Landscaping Ideas for Small Yards

Think of your landscape like you would any aspect of your home.  This is true whether you’re looking for landscaping ideas for small yards or expansive, spralling estates.  It’s really all about proportion and perception.  That is to say, you have to work with the space you’ve got.  If you have a small space in which to do your design work, making use of every unique feature and nuance is key.  In fact, this will be the ultimate success of your final design – making the space a non-issue.

Here is a relatively smaller landscape utilizing water and varying heights of plants and trees.

Small yard landscaping requires a focus on overall proportion.  You need to be careful about the types of furniture, plants, trees and other patio structures you use to still allow a feeling of space.  You can create an intimate outdoor patio area with separate or distinct areas as well.  The materials you use as ground cover and for your living matrix will also help define your space and design.

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Hardscape Elements

The hardscape refers to the materials that are not organic or living materials.  These could be elements of your patio covers, patio floor, patio pavers, brick walkways, waterscape features (see below), rock features or rock and pebble mulch, fencing, etc.  You’ll definitely want to balance the amount of this hardscape that you have with softer, ‘greener’ elements.

You don’t need to have a full lawn or exotic garden in order to have a nice yard either.  Since our site focuses primarily around patio pursuits, backyard landscaping ideas are more of our domain.  If you want to discover more front yard landscaping ideas, we do have something to offer in that area, but we prefer the back.                     photo credit

There is no magic formula to how much space you should dedicate to plants, flowers, gardens and such, but you will have to pay attention to how you plan on using your space.  If you just like the idea of a low maintenance patio garden, then consider using containers and portable planting beds.  Container gardening is a way of allowing you to grow the herbs, plants or flowers that you want in a way that is more flexible and can be accomplished in any size space.

There are also ways to add tiers or dimension to even a small space.  A simple raised planting bed or a stack of two smaller ones can give you some height. This is one thing that you should pay special attention to in smaller spaces.  The dimension is important.  You’ll want to have varying heights of both the hardscape and softscape elements.

Varying heights of plants, flowers, vines and patio structures, like a pergola or arbor can create a well-balanced aspect to your landscape design as well.  Just like you would use height indoors, the same elements apply outdoors.  This is especially true as we design more outdoor rooms and outdoor living spaces.

Water Features

You can also utilize water features, like ponds, fountains, small streams and other water elements in smaller spaces.  You will have the best luck with a fountain or small pond.  These can be purchased as stand alone products or you can assemble your own pond, fountain or waterscape feature yourself.  A table top or corner fountain with a river rock filled basin will work very well – giving you both sound and the changing, flowing element that only water can provide.

Here's a nice combination of water feature, stone patio and container gardening.

There are other water features that may be more seasonal that can also enhance the look and feel of your small space.  One such item is the rain chain.  These are commonly copper chains or decorative cups or bowls that hang from your gutter downspout.  They take up little space, yet provide a great design element when it rains.

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If you prefer fire instead of water, then look at what type of fire pit designs might work in your smaller space.  Of utmost importance with this idea is that you have space for it to ensure it is safe.  There are a variety of portable or built in fire pits that can look like they are a natural part of the landscape of your yard.

Patio Furniture for Small Spaces

Patio furniture is still an aspect of your overall landscape design.  You certainly want to enjoy your time outdoors, no matter the size of the space you’ve got.  So, what can you use that will be comfortable and still suit your space?  To begin with, you could opt for a simple bistro set.  This type of outdoor bar furniture is available from a variety of retailers in both wood and metal designs.

Another great element to add are swings, hammocks,  gliders and other types of lounging chairs.  These are the spaces that call for relaxation and these are the types of furniture that will give it to you.

Small Yard Landscaping

Now, bringing this back around to the plantable aspects of your landscape ideas, let’s focus for a minute on maintenance.  The one thing about living plants, flowers, trees and shrubs is that they need to be trimmed and watered.  This discussion will need to bring up the issue of watering, for the most part.  If you do your planning and landscape design well, you’ll need to rely on as little water as is necessary.  Using native species and proper drainage and natural watering from rain and other drainage sources, you can save a lot of water.  This type of xeriscaping is the most sustainable way to landscape a yard.

Your design should help express your tastes and serve your needs.  Whether you are the ultimate lounge lizard, patio green thumb or just looking to create some more life or zest in your space,  hopefully, these small yard landscaping ideas gave you some great creative insights or inspiration.


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