Landscaping Tips for Small Yards

small backyard with foliage and a small shed

Many residents prefer small houses, townhomes, or condos– residences that typically have smaller yards – over large homes. Despite the lack of space, your backyard can become the place to be for your family, friends, and neighborhood. From gardening to entertaining, there are a variety of ways to maximize the functionality of a minimal space.

Create Zones

Trick the eye into seeing a larger space by creating small zones in your yard. Break up open areas with different paths, furniture settings, or flower beds. Leave space between the zones to avoid overcrowding. If the yard feels too cluttered, it will appear even smaller. Choose two to three zones based on the size of your yard. Zone themes could include a dining zone with a table, chairs, and small outdoor kitchen, a seating nook with aromatic flowers and comfortable cushions, a flower bed, a small herb or vegetable garden, a water feature, or a seating area around a fire pit.

Use Long Lines

Long, straight lines are another way to trick the eye into seeing a larger space. Further this illusion by slightly slanting the lines to highlight a chosen focal point or anchor piece. This can be achieved through a fence, retaining wall, rows of flowers, or a stone walkway.

Go Vertical

Horizontal space is limited in small yards. Instead of using plants that grow outward, invest in trees and shrubs that grow upward. Take advantage of vertical space by planting dwarf and columnar plants. Evergreen selections will give your yard color in the winter months, and columnar plants allow more light to reach the smaller plants below. Give your space a larger appearance by utilizing hanging plants, a trellis, wall planters, shelving, or a pergola that plants can grow up. By enhancing your vertical space, the eye will be drawn to the horizon and your yard will feel more spacious.

Play with levels by building a retaining wall or slightly elevated patio. When you see stairs, your gaze moves upward and is distracted from the small square footage. Terraced gardens or platforms are a great example of the benefits of levels.

Take Advantage of Colors

Plant flowers with bold colors in the front of your flowerbeds. This way, the colors grab your attention and cause the rest of the yard to recede out of focus and appear larger. Plant foliage of differing textures to add depth to the flowerbed. Plants that move in the breeze, such as whirling gaura or an ornamental grass, can be low-maintenance options to draw attention to a specified area. Use subtle pops of color to draw attention to your zones by adding a decorative pillow to an outdoor sofa or a bright basin for a water feature. It’s important to have a cohesive color scheme throughout the yard to avoid a cluttered or haphazard appearance.

concrete patio with outdoor dining set, reclining chair, grille, umbrella, and bench

Create a Destination

When creating your zones, make sure to have one location where you and your guests can stop and admire the landscaping. This will be your destination zone. It can be as simple as a cozy reclining chair in a sunny spot or an elaborate dining area under a pergola. Planters can help tie together a paved or stone seating area and strategic lighting can keep your destination functional at all hours. Bright, fragrant flowers can make a cozy area even more pleasant. Keep this area tidy to help tie together your landscaping design and keep everyone feeling welcome.

Take Advantage of Hidden Spaces

Don’t ignore the areas that don’t receive immediate roadside views – such as corners or side yards. Add an attention-grabbing tree, bold flowers, an outdoor art installation, or oversized container with flowers and foliage to draw attention to unexpected areas and make your yard and home appear larger. Side yards also provide opportunities for additional outdoor living spaces.

Stay in Scope

When choosing outdoor furniture for a small yard, limit your purchases to pieces that fit the zone. Don’t buy oversize chairs that will make you sit too close to a firepit or a large sectional that will have to be crammed into a corner nook.

To increase outdoor storage and space, choose dual-purpose pieces. Invest in an outdoor chest to use as a coffee table or a murphy-style bar. Décor can serve multiple purposes. One option is to turn a privacy wall into a shelving wall for plants or a waterfall feature. When purchasing these design features, make sure to stick to the essentials. A small space can get cluttered easily and appear even smaller.

Each of these tactics can help turn your small yard into a beautiful oasis. Maximizing space with tactical foliage and furniture choices can elevate any small space. The landscaping team at Havenscapes is ready to assist you in making your yard appear larger and efficiently achieve your outdoor needs. Contact us today for a consultation and more information.