Tips to make your property a magnificent venue for those vows

By Matt Keppel

Picture it: picnic tables, crepe-paper streamers, balloons, paper wedding bells, a juggler and an accordion player for musical accompaniment.  Wouldn’t you just LOVE to have your wedding reception at home? If your vision doesn’t match George’s in the classic movie, “Father of the Bride,” then you will want to make some improvements to transform your backyard into a venue worthy of the occasion.

But first things first. Is a backyard wedding and/or reception right for you?  The biggest consideration is whether the space you have will accommodate the number of people you want to invite. If it will, then you’re no doubt going to want to make some landscape changes and improvements. Keep in mind that many improvements can add to the value of your home as well as making it fit for a wedding, which is great news.

Here are a few ideas and tips for turning your backyard into an amazing venue for that special day:

  • Hire a wedding planner or coordinator to look over the space. These professionals can help you determine the number of people your backyard can reasonably handle and envision the flow and function of your event. A good wedding planner will also provide ideas for making the area gorgeous, all the while helping you make other important decisions: dance floor and DJ? Best ceremony space? Table and chairs for dinner? Tent or canopy?
  • Next, call a landscape contractor and meet with him or her to work out what can physically be accomplished, the cost for the project, and how long it will take to make your vision reality.
  • Consider using flagstone or other attractive pavers, set in designs, to create walkways and patio seating areas (where you can place tables and chairs) that really stand out.
  • Consider adding stonework seating areas and a pergola; these are always a nice touch.
  • Install flower beds and strategically placed pottery. Container greenery and flowers will create a garden setting worthy of your nuptials.
  • Ensure your landscape’s longevity! Install a sprinkler system to keep your landscape alive and flourishing for years to come.
  • If your home—like so many of the homes in the Prescott area—has decorative rock hardscaping, make sure it is clean and hasn’t degraded too much. If you see thin spots, have some additional rock brought in to regain acceptable depths and ultimately your landscape’s handsome appearance.
  • Prune trees and/or plant new ones. Trees should be given serious consideration since they’ll remain long after the event. In addition to thinking about how they’ll look on that special day, consider how they’ll look in winter, clean-up if they’re deciduous, and long-term care needs.
  • If you love the beauty of green grass as a backdrop to an elegant affair, keep in mind that today’s artificial grass is the product most often selected for upgrading outdoor living spaces. It makes a smart and stunning addition to any backyard event.
  • Remember lighting! While all these landscape and hardscape elements can be brought together to create a spectacular outdoor space for this very special day, lighting is the pièce de résistance. Where under-plant spots add subtle definition to all the surrounding plants and features, hanging lanterns and twinkle lights woven into the greenery will turn your outdoor living area into a dazzling wonderland. It figures that it’s the simplest element that will probably outshine all the hard work.

If I sound like I’m waxing poetic and romantic, it’s my wife Rachel’s fault. Happy planning and congratulations on the upcoming nuptials.

Matt Keppel ….