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Going Disney: Designing A Backyard Worthy Of Walt Himself

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Is your large back yard a blank canvas, ready to be filled with color and design?  If you are a Disney fan, why not create a Disney-themed backyard, complete with pool and landscaping? Here's how you can visit Disneyland everyday right in your own backyard.

The Pool

If you can't have a Disney resort-sized pool in your yard, that's okay. You can still have a resort feel to your pool if it's in the iconic shape of mouse ears. Otherwise, any asymmetrical pool shape will do. To achieve that blue Disney water, have the inside of the pool painted a bright aquamarine or cerulean.  The darker blue you go, the deeper the pool will seem. A professional can even hand paint Disney characters or images of coral and other sea life.

 If maintaining pool paint is not your style then a simple mosaic of colored tiles, smooth river stones, or even seashells gives the pool its own character. Your mosaics can consist of repeating patterns or random splotches. Adding hidden Mickeys adds to the charm.

Can you image the Magic Kingdom without a mountain? Neither can your pool. Instead of an ordinary waterfall at one end of the pool, just do what Walt Disney did and add a Splash Mountain, Matterhorn or Big Thunder Mountain. Any of these iconic peaks with accompanying water feature are instantly recognizable and add an additional water element. Consider upgrading your waterfall to a waterslide if you have kids.

Landscaping

Throughout Disneyworld, some 800 hanging flower baskets are displayed.  Fortunately, you do not need that many to be incredible! Plenty of colorful flowers are necessary to replicate the fresh, colorful feel of a Disney park. Fill planters and hanging baskets with annuals; they provide relentless blooms until frost. These last all season and increase in length as they cascade over the edge:

  • Petunias
  • Begonias
  • Geraniums
  • Forsythia
  • Verbena

Another iconic Disney garden feature is the Mickey floral near the entrance of the park, a major photo op for guests. Your pool guests will want to have their picture taken in front of yours as well. Mickey's features, planted with masses of colored blooms, can be outlined in stones, bricks, or concrete. If you have a really green thumb, you can leave out the borders and have flowering plants make up the entire design.

Finally, topiary adds magic to any landscaping.  Disney has over 200 topiaries, which take years to grow and prune into shape. Instead, do what the Flower and Garden Show at Epcot does and start with a wire mesh body. This can roughly resemble the shape of a ball, cone, elephant, or Mickey Mouse. On top of this mesh place creeping plants and flowers, stuffed directly into spray painted dead moss for moisture. Or, purchase single boxwood plants and prune them with shears into pyramids and cones.

Finish Up With The Details

Once the pool and landscaping are in place, it's time to add all the details that will make your backyard go from ordinary to Disney.  Take a look at these:

  • Each area of the Magic Kingdom represents a different theme. Decide which theme you like best and copy that. For example, Frontier Land features desert landscaping, whiskey barrel planters, bleached cow horns, and weathered wood and leather finishes. Adventure Land displays a lot of wooden tiki characters, bamboo, tropical greenery, and colorful seating.
  • Disneyland features a lot of whimsical signs and signposts. You can create your own signs directing guests to the pool, the waterfall, the fire pit, or the seating area. Your signs can be stacked up in several jaunty arrows on one central pole, or a single hand painted sign  reflecting your theme.

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