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You step out of your basement and feel the sun on your face. Drinking it in, you take another step forward and nearly trip over a rock. You survey the overgrown grass and uneven ground leading from your walkout basement and realize that you need a change. Make the area near your walkout basement beautiful and usable with these walkout basement landscaping ideas.

1) ​DIY Patio

One of the simplest but most drastic ways to alter your walkout basement landscape is to add a patio in front of it. This way, you can step outside and relax in some patio chairs. A walkout basement patio is convenient, with electricity only a few feet away. On warm days, you can take a break from the sun by stepping into your basement or open the basement door to extend your patio space. This tutorial will help you lay down patio bricks yourself, or hire a contractor to build your patio.

2) Trellises

Basements can sometimes feel a bit commercial. They’re often impersonal spaces made with hard concrete, so we try to personalize them and soften them. The area outside the basement is no different. When you step outside, you want to feel like you’re in a personal and beautiful space, not in the backyard of a warehouse. While this image is likely a large park, you can achieve a similar effect in your yard. Build a trellis along the walkway leaving your basement. You can then grow your favorite trees or vines to make the area colorful and personal.

3) ​​​​Retaining Wall

When you step out of your basement, you might have a flat yard on either side, but you most likely have some small hills or raised areas. These steep hills are hard to mow, and they don’t look quite finished. Adding a retaining wall will make the space look clean and finished, and you can choose a type of stone that fits your yard. This video is a great in-depth tutorial on building retaining walls, and you can customize the wall to your yard. Think about adding stairs so that you can get up the steep grade with ease.

4) ​​​​Pool

Take a moment to imagine something. You step out of your basement, drop a towel on your patio chair, and dive into a swimming pool. When you finish swimming, you head right for your walkout basement, where you have a shower set up to rinse the pool water off. Not a drop of water makes it into the finished upstairs part of your house. Design a pool like this one, and take full advantage of your walkout basement to create a paradise in your yard.

5) ​​​​​Stone Edging

As you walk out of your basement, you should have a walkway leading to other entrances. It may be right next to the basement door, or on the other side of a patio. Either way, you’ll want more than just a gravel or stone path. Use stone edging like this to line your walkway. You can create a recessed walkway with these by filling the sides in with dirt for flowers or grass and improve the path’s look for a relatively low cost.

6) ​Natural Gas Fire Pit

Sitting by a campfire on a chilly summer night may sound wonderful, but getting up to get firewood repeatedly, or refill a propane tank, does not. A natural gas fireplace can attach to your home’s natural gas lines, and you can run the lines out to your fire pit. Install natural gas lines and install a natural gas fire pit like this one. You can create a recessed fire pit area, or design a patio with a fire pit. This way, you can just step outside, enjoy a campfire, and then turn it off and head inside when you’re done.

7) ​​​Fountain Garden

Imagine leaving your basement and stepping into the yard. Before you lies a garden paradise, with trees, fountains, and miniature ponds. That $100,000 landscaping job may be beyond you, but you can build water features yourself. With this video tutorial, you can make a cheap homemade fountain. Try painting the tire or wrapping it with a durable material to make the fountain look even better. Don’t add fish, as the video maker does, since there is not enough water for big fish.

8) ​​​​​​​Pathway

A pathway of some sort is essential to a functional lawn. Connect your walkout basement to the other entrances to your house, so you never have to use stairs to reach the basement if you don’t want to. This pathway will be convenient if you get older and struggle with stairs, or if you need to carry heavy things from the basement. Create a walkway like this, or build a wider one that wraps around to your front entrance.

9) ​Waterfall

Your house has an interesting topography. That is to say, it’s built into a hill, so the ground isn’t level. Take advantage of the natural rises and dips of your yard to create unique water features, like a waterfall or a series of waterfalls. You can use these tips to plan your waterfall, then build your own or consult a professional to transform your yard into a natural wonderland. Use retaining walls and other features to your advantage, and add stones and small pools to blend the waterfall into the rest of your yard.

10) ​​​​​Walls

If your walkout basement entrance is close to the neighbors, you’ll want to create some visual separation. While trees and plant life work if you have enough space, sometimes a solid barrier works best. Instead of an ugly fence, try creating an attractive wall, like this brick wall. This way, the wall gives you privacy while also serving as a decoration for your yard. You can also achieve a similar effect with a stone or stone-faced wall.

11) ​​​Hot Tub

There are few feelings better than slipping into a warm hot tub and feeling the jets against your back. Imagine this; you step out of the warm water, relaxed and ready to go inside. You wrap a towel around yourself and go into your walkout basement. The cool air hits your skin, leaving you refreshed after some time in the outside heat. There’s a shower and change of clothes ready for you in the basement, so you don’t track any water upstairs. Use this article to help plan your hot tub so you can fully enjoy the hot tub experience.

12) ​​​Pergola or Arbor

Unlike some yards, your yard will have an entrance way that you can incorporate into the landscaping. Often, one of the advantages of having a walkout basement is being able to carry things around the house instead of using stairs, so you’ll want a broad path leading to it. Make the entrance to the basement shine by adding a pergola or an arbor like this one. This arch creates an attractive entrance to your yard, and the cedar material will help keep bugs away from your basement entrance and yard.

13) ​River Rocks

Water features are a fantastic way to transform your yard. Since you have a separate entrance to this yard, you can turn it into a small, isolated paradise. Build water features using landscaping cloth or solid pond liners. Solid pond liners are great for small pools, and landscaping cloth keeps water from draining from your other features. Line everything with these pebbles to make them look like real streams running through your paradise. Since your house is built into a hill, you can take advantage of the two levels of terrain to make it look like a real stream.

14) Recessed Patio

This landscaping design really takes advantage of a walkout basement. The area in front of the basement is recessed, with a two-tiered retaining wall enclosing the space. Some contractors advise against two-tiered retaining walls, but you can always build one tier, then add plants to make it look like two tiers. The porch covers the basement entrance, leaving a shaded area to relax as well as the full patio. Make sure to add stairs so you can go up to the yard anytime you want.

How does your landscape look? Did we miss any neat walkout basement landscaping ideas? Every walkout basement is unique, with many special considerations. Tell us about your house in the comments below!

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