13 Small Backyard Ideas to Live Large Outside

When Cicero wrote that “if you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need,” he didn’t specify size. Perhaps cozy at-home book havens and small backyard ideas are what the philosopher had in mind here. (We sure like to think so.) After all, the best elements of garden life can be enjoyed in a space the size of a shoe box: a whiff of lilac, a trellis along the wall, sunbeams shining your comfy lounge chair as the birds chirp…. The list goes on.

Still, there are ways to make a postage-stamp-size backyard echo the atmosphere of a sprawling estate. The keys to emulating the grandeur of such spaces when you’re short on square footage, designers and landscape architects say, are limiting your color palettes, fashioning a seating area, including a manicured herb garden—a vertical garden along a privacy fence, for example—and layering both plants and structures to create depth with raised beds. Read on to learn how to makeover any small backyard design with decorating ideas that wow.

How do you make a small garden feel larger?

“Robust and deeply saturated colors in your flowers, shrubs, and small trees can actually make your space appear brighter and bigger,” says landscape architect Janice Parker. She also notes that drawing the eye up is vital in a small space: “If you are fortunate enough to have an open sky, this will always add an expansive feeling. Do not fill up your entire sky and horizon view with a large tree.” In a small backyard with limited outdoor space and no open skies, “draw your eyes up with a tall and textured wall,” Parker suggests. “This could be made of vertical columnar trees, a tall fence or gridded lattice covered with vines, or an actual living wall with embedded plants. You can balance this tall feature as you scale in front of it with layered, smaller plant material and beautiful planted pots.”

Designer Mary Patton adds that maximizing every inch of usable space is key, whether you’re going to DIY or enlist a landscape design firm. “If a certain area is too shaded to grow anything, a row or section of black star gravel or crushed granite helps create a clean finished look,” Patton says.

What’s the key to making a small garden feel luxurious?

Researching what flourishes in your particular region (and with your level of sun exposure) in a low-maintenance way is vital when it comes to garden design, Patton says. Reflective surfaces, too, can supply a sense of luxury and gloss, Parker explains—much like good jewelry does on an otherwise simple outfit. “This can be in the form of a wall mirror that can be the backing for a lattice or a fence frame, or in tabletops and other furniture. Be sure to use high quality furniture and make sure it is comfortable!” And don’t forget to add seating areas—complete with outdoor rugs in the outdoor living room— at every opportunity. “When you use every corner in a small garden, you have an opportunity to create as much magic as possible,” Parker says of patio ideas in a tiny backyard.

How do you decorate a small garden in style?

“Think about supplementing your plantings with annuals for seasonal plantings and interest—not unlike a chef who adds seasonal dishes to a restaurant menu,” says Simon Prunty, partner at landscape architecture firm Hoerr Schaudt. “Keep your focus on high-quality outdoor materials for furniture and accessories, and keep it clean, tidy, and regularly maintained.” Patton loves vintage planters by Willy Guhl, which supply texture and are also great perches for veggies and small patio flower beds. Parker looks for glass candle holders in strong, simple shapes. “Rechargeable battery-operated lanterns and candles add soft light and a cozy atmosphere,” she says. Here, other small backyard ideas that are space-saving, but not short on style. Your front yard will be jealous.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top