Are you planning a backyard wedding this year or next? If so, now is the time to get started on crafting the perfect landscape. Because landscape design and execution take time, you may need a full season or even a full year to prepare the yard. Here are five steps to use that time right.

1. Plan Your Scheme.

The first step is to plan out what you want to achieve. Most couples who want backyard nuptials have a vague idea of what they want, but you'll need to get down to the nitty-gritty before you start planting and pruning. Start with a color scheme and mood to accomplish. Plan out a variety of specific flowers and shrubbery you can use to achieve those colors and style. Then, determine exactly where you want each stage of the wedding or reception to occur. 

2. Use the Season.

When is the wedding going to happen? The season largely dictates the bloom selection. If you focus on using flowers and greenery from your lists that are native to the season, you'll spend less money and have less work to reach greater landscape success. Even if you plan to supplement planted landscape with containers and floral arrangements, the right timing will make things easier and cheaper to acquire. 

3. Make the Yard Hardy.

Beef up the yard's ability to thrive between now and the big day — and to survive the pummeling of the actual wedding — by making it hardier. Fertilize, aerate, and trim the lawn for maximum health. If planting a new lawn for the event, choose a hardy native grass. Install automated watering systems targeted for each area and type of plant. And select native species that will do well in your climate.  

4. Look Up.

Sometimes, landscape designs for a wedding focus on what's at eye level and below while overlooking what's above that. Check out the sights from all angles — such as those of seated guests, people mingling during cocktail hour, and people entering the yard. And create a tall backdrop or two for the ceremony and full-length pictures. Vines, small trees, fast-growing shrubs, bamboo, and container gardens help set the scene vertically. 

5. Specialize the Lighting. 

The final aspect of most backyard weddings is a custom outdoor lighting plan. Think about how you can achieve your desired look with modern lighting techniques. This could include up-lights, 'moonlight' effects in trees, solar stake lighting on paths, LED lights, and string lighting. Some of this can be done just before the wedding while others require more installation work. 

The more you plan now for future backyard nuptials, the more success you'll have and the less work it will be. Start today by consulting with a custom landscaping company familiar with your region and climate.