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Small Yard Landscape Design: How to Configure a Tiny Space

Landscaping in progress for small yard

Your family might not have a huge backyard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love your landscape.

While it takes a little more creativity, the outdoor living space of your dreams is still within reach.

In this article, we share the tips you need to maximize your landscape. Use these big ideas to see how small yard landscape design can work for your family.

1. Use Vertical Space

Colorful vertical garden wall

When you first start to design your landscape, you might be a little discouraged. It just seems like there isn’t much room to work with.

Don’t despair yet — chances are you’re only looking at the ground.

For the best small yard landscape design — use vertical space.

Do you have a fence or walls around your yard? Turn them into vertical gardens by layering succulents, flowers or other greenery.

This will make your yard feel fresh and bright without using up any of the precious ground area. It’s the perfect way to keep your space from feeling one-dimensional.

No fence? Put up a trellis. A simple piece of latticework can support climbing plants and offers a lot of charm without using much space.

2. Consider Ditching the Grass

A patio hardscape

When most people think landscape, they think about green lawns and beautiful flowers.

But take a minute to think beyond the grass.

If you don’t actually need the grassy area, your small yard would be better off using hardscapes.

With a patio and some pathways you get plenty of space for entertaining — without all the mowing, weeding and fertilizing.

And — major bonus — patios raise the value of your home by over 12%.

3. Experiment with Lighting

Pretty backyard lights

Light changes everything. Want to make your yard look bigger and more inviting? Try experimenting with your lighting. 

The right lighting adds depth and space to your yard. It can help differentiate plants or highlight your hardscapes. There are many types of lights, so feel free to get creative here.

While string lights are very popular and make a space look cozy, be sure you hang them in a strategic place.  When they’re directly overhead, they make your yard feel more enclosed — like a ceiling in a small room. Instead, hang string lights along a fence or weave them into trees or shrubs. That way you get a cozy feel but can still enjoy the expanse of the open air.

4. Add a Little Blue 

Landscaping of blue hydrangeas.

We talked about this tip in our article on the top landscaping trends of 2020, but it’s worth repeating over and over.

Blue is the color of open air and sprawling seas. Add blue into your small yard landscape design to capture that feeling of freedom. 

Consider blue-flowered plants like hydrangeas or forget me nots. If you have patio furniture, use blue cushions or accents.

Your guests won’t know why, but they’ll feel like your backyard just got a whole lot bigger.

5. Choose Your Furniture Wisely

Quality patio furniture.

Most of the families we talk with at Torchwood Landscaping want a beautiful backyard so they can have people over. And that usually means they need places to sit!

But don’t just throw any piece of patio furniture in the yard. There are a few features you need to look for in your small yard landscape design.

Right Size

Maybe it’s a no-brainer, but the size of your furniture is important if you want to maximize your yard.

A big wicker sofa might be nice, but it will make your yard look even smaller. Instead, consider getting a small table (hightop or regular) and some accompanying chairs. If it works in your yard, a bartop and some stools might be able to seat a lot of people without taking up a lot of room.

Permanent or Collapsible?

For furniture that doesn’t get used often, look into collapsible options.

A wooden set of folding chairs can be easily stored when they’re not in use — and set up just as easily when surprise guests drop in.

If you don’t want to go with the fully collapsible style, consider an extendable table. Keep the table small when you want extra room around the yard and extend it out when you need an extra place setting.

Go Dual Purpose

Dual purpose furniture is a great way to save space

Pieces can double as storage and seating. Think of an end table that’s also a cooler or benches with room for yard games underneath.

6. Keep Your Plants in the Container

Brick walkway in flower garden

Plants make any outdoor living space come to life.

But if your yard is on the smaller side, you might have to fight them for space. Most flowers and greenery require soil space and only grow bigger over time.

A good way to stay on top of your plantlife is to keep them in containers.

Use fun pots as a way to show off your style and keep your flowers from growing out of hand. When they’re in containers, plants are easier to manage and can be placed anywhere. This versatility gives you freedom to really play with the space. You can add different layers and change up the style whenever you want.

For more outdoor inspiration, check out these articles