7 Small Yard Landscaping Ideas
When you are landscaping a small area, it is important to know how to use your space the best way you can. As the do-it-yourself (DIY) trend has continued to grow over the years, many are choosing to take on landscaping design and decor as well as projects inside their homes. The following seven ideas are designed to help you maximize your small space.
1. Plan Your Landscaping Vision
Creating a picturesque landscape design starts with a vision. You want your design to be a well-thought-out masterpiece, not a compilation that is pieced together over time without a unifying vision.
Start by analyzing your landscape. Make measurements and sketch out what you want the space to look like. Take time to look at your yard from different angles, and consider looking at neighboring yards, or similar sized yards for inspiration, as well as what to avoid.
The key to the best landscaping is how you choose to organize the space. You will want to consider your needs versus wants, and sketch out a plan for where you want to place everything exactly. Getting a landscaper to look over your plans can help you maximize the space in ways you didn’t think of. The more minds, the more factors that are considered.
2. Choose a Focal Point
The next step when landscaping any yard is creating a focal point. This is especially true with smaller yards. The importance of a focal point is that they help create a central point to base the rest of your landscape design off of in a functional way.
Just like photography, if you don’t choose a focal point, your attempt at landscaping can be dull, out of focus, and incomplete. Your focal point can be anything from a firepit to a flower bed — there are no expectations or wrong options when choosing a focal point. A focal point does not need to already be in the yard, it can be created. No rules are saying that you are not allowed to have multiple different focal points e.g. a garden and a fire pit, etc. Although you can have multiple, it is better to stick to one focal point so that you aren’t over-doing it by creating a distracting variety of focal points.
The following are examples of viable focal points:
- Hot Tub;
- Water feature.
Focal points such as a pool, or a patio area can take up large portions, so it is important to plan for a feature that may take up more room in order to optimize the yard space.
3. Utilize Small Furniture
One of the largest space wasters is bulky furniture. Common examples include oversized chairs or patio sectionals. Furniture is key for entertaining guests or having a nice quiet fire with the family, but you should always aim smaller so that you can include other features in your small landscape area.
If you cannot find small furniture that fits your yard, or it doesn’t match the rest of your theme, you can hire out the work to a carpenter, or custom furniture shop, or you can get crafty and attempt creating your own furniture.
Winter weather can take a toll on outdoor furniture, and if you want yours to last more than a season you will need to cover or store it in colder months.
4. Use Plants Wisely
Plants, trees, and other various greenery are staples in the landscaping world, so you want to be sure that you are using the right plants for your space and region. You should be aware of the following two factors when choosing plants:
- How the plant matures: Even though a plant may be perfect at the home and garden store, you need to be aware of how the plant will grow, age and respond to replanting. There are plants, trees, and other greenery that grow vertically, and there are others that spread. You always want to plan your plant selections based on what a plant will look like at full maturity. Aim to choose plants that will fit within the spaces you have designated for them, and won’t overgrow either your yard or each other;
- What care the plant requires: There are plants that require more maintenance than others. Some plants require constant sun and there are some plants that should never be planted together. In order to ensure that you don’t kill the plants, or to make sure your various plants don’t overtake other plants, you want to be aware of what care each plant requires. Select plants with similar watering needs for small spaces, and pay attention to sunlight at various times of year to ensure you know which spots are bright, shady, or mixed.
Consider using vertical space for your plants to avoid cluttering a space with too much greenery. Utilize hanging baskets, wall mounts, and other innovative ways to plant vertically. When you plant vertically, you can use ground space differently to get more color and texture even without much acreage.
One trick to making a small space appear larger is to texturize the landscape. This can entail mixing plants, artificial structures, open spaces, and other elements to create a mix of shapes, materials, and patterns throughout your yard. This can be achieved in a variety of ways.
Common examples include mixing and matching the following textures:
- Water features.
Strategically switching from one texture to another creates visual depth. Visual depth can make your small yard seem much larger than it truly is. Consider texturizing using curves. Perfectly straight, boxed landscaping can appear dull, and limiting.
6. Implement Levels
Creating varying levels to your landscaping can help you portion out spaces, and make an area seem more dynamic. This generally consists of some sort of elevation change to a flat site. The following are common reasons for elevation changes:
- Increasing usable area: Landscaping can have meters, drainage structures, and other limiting factors within their landscape. You can build over various constraints in order to utilize the space they occupy;
- Improving aesthetic: The same limiting factors listed above can also ruin an aesthetic. By building a raised garden over a meter, you can eliminate the eye soar, and create a specific area for your plant needs;
- Improving air circulation: Fences, garages, and houses as a whole can prevent breezes from passing through your area. By lifting and lowering certain areas, you can help increase airflow;
- Create views: Flat areas generally have minimal access to views due to their nature. You improve views, and create views, by strategically changing your yard’s elevation.
Common examples for implementing levels include dropping a fireplace down, raising a patio area, lowering turf, adding walls on a slope, and raised gardens.
7. Make Use of the Side Yard
The side yard is often overlooked. Although not all yards have them, this extra space can be used for more than parking an extra vehicle, or for storing all your gardening tools. It can really change how you plan your landscape design as well as the amount of canvas you have to work with. Some choose to create a stone path to the back of the yard for texture, and others choose this area for their water features and plants. Since trees can consume a yard, consider planting your tree(s) in the side yard since more often than not, this is not the main area you occupy. Side yards get less direct sunlight in most scenarios, so it is important to avoid planting greenery that needs a lot of direct sunlight.
A common way landscapers utilize side yards is by planting hedges. Hedges can help soften boundary lines while providing some sort of privacy and greenery.
One effective way to open up untapped potential in a small yard is to eliminate clutter or wasted space using storage units. For example, you can use vehicle storage to keep a classic — or other vehicles that aren’t daily drivers — off-site to open up your space entirely. Be sure to analyze the unit features to ensure that your items are being stored properly.
Landscaping your lawn offers a unique opportunity to add a certain feng shui to your home or business. Be sure to take your time mapping out your plan to maximize your small space best for you.