we sectioned off a part of the backyard for DD and put her sandbox in the area.
We back up to the woods, so it is very natural. We have a small container garden.
What other things can i do in the backyard to make it more "montessori-like"?
For our backyard (and if we move closer town so I can start my nature preschool) I love the Arbor Foundation's Nature Explore classroom for inspiration. http://www.arborday.org/shopping/sourcebook/
Here's another great site: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7LSEHW
They're not strict montessori per-se, but nature based exploration ideas. I have a whole file of them on my other computer I can pass along next time I boot it up.
This may not be exactly what you are looking for, and I think it's technically geared for 3 and up, but since you mentioned a garden, here's a link to the plant/garden section of the Michael Olaf Child of the World catalog.
Also, what about a water play table (although the weather may not be the best for it right now)?
I also read this in a Montessori training blog, in reference to preparing the outdoor area:
I would also give her a dedicated spot in which to just be messy - make mud, dig, stack, whatever.
And then inside have a table or a shelf or something that's dedicated to cool "artifacts" from outside: feathers, fancy rocks, interesting sticks, etc so that on days when there is inclement weather you've got a little bit of outside inside.
I love this:
You should post pictures for us :-)