Unless you live in a largely rural area or older suburban neighbourhood, there’s a pretty good chance you have a small yard. That isn’t a bad thing. Many people prefer to have a larger indoor living space (with air conditioning!) than a large backyard.
Large backyards come with a lot of upkeep and maintenance–weekly lawn mowing, constant weed treatments and expensive irrigation systems. For some people, that maintenance doesn’t equate to their lifestyle. If you work long hours or travel a lot, having a large yard wasn’t at the top of the list for you when you purchased your home. Naturally, you purchased a space with a smaller backyard. But what do you do when your life has calmed down a bit and you find yourself wanting to spend more time outdoors? We’ve put together some ways you can transform your small backyard into a space you can use year-round!
Pathways can create a false sense of space in your backyard. By adding some pathways that run the length of your backyard, anyone who visits will have their eyes drawn to the back of your space, making it feel longer and wider than it actually is. You can create pathways using many different materials, including sand and stone. In fact, you can incorporate personalized garden stones into your pathways to remember lost loved ones, honor your military family members or even welcome people to your outdoor space!
Go Bold with Color
Utilize colors when creating your outdoor space! You probably don’t have the space to install a large water feature or a fancy fire pit. That’s okay! Using colors to create points of interest in your backyard area will help offset any lack of features your yard might have. You can incorporate it in pillows, the color of chairs and tables or even paint your deck a bright color! Take the neutrals found in nature to help balance out the brightness from all the colors. To ensure your space looks cohesive, stick to using about four colors through the space with similar patterns and styles. Looking for furniture that comes in bright and bold colors can be an exciting way to add some personality and cheer to your outdoor space.
Your fence doesn’t just have to be a fence. Transform it into a playground for plants of all kinds! Let ivy grow along it, or create a vertical garden using Mason jars and small succulents or herbs. If you don’t want to poke holes into your fence, you can also use other items such as ladders or plant stands to put right up against the fence line and draw your visitors’ eyes upwards when they walk in. Plus, it saves you floor space to add furniture or other design features!
Small outdoor spaces don’t have the luxury of large outdoor kitchens or expansive outdoor sectional seating arrangements. When redesigning your small outdoor space, you need to think of practical, functional solutions. Consider your typical weather pattern. If you live in the South, there’s a chance you have a lot of thunderstorms during the summer, but if you live in the Northern Midwest, you probably have cold winters with lots of snow. You’ll want to make sure your outdoor space can withstand those circumstances but also function for the purpose you want it to. If you want to host outdoor family dinners often, then you should look to find longer tables with benches or chairs. If you want to focus on hosting barbecues, then you’ll want to ensure you find a space in your backyard for a grill or smoker.
Simplify Your Decor
In small backyard spaces, you will need to focus on simplifying your decor. You’ll want to utilize unique decor items that don’t take up much space but are interesting enough that your guests will want to look at them. Adding small details such as a welcoming personalized garden flag can tie your design together, all without taking up too much space! Using smaller pots for plants, or even finding antique bicycles at thrift stores to hold plants, can serve as unique ways to incorporate design elements without taking up the space in your backyard.
Prevent Clutter and Growth
Even if you have a small amount of green space in your backyard, you need to keep it trimmed. Overgrowth in your backyard, even with just grass, can make the whole space feel cluttered and uninviting. Trimming the grassy areas at least once a week can really help make the space feel elevated, inspiring you to use it year-round. If you have big trees, You might have to deal with falling branches when removing a tree or even damage your existing landscaping, so hire a company with the proper credentials when finding tree removal services to get the best results. If there’s one thing you should remember while transforming your small backyard, it’s that less is best. Sometimes, all you need is a small cafe table with a couple of chairs and a few potted plants in the corners to really make the space. Adding lots and lots of decor items–even if they’re small–can make the space feel cluttered. Then, neither you nor your friends will want to spend time in that space!
If you’re currently using your small backyard as a storage space for some of your outdoor items, consider renting a storage unit or sorting through your items. Donate or sell what you no longer use and consolidate your items into other storage bins that can also double as outdoor decor. You can find many chests or other outdoor storage units that can double as functioning tables or benches. This way, you’ve added a layer of functionality to your decor, maximizing your space without cluttering it!
Light It Up
Small spaces don’t typically have good natural lighting, mainly because you have taller fences for privacy. Installing some string lights or winding some fairy lights through shrubs or up the trunk of a tree will go a long way in making the space feel welcoming. You will have lighting to ensure you and your friends can spend time in your small yard long after the sun sets, enjoying each other’s company, playing some games and drinking a few glasses of wine.
Transforming your small yard doesn’t take much. Adding simple touches like lights and color can go a long way in ensuring that your outdoor space is functional and enjoyable all year round.