Garden Design Backyard California

A raised garden bed tucked in a side yard in a small California backyard 

Select Your Plants & Trees

Just as selecting the right plants for your raised garden beds is extremely important, the selection of plants and trees for your backyard is nothing short of pivotal. First you’ll need to understand your climate and zone. Select plants that work in your zone to ensure their success. Opt for native plants which will be low maintenance and help your local wildlife as well! At Tilly, we also always incorporate trees into our designs! Trees help a yard feel established and will offer some wonderful shade in the heat of the summer. 

Style is another essential factor when selecting plants. Are you drawn to a formal, structured garden or a more relaxed, naturalistic landscape? Are you looking for a colorful cottage garden or a more muted yard with mostly greens, whites and soft purples. Your style and color preferences will influence your plant choices. 

When considering the layout of your plants you will want to think about layering to make the garden feel full. You’ll also want to consider seasonality so you have something blooming at different times of the year. 

Colorado Backyard Landscape Design with Raised Beds and Pergola

A Tilly backyard in Colorado with a pergola over a dining area and raised garden beds 

Design Tips for a Raised Garden Bed Area 

Adding a raised garden bed area to your yard can be a great way to enhance your outdoor space. It’s important to ensure that the garden bed blends seamlessly with its surroundings. To do this, consider the placement first. Choose a location that receives ample sunlight, preferably at least six hours of direct sun each day. Ensure that it is easily accessible for maintenance and that you have proper irrigation facilities.

Next, focus on the design. Raised beds not only offer better drainage for your plants but can also have a modern and organized look. Choose materials that complement your landscape’s overall design. At Tilly, we recommend using Garden In Minutes metal beds as they are durable, long-lasting, have a finish that can look new for decades, and they have Garden Grids™ and custom-length hoses to keep your irrigation neat and tidy. Additionally, GIM garden beds have rectangular ends instead of rounded, which provides far more design freedom and structure since you have all flat surfaces that can be flush with each other, making them suitable for any landscape style or setting.

To further enhance the style and functionality of your garden area, consider incorporating paths or stepping stones around the beds for easy access and maintenance. Depending on the critters in your area, you may also need a fence around the space. There are many different styles of fencing, and you can browse Pinterest for initial design ideas.

With these considerations in mind, your raised garden bed area will not only be a functional addition but can also be a beautiful focal point in your yard.

A Tilly design with a stepping stone path to an enclosed garden bed area

Enjoy Your Yard

Updating your yard can be overwhelming, but the results are worth it! A great yard that’s well landscaped can be a wonderful extension of your home – offering more outdoor time and the opportunity to enjoy hobbies! There is nothing like a beautiful backyard to enjoy with friends and family. 

If you’re thinking you want some expert input from a professional landscape designer, we get it! Working with a professional upfront can ultimately save you a ton of time and money. 

Exclusive Tilly Offer For GIM Readers

If you’d like to learn more, check out Tilly’s landscape design packages here and you can use coupon code GIM150 for $150 off any of their landscape design packages. 

Happy Gardening! 

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