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Design Tips for Small Yards

Small yards need love too! The beauty of your space shouldn’t be limited by its size. However, determining great ways to add aesthetic appeal to a small backyard can be a challenge. That’s why we’ve put together some of our favorite design tips and tricks to help you maximize the functionality of your yard, without compromising its design sensibilities. Here are some our favorite design tips for small yards.

Make The Most of Vertical Space

Sometimes there’s nowhere to go but up. Making the most of vertical space in your yard can help to add visual interest while giving you the space to breathe. Leave room for seating and gathering space with vertical installations such as hanging planters.

Opt for minimalistic designs in muted colors to let the fauna provide natural pops of color, or add focal points with bolder colors or geometric constructions. Hanging or stacked planters can be especially helpful if your yard is lacking a grassy space by bringing a natural, green feel to the area without the investment of sod installation.

Concealing unsightly views or cumbersome fixtures such as AC units becomes easy and space efficient simply by investing in privacy screens. This affordable, space saving solution comes in a large variety of material from metal and wicker to sturdy, weather resistant composite woods. Find a pattern that fits your taste and position it to put utility equipment out of sight and out of mind.

Don’t Underestimate Outdoor Lighting

One of the most space efficient and effective ways to create an atmosphere in any small yard is through a strategic and smart use of outdoor lighting. For long term investments, permanent or inground lighting installations illuminating landscaping or seating features gives your yard not only ambiance, but also nighttime visibility and functionality. Dark pathways can pose safety risks navigating your space at night. Installing strategic lighting points can help you move through your outdoor area with confidence, long after the sun has set.

For an affordable, DIY lighting solution, look to hanging or string lights. Hanging lights come in all different colors, tones, and warmths. Many are adjustable, and a growing number provide long lasting, energy efficient bulbs that won’t make a huge impact on your electricity bill. Place on gazebos, railings, and more for a glow that will add warmth and welcome to your yard, no matter the size.

Add Sound

Your eyes aren’t the only one of your senses that are impacted by your yard. To add dimension to your outdoor space, try adding sound for another layer of sensory interest. Bluetooth speakers bring any outdoor gathering to life. Smaller spaces tend to have improved acoustics in comparison to their larger counterparts, meaning your small yard will actually make your favorite song sound better.

For an installation that invokes both sight and sound, consider looking into a small water feature or pondless waterfall. Water is not only visually interesting, but the sound of running water is great for helping to calm nerves and allow you and your family to unwind after a long day. Running water is also a fantastic way to attract another natural addition to your space- birds! If you’ve installed a feeder in your yard but are still having troubles attracting a good variety of visitors, running water can go a long way in helping you spot some new feathered friends in your backyard space.

Make It Multi-Purpose

Just as in indoor design, small yards and small rooms alike can have their benefits maximized by creating a multipurpose space. Outdoor furniture and fixtures that serve multiple purposes such as cushioned chairs and movable fire pits can help make your space both a place to relax, but also to enjoy a meal with family and swap stories around a campfire.

Investing in quality, portable pieces allows you to stow your furniture if need be, opening up your yard to other outdoor activities. If you’re struggling to find room for seating, try integrating benches in your yard rather than monopolizing large swaths of spaces with an expensive outdoor dining set. By identifying the main desired functions of your yard, you will best be able to invest in and design a space that fits your needs without feeling limited by its size.

Add Interest With Planters

Planters are one of the most customizable design tools available to homeowners. Smart use of varying sizes and heights of planters can create a multidimensional look for even the smallest yard. Create levels of interest by varying heights of hanging plants. Incorporate a full range of sizes, textures, and shapes of pots and planters to add unique visual appeal that’s fully customizable to your taste.

As with furniture, keeping your planters mobile with casters gives you the option to move your greenery to fit your spaces desired form and function. Not only does this allow you optimize functionality of a small yard, but it can be beneficial to the health of your plants as well, letting you move them to chase the sun as the seasons change.

Rectilinear > Organic

Organic design placements undoubtedly look great and allow for more flexibility in many cases. However, in small yards organic lines can end up devouring valuable room that could be used as living space. To maximize the usable space of a small yard, try rectilinear designs.

Straight-line planting beds, decks, and patios all offer increased space for seating, furniture, and give plants a higher impact value than sporadic designs or planters that meander organically. To go a step further, consider ditching home and gate doors that operate on hinges. Sliding mechanisms allow doors and gates to stow, opening up space and creating more continuity between your indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Small Spaces Are Worth The Challenge

Designing a beautiful outdoor living space with limited square footage can be a challenge, but that doesn’t mean you should feel defeated. From innovative lighting, to integrated planters and clean lines, even the smallest spaces can be both truly beautiful and functional with a little inspiration and elbow grease.

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