A small outdoor space can be tricky but when done well can provide more than expected. By maximizing the useable space that you do have, you can fit in quite a few elements without feeling cramped. These ideas will help you get the most out of your backyard space.
Strong Flow Patterns
In a small space, you want to know how to get from point A to point B without sacrificing a lot of valuable square footage. You’ll also want to break up your space into smaller areas or garden rooms. It seems counterintuitive, but by breaking up a small space it can make it feel larger. Terracing can be a great way to accomplish this. Just a step or 2 down or up to a patio space can help create a seamless flow from one area to the next. If your space is flat and doesn’t allow for terracing or steps, you can also add different levels with a raised planting bed or place paver borders around different seating areas to delineate the space.
Along the same train of thought with having a strong flow pattern to your space, creating a focal point will help make the space feel purposeful. A focal point can be either functional or decorative depending on the goals for your space. A fire pit might be your main attraction or a colorful decorative urn to catch your eye as you walk out or maybe a nice soothing water feature to listen to as you read. By being intentional with where your focal point is placed, your space will feel more organized. Keep in mind the placement of this element to maximize both interior and exterior views as well.
Creating multi-use areas is another way to maximize your useable space. If you want a fire pit, consider getting one with a lid or tabletop. In the middle of the day when you might not have a fire going, it can be used as a coffee table to set drinks on and then when night falls just take the top off and you can start a fire. If storage is a concern, a built-in bench with a hinged top is a perfect solution. A bench on the border of a deck or patio creates a welcoming sitting area while allowing for kids toys or small gardening tools to be stored and kept out of site when not in use.
Chances are if you have a small space, you most likely have fencing or walls that enclose your space. Don’t let that space go to waste! Vertical space is great for adding decorative elements without taking up any floor area. Fence planters can be found in most any style from rustic to modern and can be planted with ornamental or edible plants. If you have some free space on a wall, a foldable/collapsible bar or table shelf is perfect for setting snacks or drinks on when entertaining but can be easily tucked away later. A well-placed mirror is a fun way to brighten a space and give the illusion of having more space.
After you have the layout of your space figured out, plants, whether in the ground or in container gardens will help soften the space and add plenty of color. With a small space, using plants that have multiple seasons of interest and mixing perennials and evergreens will ensure that you’ll have color in your garden year-round and will keep things from becoming flat and one note. Depending on the amount of space you have, you can add in or only use container gardens to suit your needs.
Although decks and patios and other hardscape features add structure to a small space, the plants can help as well. Small trees that have a compact or columnar growth habit can help add structure and privacy without taking up too much space. If you don’t have very much room for planting beds, there are trees that do well in container gardens, too.
If you have a small outdoor space, what tips and tricks have you used to make the most of your limited area? Leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!