Creating a beautiful backyard is easier in some locations than others. In places like coastal California or Washington state, there is abundant rain, which is quite conducive to the growing of plants and trees. In desert places, it is often harder to keep plants alive. Merciless sun and heat will all but the hardiest vegetation. But in cooler, wetter places, keeping sun-loving plants is difficult.
To keep up a great-looking backyard, there are two main tactics, and they are sometimes combined. One is to simply plant trees and shrubs that are native to similar climates. Instead of constantly fighting against the natural conditions, plant things that thrive where you are. The second option is to create and cultivate micro climates. A yard, especially a large one, is not a completely homogenous set of conditions from one end to the other. Some areas are warmer, some more humid and other receive more light.
The south side of a building, especially one painted white, can be many degrees warmer than the north side. Sun-loving plants may thrive here even if planted in an area that does not receive much sun. People who live in a sunny area can plant ferns, ivy and other shade-loving plants under the shelter of trees on the north side of a house. In a hot, dry climate, grass might be too much of a liability to keep watered. However, a small patch of grass near the house, on the north side of a fence, hedge or other screen can often be managed quite easily.