A backyard can mean different things to different people. For the congenial host, a backyard means a great place to gather friends and family on warm summer nights. For the avid gardener, a backyard means a great place to grow prized zucchini and the biggest pumpkins in five city blocks. For the kids, a backyard means a great place to play games of soccer or catch miller moths. For the dog, a backyard means a great place to spend some time after a large meal. No matter what a backyard means to you, chances are you want it to mean something and, chances are, you want it to stand out. If you are nodding your head in agreement, and want your backyard to house a superior deck or a creative garden, then keep reading: this (rose) bud's for you:


A Two-Leveled Backyard: In a world of flat backyards, the two level idea may cause you to open your mouth in shock: backyards, sans the ones right above plate tectonic boundaries, typically aren't two levels. But, maybe they should be. Two levels give your backyard an appeal that one level does not and allows you to get more creative with your landscaping. Perhaps one level is filled with grass, an area where kids and dogs (or deer and antelope) play, and the other is filled with beautiful rock or rose bushes. Whatever it is you decide to put on each of your levels, two levels will undoubtedly give your backyard a whole new dimension.


Put up Night Lights: It's amazing how much night lights can enhance the essence of a backyard. Simply stringing your deck with party lights or putting gold Christmas lights on your trees is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to make your backyard sparkle. For effect, you may also put up tiki torches, making your deck look like something from a tropical island. If you are worried that your lights will attract too many insects, make sure one of the lights you put up is a bug light that'll teach 'em not to trespass.


A Butterfly Garden: Sure, most of us want to keep insects out of our backyards, but butterflies don't deserve exile: they don't bite, they don't spend their lives trying to get inside your house, and, plainly put, they are pretty. For those of you who love butterflies, or simply want to add some beauty to your backyard, consider planting a garden full of nectar-filled flowers, flowers such as Columbines, Begonias, Geraniums, Petunias, and Lilies. Butterflies will flock to these flowers and, if you're really lucky, you might find that your butterfly garden also attracts a hummingbird or two.


Add Some Water: For those of you who live in a landlocked area, bodies of water might not exactly be a hop, skip, and a jump away. Instead of longing for an ocean or a lake, bring a mini-version to you by putting in a fountain or a pond. A fountain or a pond can enhance your backyard, giving it a watery essence it wouldn't otherwise have. These might not be much like the ocean - they won't allow you to snorkel or surf - but, look on the bright side: you won't have to worry about sharks.


Add an Outside Bar: We have all been to a resort where the outside bar was a place we never wanted to leave: a hut made of grass where daiquiris and margaritas flowed like water, it was, simply put, paradise. You might not have a house on a resort, but that doesn't mean you can't put an outside bar in the corner of your deck. It'll take some money, and some work, but an outside bar will eventually give you a great place to host parties and kick back and relax: it might not be exactly like tropical living, but after a few Mai Tai's, you may not know the difference.