So, your backyard is small, and you wish it was bigger? Since you can’t make your backyard any larger, you can make it feel more spacious with some clever small backyard ideas. From small backyard landscaping ideas, to plants, to smart storage ideas, our landscape experts weighed in on brilliant small backyard ideas that are sure to help you achieve a more spacious backyard that’s certain to become an outdoor oasis.
Keep it Functional
Think about the ways you would like to use your back yard. Choose some key features you need and stick with those when coming up with backyard design ideas. Maybe that’s a space for relaxing and reading a book, a space for cooking on the grill, or an outdoor dining area so you can entertain your friends.
Whatever backyard ideas you have in mind, designing your space around that key function will mean you make the best use of your space and you don’t waste what little space you have on anything unnecessary.
Divide your Space
If you have a small back yard, an easy way to make the most out of it is to place different functions in different zones. Say you need a play area, a dining area, a vegetable patch and a seating area; divide your garden into four zones to accomplish this.
The tendencies with a garden is to often overlap these areas and this can be hazardous, as well as difficult to maintain in a small garden. Dividing your garden into different functional areas, also means you make use of the your entire garden which in turn helps you make small backyard ideas into big ideas.
Focal Point Paths
The moment you walk into a space, you size it up and gauge how big (or small) it is. If you have a small garden, you don’t want people to walk into it and immediately think ‘wow, this is tiny.’ To prevent your guests clocking on how small your backyard really is, create a focal point with pathways. This will draw the eye away from scanning your garden to size it up and help keep the focus elsewhere.
To make your garden feel even bigger, zig-zag your pathway and create turns and twists; as the eye moves from point to point to follow the path, it will trick your brain into thinking it is bigger than it is. These are simple backyard ideas for sure, but they make a big difference.
Light Fence Paint
If you have a fence surrounding your garden, consider painting it. Your fence doesn’t have to be stained a woody brown; you can paint it any color you like.
To make your backyard feel bigger, choose a light colored paint for your fence, or, choose a natural color (like a soft green) which will blend into the background, so you can’t see where foliage ends, and fencing begins. This is a good option if you need backyard ideas on a budget, as it doesn’t cost much to complete.
So, you have a small garden and you can’t add width, but you can add height by introducing vertical landscaping into your backyard design ideas. Go big with your small backyard landscaping ideas and create different levels, or even steps in your backyard. Or how about a plant wall at the end of your garden? This will have the effect of making your garden seem longer than it is (as you are drawing the eye down the length of the space) and it will also make for more green space, which will also make your garden feel bigger.
It doesn’t have to be as big and bold as a wall of plants; planting for height is a simple backyard design, which is just as effective. Include plants which grow up tall and trees which grow upwards quickly in your backyard design ideas. Tall grasses are great for creating height as well as movement, and flowering plants like lupins and delphiniums will add elegant height, as well as some gorgeous color.
Simplicity is Key
Simplicity is key to small backyard ideas. The busier it gets, the more crowded your garden will feel and the smaller it will seem. Keep your lines, your colors and your planting simple, so as not to overcrowd the space. Plant so the main color is green, rather than lots of bold and bright floral displays and choose simple garden furniture too – keep those small backyard ideas as simple as possible.
Limit the amount of garden clutter you have hanging around and invest in some storage for outdoor toys and gardening equipment. You can keep this hidden discreetly behind some clever planting, so it doesn’t clutter your space.
Keep Up Maintenance
Once your garden starts to get messy, the space closes in and it’s not long before it starts to feel claustrophobic. Keeping on top of your garden maintenance will keep this feeling at bay and help your backyard feel as spacious as possible.
This means keeping trees and bushes pruned, so they don’t start to intrude on your space too much, as well as keeping weeds at bay and keeping the lawn trimmed, so the space doesn’t start to look messy. If you can’t keep up with the maintenance yourself, see about hiring someone to help you with it, as once it gets out of control, it becomes a huge job to get your garden back.
Mirrors aren’t just for inside the home, they have their place backyard design ideas as well. There are some beautiful options out there for garden mirrors, which will not only make your back yard feel bigger, but they will be a stunning focal point too. Distract from a boring shed, by hanging a mirror on the side, disguising what can be a bit of an eyesore, whilst adding reflective depth to your back yard at the same time.
Another backyard idea for small yards is placing a mirror behind trellis; great for discreetly employing the powers of mirrors. How about using an arched mirror or a mirror surrounded by shutters to make it look as if it is a window – this is a clever and beautiful way of introducing reflection into your garden, and it’s simple, as small backyard ideas go.
Forego Grass for Shingle
Light colored shingle can be a life-saver in a small garden and is perfect for simple backyard designs. We all know about light colors making things look bigger, and this applies in your back yard too. Ditch the lawn and the pesky lawnmower and invest in some pretty shingle in a light tone.
Not only does it look wonderful and make your garden feel a whole lot bigger, but it saves a lot of time on garden maintenance as well. If you need backyard ideas on a budget, this might not be the one for you, as shingle can be surprisingly expensive.
Kill two birds with one stone, by creating a seating area which can also be used for storage. Design some bench seating where you can remove the cushions, lift up the seat and put away your garden tools and kids’ toys. This is an excellent way of saving space, by creating a multi-purpose seating zone, negating the need for a shed.
Make this area into your space to lounge and relax after a hard day; ensure it’s comfortable and plush, with soft cushions and a plush blanket tucked away for when the evenings start to get a little chilly. It’s a simple backyard idea, that’s really effective.
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