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Your Small Yard: Strategies for Enjoying Your Own Outdoor Space

Small garden in the courtyard of the Italian city

If you’ve got a tiny back yard, it can be difficult to imagine turning it into a productive, relaxing place to be. Yet with the right design elements and a bit of planning it’s possible to maximize the space you have and turn it into your own personal outdoor haven.

The key is to use the space you have available wisely. Here are some things to consider for your own backyard:

Research Your Options

Sometimes searching for ideas about how others have turned small yards into cozy outdoor spaces can spark your imagination. Spend a bit of time checking out some things other people have done to decorate or dress their small yards to appear larger. There are plenty of gardening sites or landscaping sites around offering lots of creative ideas and helpful hints for things you can do. Websites such as Backyardville also offer a huge variety of tips and tricks for maximizing the space in your back yard.

Vertical Gardens

A vertical garden is the ideal way to turn boring walls or bland fences into lush walls of green beauty. You can create a vertical garden out of any range of materials. For example, you might put up a trellis and hang pots or planters from it to fill with a range of flowering plants. Alternatively, you might use pot hangers to strategically plant a vertical herb garden.

Hanging Plants

The ground space in your outdoor area might be limited, so why not take advantage of areas overhead? If your patio has a veranda or pergola, put some hanging pots around. Fill your hanging pots with bright flowers or even strawberries, if you prefer to grow edible plants.

Tiered Planters

Container gardening is an excellent way to make the most of a small yard. However, if your containers and planting are starting to intrude on the space you have available, why not think about tiering your planters?

Tiered planters allow you to take advantage of growing things vertically, while minimizing the space you use on the ground.

Companion Planting

If you’ve always wanted to grow your own vegetables, but space is at a minimum, take advantage of clever container gardening. Most people plant one type of vegetable into each pot. However, there are considerable advantages to growing two or more types of plants in each pot or container. This is commonly known as companion planting.

For example, you might grow spinach in the center of a container and surround it with scallions or garlic to repel bugs and snails. Likewise, you might plant bush beans with strawberries. Aside from growing more of your own vegetables, you’re also using natural alternatives to chemical pesticides.

Keep Furniture Small Scale

If you’re already concerned about the size of your tiny yard, there’s no point filling it with large outdoor furniture. You’ll just make the area seem even more overcrowded. Instead, think about keeping furniture small scale and unobtrusive. You’ll make your backyard look and feel a lot larger than it really is.

Faux-Grass Rug

If your outdoor area is too small to plant real lawn, why not consider putting down a faux-grass rug on the patio? You can place outdoor seating around the lush green rug to create the appearance of a larger outdoor space.

Create Depth

In many cases, smaller yards can feel even more closed in if you have fences on every side. You can create the illusion of space and depth by hanging vintage mirrors at strategic points on your fences. The mirrors reflect the surrounding area, creating an illusion of depth and added space.

Living Wall Art

Create your own living work of art using a simple rectangle planter box or plastic tray. Divide the tray into individual planting cells and plant little succulents into each one. Then hang your living artwork on the wall or fence to create a feature in your yard. Succulent plants don’t need a lot of water to survive and they look great all year round.

Create a Strong Focal Point

One of the major reasons small yards can appear even smaller is that the eye doesn’t know where to look first. You can create the illusion of space and depth by creating a strong focal point at one end of your yard. Put a dramatic fountain or sculpture in to create your focal point and design the rest of your space around it.

Having a small backyard doesn’t mean your options are limited. Instead, you have the opportunity to get creative and find unique ways to maximize the space you have available.

Dominic Francis is a garden designer who shares his knowledge online at home and garden blogs, happy to help people out when they have questions and queries related to their garden.