Creating a beautiful outdoor space can dramatically increase the value and enjoyment of your home. During the warmer months, a functional yard serves as additional living space and an extension of your home. Making the most of your outdoor spaces, no matter their size, simply takes some planning, strategy, and time. Even the smallest backyards can be wonderful spaces for gardening, relaxing, outdoor play, dining alfresco, and entertaining. 

When it comes to maximizing small outdoor spaces, making use of every inch of your yard and having areas work ‘double duty’ is the best way. Read on to discover our top tips for small-space landscaping and making the most of a small outdoor space so you can enjoy it all summer long. 

Create Levels – Creating different levels in your outdoor space can help to define the spaces and make each area of your yard feel like a different ‘room.’ Using such materials as decking, stonework, retaining walls, vertical gardens, and various types of grass and shrubs will help to create a unique and functional space. 

Use Garden Containers – Many small outdoor spaces don’t allow room for traditional garden beds. Using small raised beds or other forms of garden containers to create a compact garden design means you can grow veggies, herbs, flowers, and even small trees, without taking over the entire space. Gardening containers offer flexibility as they can be easily moved around and changed to switch up the space from season to season. 

Be Thoughtful About Fencing – If your lot is particularly small, it might be wise to avoid hemming it in with solid fencing, which will just make it feel even smaller. Instead, consider using your property lines to create a living fence with hedges or trees. 

Consider a Statement Piece – The placement of a strong focal point can help to anchor your gaze and prevent the space from appearing cluttered or busy. This can include a small fountain, sculpture, or other visually interesting element. 

Be Strategic About Furniture – In small outdoor spaces, it is important to keep any furniture compact and unobtrusive to help your yard feel as big as possible. Consider incorporating pieces such as backless benches and slim-profile pieces (a pair of chairs or a small cafe table.) The right pieces will blend into the space, making them appear to be natural elements when they are not occupied. 

Make Use of Every Inch – If you have a yard that wraps around the side of your home, don’t let any of your outdoor space go to waste. While it may be tempting to park your garbage and recycling bins there, instead, get creative. Perhaps you could create a small outdoor dining area, a reading nook, or a nursery for special plants and seedlings. It may just become your favourite part of your yard!

Create More Seating Areas – If your yard doesn’t allow for outdoor furniture, or you simply want to have more seating options when entertaining, try to find ways to create seating in retaining walls, pathways, and other elements of your landscaping architecture. This strategy also means more open space to enjoy. 

Think Vertically – When working with a small landscaping footprint, it is important to use vertical space as much as possible. Consider hanging planters on walls or fences, creating a vertical garden, or building a planting column. Other popular urban gardening techniques such as creating a small garden on a balcony, rooftop, or terrace can also make the most of your outdoor spaces.

Avoid Large Elements – Don’t incorporate large pieces of architecture, such as awnings, gazebos, or pergolas. This will help keep your yard feeling airy and open, maximize sunlight, and will keep the space feeling bigger and brighter all year long. 

Create a Big Ambience – You don’t need a large space to create a warm and inviting yard. If there isn’t room for a firepit, consider a tabletop fire bowl. Incorporating certain lighting elements such as tree up-lighting & garden lighting can help to create dramatic focal points and distinct shadows that provide consistent ambiance year round. 

Get Creative with Play – Kids don’t need a large outdoor space to have lots of fun. If there isn’t room for a swing set or climbing structure, put out an a-frame tent, water table, small splash pool, or compact sandbox. 

Find Multi-Functional Pieces – When working with small outdoor spaces, find elements that can serve more than one purpose. Consider a corner seating unit or bench that can double as storage for any cushions or outdoor toys. 

The Bottom Line

Creating a gorgeous outdoor space on a small lot is always possible, it just requires a little planning and strategic thinking. Be thoughtful about any elements you want to include and make use of every inch of space, even those that may be awkwardly shaped or placed. If you want to learn more about maximizing your outdoor space or how we can help you create the landscape of your dreams, contact us at Mountview Services today!