It’s no secret that some yards are bigger than others. But, despite that, this does not mean that bigger is necessarily better. In fact, even the smallest yards can be stylish, functional, and act as a deeply sought-after haven for entertaining friends and family, act as a romantic date-night destination, or provide a place where one can simply unwind, relax, and enjoy some well-earned self-care time. 

Have a yard on the smaller size? Looking for some direction on how you can create your own larger-than-life retreat in a seemingly diminutive space? No fear! The team at Greenhaven Landscapes have been helping clients create landscape paradises big and small for well over twenty years. Here are a few tips that will help you make your outdoor dreams come true!

Have a plan before you begin your backyard project

This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised by how many times we’ve worked with clients who started digging, planting, and constructing without having a clear goal in mind. No matter how big or small your yard is, you need to have a solid plan in place so that you and whomever you might be working with has a reference to point back to. We recommend using a simple landscape diagram (you can draw this by hand, use a free template you find online, or work with a professional on this) so that you can get a clear, literal picture of your design. This gives you the option to try several ideas, replace materials that might not be available, or create options to choose from — without even picking up a shovel!

Define your outdoor living space style

What do you really want to do with this space? Entertain? Unwind? Exercise? All of the above? Well, then it should reflect those activities. And it should reflect your or your loved one’s relationship with those activities. This is a space that you’re going to want to spend time in. If it doesn’t stylistically reflect who you are and what you’re about, then you’ll likely end up avoiding this space altogether.

Textures, shapes, and curves play a role in outdoor living

Since this an outdoor space it’s important to set it up like one. Using nothing but sharp lines, 90 degree angles, and inorganic materials might make this space feel small and stifling. Looking at nature for inspiration, we recommend combining subtle touches like curved stone pathways; natural, organic shapes; and a variety of plant or building material textures will give your space life and depth vs. the rigidity that a boxier design just can’t muster. 

Tiered planter boxes

This is another great way to create texture, depth, and drama in your yard while maximizing space. Tiered planter boxes, especially when paired with plants and flowers of different sizes and heights, can make your yard feel like an illustrious English garden. These tiered boxes can even be built at different lengths and depths to further heighten textural and spatial contrast. One of our favorite solutions!

Decorate walls and fences

Here’s another fun idea! We spend a great deal of time considering how we decorate the walls inside our home, but…what about outside walls? What about fences? There’s a wide variety of outdoor wall art as well as items like planter boxes that can be fastened to fences and outdoor walls. What a perfect way to showcase your personality (think artwork, signs, and the like) or create even more greenspace for your yard!

Vertical gardens add interest to a small yard

Vertical gardens are an incredibly cool and incredibly clever way to make your small yard space one filled with personality. There are all sorts of ways you can create a vertical garden: Shelf-based systems that can either be filled with soil for planting or filled with pots, box planters with attached trellises for climbing plants, and even systems that will make your plants or succulents look like framed works of art!

Hanging baskets

Hanging baskets are a simple and dramatic way to create a great deal of texture in a small space without really taking up too much space — because they’re all above your head! You can buy pre-prepared hanging baskets from your favorite nursery or garden center, or you can create your own. Some of the best flowering plants for hanging baskets include begonias, fuschias, petunias, verbena, and fearns.

Potted and container plants

 What we love about using pots and containers for small spaces is that the options are truly endless. Planters truly do come in just about every size, color, and shape imaginable. And the same goes for the plants you choose to place in them. Want a cool, minimalist design that complements your outdoor yoga space? You can do it! Looking to create a stylistic mishmash of colors, shapes, and textures? Easy! And therein lies the beauty of this option: you can change it as often as you like!

Mood lighting ads personality to your outdoor space

Lighting truly creates a mood. Selecting lighting — like dramatic uplighting that creates focal points throughout the yard or hanging lights that make garden parties airy and dreamy — is such a simple but effective way in filling your small space with big personality. 

Make it storage, and make it functional!

Hey, this is a small space we’re talking about, right? We want to fill it with personality, but we want to save room for you and few friends, too! Consider things like seating with built-in storage compartments so that you can keep things like gardening supplies or outdoor blankets, or other multifunction items like tables or bars that can house important gear. These can be found in varied colors and materials so as to withstand the elements, and can also be locked to more safely and securely store your possessions.

Of course, there are so many things you can do with your outdoor space, no matter how big or small! Looking for some direction? We’d love to help you! The Greenhaven Landscapes team have been making your friends and neighbors outdoor dreams come true for years. Call us today to learn how we can help yours come true, too!