9 Landscaping Ideas For Small Outdoor Spaces

Not every homeowner is blessed with oodles of outdoor space outside their home, but even the smallest yards can be just enough to enjoy what Mother Nature has to offer. That said, landscaping and decorating small outdoor spaces can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to creating a functional, stylish space.

If your yard is short of square footage consider some of the following landscaping ideas to make the most of what you have.

1. Install a Pergola

Pergolas and arbors are wonderful ways to add some pizzazz to your backyard and offer vertical space to use to hang plants and flowers, build a vertical garden, or simply serve as a decorative and artistic statement piece. They can also offer your outdoor space some much-needed shade from the sizzling sun and provide small gardens with a grandiose feel.

2. Create Vertical Walls

Speaking of vertical space, don’t forget to use as much of it as possible, especially in smaller yards. Adding a vertical wall of plants and herbs or planting vines that extend up the walls can make good use of your vertical space while also creating a very unique yard. And if you’ve got anything that could use a little camouflaging or dressing up, such as a drab shed or bland wall, taking the vertical approach can help to dramatically improve such surfaces.

3. Give Your Plants a Boost

Consider raising up your plants with a short retaining wall or large hardscape stones to help draw the eye up and create a distraction from the compactness of your yard.

4. Invest in Tall, Slender Plants and Shrubs

In order to avoid taking up too much space with your greenery, consider plants, shrubs, and trees that grow quite tall and don’t spread out horizontally as they grow. Columnar trees work best for these scenarios.

5. Add Dramatic and Oversized Tropical Plants

Usually, you would need to be careful with using pieces that are too large for smaller spaces, but when it comes to tropical plants and small yards, you can’t go wrong. Large, vibrant tropical plants with huge foliage can provide a lush, lavish feel to your yard and modify the perceived scale of the area to help make it seem bigger.

6. Create Separate Zones

It might sound like the complete opposite of what you should be doing with a small yard, but breaking it up into specific work zones can actually make the area feel bigger than it actually is. You might want to create different nooks for relaxing, reading, dining, or playing, depending on how you typically use your backyard space. Different groupings of furniture and dividing pathways can help visually expand the space while making it feel cozier and more comfortable.

7. Mix Things Up For Visual Interest

Incorporating a myriad of elements to your backyard can also make it appear larger. Don’t be afraid to implement a mixture of grass, hedges, planters, hardscape, and walkways to add some visual interest, which should help to make you and your guests forget about how small the yard may be.

8. Make Effective Use of Color

Using bold colors at the forefront of the space where they are more readily seen and noticed will grab your attention quickly, while the remainder of the yard past this colorful facade will make it feel like it’s fading in the distance, which will elongate the space. You can also use long, linear lines to create the same effect that can trick the eye into thinking that the yard is a lot larger than it truly is. By creating a focal point at the end of these lines, you can create the illusion of a longer yard.

9. Cut Down on Clutter

If you’ve got a lot of dead leaves, debris, or any other type of clutter, get rid of it. The more clutter in a space, the more confined it will appear. The same rule typically applies to indoor spaces as well, so take this same principle and apply it to the outdoors to visually expand your yard.

The Bottom Line

An outdoor space that lacks square footage doesn’t have to be short on style and functionality too. There are plenty of tactics you can employ to visually expand the space to make it look bigger than it really is while creating a yard that’s stylish, comfortable, and easy to hang out in.