10 Simple Solutions to Maximize a Small Yard

Oct 02, 2016 | Laura Firszt

Brian Kelley/flickr

Postage stamp sized front or back yard? No problem! You can still make the most of your outdoor space, no matter how teeny it may be. Just put on a happy face, adjust your attitude, and try our 10 easy-to-implement suggestions to maximize your small yard.

  1. Avoid overwhelm. Use small plantings such as delicate tea roses or miniature 5-color peppers and avoid invasives even more than you would in a larger garden. Do include variations in heights, colors, and shapes, though. Variety will increase visual interest, which in turn will de-emphasize your yard’s limited size.

  2. Keep furnishings to scale, as well. For example, a petite patio table with airy wire framed stools will look just right. I do, however, vote for at least one chair where you can really stretch out. A good read, some quiet meditation, or a quick nap outdoors on a chaise longue or reclining Adirondack chair is my idea of the ultimate luxury.

  3. Consider xeriscaping. Xeriscaping, AKA low-water landscaping, tends to work out well in small yards. Besides its important function of conserving water, it eliminates 2 very common problems – trying to maneuver a lawn mower around in an undersized area and sprinklers whose spray extends past the garden’s borders and drains uselessly away on the adjoining pavement.

  4. Design your backyard to multitask. For the most efficient use of space, choose features flexible enough to serve more than one purpose. For instance, retaining walls and the edges of raised planting beds could be built to provide convenient extra seating. Your privacy fence might double as a support system for planters or outdoor lighting.

  5. Add a water feature. Even the tiniest fountain, operated by an eco-friendly solar-powered recirculating pump, will create a soothing sound that transforms your yard into an oasis. This is particularly useful in a small yard, where it is often hard to escape traffic noise or conversations going on next door; rushing water can act as a natural sound muffler.

  6. Appeal to the sense of smell. Fragrant plantings will provide an additional sensory dimension for your minuscule backyard. Choose scents that are pleasurable but not stifling, since due to space constraints, you and your companions will be sitting very close to their source.

  7. Install a garden path. A walkway built of stepping stones or DIY concrete castings creates an expansive trompe-l’oeil impression of movement and space. Lay the path on the diagonal to emphasize the enlarging effect even more.

  8. Make the most of all available sunlight. Raised bed or container gardens on casters will be oh so simple to move when you want to increase your plantings’ daily exposure to the nurturing rays of the sun.

  9. Choose one special focal point. A single outstanding feature will impart a sense of drama and excitement to even a tiny plot of earth. Try a dainty pergola, a mini fire pit, some small-scale garden art, or a modest arbor framing a glorious view.

  10. Maintain your yard. Make the most of your small outdoor space by keeping it in good shape. This ensures that no matter how tiny, your yard will always be a pleasant place to use for gardening, entertaining, and relaxing.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.

Updated December 20, 2018.

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