Smaller Yards and Bigger Homes
It’s more than just a growing trend in the U.S. With ever increasing populations sizes and a fixed border, smaller yards are likely to be the new norm. Even so, homeowners still want the feel and functionality of a much larger space – but how to create it? Landscaping small yards can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible!
When Landscaping Small Yards – Always Function First
When faced with landscaping a small yard, start by listing how you’ll use the space. Are you an avid griller? Do the kids need space for soccer practice? Maybe you’d like to create a restful outdoor space to entertain. Knowing how you’ll use the space is the first step in any design project, and arguably one of the most important.
Next, create separate ‘rooms’ for the different activities within the yard. This may seem counter-intuitive, but the inability to see all of the space at once creates a sense that the area is bigger than it actually is. For example, start small by dividing up your patio or back deck into two separate ‘rooms’, one for dining and another from lounging. This can be done with furniture, planters, and outdoor rugs to create the feeling of a room without detracting from space. On a larger scale, try using taller plantings, privacy fences, and even small changes in grade to create defined spaces. A multi-level deck or patio is a great way to create the sense of separate ‘rooms’ without the need for visual barriers.
Set the Mood
‘The Mood’ isn’t limited to mansions and castles. You can create atmosphere when landscaping small yards too! Every landscape should have one thing that immediately draws the visitor’s eye. It could be a colorful pot, a cluster of brightly colored plants, contrasting seat cushions, a fountain, a statue – any number of things! By drawing the eye, it sets the overall mood of the space. Used wisely, it can introduce or enhance the sense of openness in even the smallest spaces.
Choose Your Colors Wisely
Small yards and spaces can quickly begin to feel cluttered and overwhelmed when they have too much going on, so create a color palate and put it to work. A great way to approach this is by choosing a Primary, a Secondary, and an Accent color. To add a bit more variety without compromising your palate, play around with different shades of the three. Tip: If you already have patio furniture or garden colors, try to reinforce or complement those existing features to create a streamlined, harmonious environment.
Looking for ideas? Stop by our Side yard Landscape Inspirations board on Pinterest to get started!
Get Creative with Your Planting
When landscaping small yards, it’s important to choose your plants carefully as individual specimens will make a bigger visual impact than they would in a larger, fuller landscape. To make the most of the space, utilize taller, columnar plants and vines to extend your green space upwards, paired with colorful perennials and lower lying ground covers. An added benefit – creating this tiered look gives a sense of depth and space.
Tips for Planting:
- To enhance sense of space, use darker colors at ground level, lighter colors in the middle, and the brightest colors on top. Lighter colors will help the space to feel open while darker colors will keep things feeling cozy.
- Where possible, use the 50-25-25 rule: 50% Evergreens 25% Shrubs 25% Perennials, to create a balanced blend of plants and bloom times
- Plant for all seasons to maximize year round enjoyment!
As you design, pay attention to the mature size of your desired plants to avoid battling with an overgrown landscape or facing constant trimming down the road – your local garden center or nearby botanical garden are great resources for determining how plants will grow and perform in your specific area.