A small yard can feel incredibly spacious and expansive with the right design elements in mind! It’s easy to transform your small outdoor space into the perfect setting for entertaining, dining or relaxing with the family. From focal points to vertical landscaping, these design ideas will inspire you to create a backyard you love to spend time in.
1. Create Levels
Take advantage of a sloped backyard or just create the illusion of more space by adding dimension to your yard. Terraced outdoor “rooms”, stacked planters or tiered flower beds all add depth and points of interest. Creating levels in your small outdoor space also allows you to designate a use for each and break the space up visually.
2. Use Bold Colors
Just like pops of color make a statement inside your house, bold choices in a limited color palette will draw the eye to your outdoor features. Pick two or three colors to design your backyard around. Opt for bright cushions, pots, seating or flowers to create a cohesive and stylish look that won’t overwhelm.
3. Create Functional Spaces
Consider the ways you envision using your outdoor space the most, whether that’s for entertaining, gardening or relaxing with the family. A small space does not have to limit you to only one of these options. Sections of a small backyard with clear uses can look cohesive, cozy and inviting. Depending on the size of your yard, try incorporating different uses of space like a firepit with seating, a small outdoor bar with stools, a table for summer al fresco dining, or even an outdoor living room.
4. Design On The Diagonal
As with focal points that draw the eye, designing on the diagonal can create the illusion of a larger yard. If your yard will include a deck or patio, lay the boards or paving stones lengthwise and on a diagonal to create a lengthening effect for the entire space. Similarly, pathways heading across your yard on the diagonal have the same visual effect.
5. Divide Your Space
Even with the smallest backyards, dividing the space can make it look like you have more room. Create multiple outdoor areas or “rooms”, like a dining area and a lounge area, or a garden and reading nook. Mark the boundaries of each area with planters, hedges, pavers, or even a change in ground cover like grass to gravel.
6. Create Focal Points
Placing a focal point in your yard draws the eye and creates order in a small yard. Your focal point might be a brightly colored bench, a small water feature, a large, colorful plant or an interesting piece of furniture. Pathways leading to this focal point can make your yard look larger as well as create inspiration and a highlight for your space.
7. Use Vertical Landscaping
When horizontal space is limited, go up! Taller plants can create a lush outdoor space without infringing on too much of your square footage. Combine other plants of various sizes to keep the space cozy but not cluttered. Try a hanging herb garden or container garden on your fence or wall to utilize vertical surfaces and leave more ground free for other uses. Keeping your plants well maintained will ensure they don’t overwhelm your garden.
8. Keep It Simple
When working with a small space, less is more. Keep furniture choices simple and appropriately-sized for your yard, choose a layout that uses your space wisely, and make sure everything in your yard has a purpose or two - like benches that can double as storage. Tidiness and plant maintenance becomes even more important with a small backyard. To make the most of your area, trim plants, keep grass short and have the kids pick up their toys each day.