Some creative landscaping ideas include adding a pergola, using topiary plants or installing a Japanese-style garden. Pergolas are freestanding shade structures with no walls, and they usually have a slatted roof and four posts. They are often used to create seating areas, such as ones tucked away in a garden setting. Elaborate ones may have stone floors, a solid roof and an entertainment area. The simple wooden structures project a casual vibe.
Topiaries are plants that have been shaped into different designs. These plant sculptures range from simple pom-pom trees and a single slender stem with a round pom-poms at the top, to elaborate sculptures of pyramids, cubes and animals. One popular idea is to use two spiral-shaped topiaries on either side of an entryway. These are usually made of some type of juniper or another evergreen. Once-a-year trimming is required.
Japanese gardens may be elaborate or deceptively simple. If there's enough space, a Tsukiyama garden works well. These gardens have ponds, arched bridges, built up mini-hills, stones, trees, flowers and pathways leading to half-hidden seating areas.
If space is limited or taking care of such a garden is impractical, the Karesansui garden may work. Also known as the Zen garden, it is mostly made of stones, pebbles or coarse sand, with little, if any, greenery. A typical design uses small pebbles to represent water, with patterns raked on the surface to represent waves. Strategically placed rocks are the islands in that sea. The border may be created by edging stones or contrasting pebbles, with a bench installed for meditating.