Small-Space Landscaping Ideas

Here’s a good article on landscaping ideas for small spaces by the Editors of Better Homes & Gardens.

Small-space landscaping ideas can be hard to come by when you’re short on space, but we have the small-space landscaping ideas you need to transform even the tiniest yard into a dream landscape. Here’s how!

Go Vertical

Make space-challenged gardens look larger than they actually are by adding a trellis or arbor. These structures will help draw the eye upward to the horizon creating the illusion of more space. In this tiny hideaway, climbing white roses scramble over a rustic arbor to add color and fragrance.

Start From The Ground Up

Add style to small spaces by mixing complementary paving materials together. In this tiny backyard, irregular shape bluestone slabs are highlighted with pockets of polished blue-gray river rock. Besides adding color and style, the stones also create a sense of space that wouldn’t be possible if it was a solid bluestone patio.

Add Color

Bolder is sometimes better when it comes to small landscapes. For example, this tiny entry garden became much more impressive after the owners painted a once-drab wall an eye-popping canary-yellow. They also added a green lattice door that gives visitors a peek at the garden beyond.

Grow Some Privacy

Keep privacy in mind as you design your small space. No one wants to have the neighbors (even if they are great people) looking over their shoulder when they relax outdoors. That’s why a fence or screen to shield the view is essential. But don’t just put up a fence and leave it at that. Grow something over the structure to add color and dimension. Here, English ivy trained in a diamond espalier pattern turns a plain screen into a piece of living art.

Divide And Conquer

The trick to gardening in a small yard is to break up the available space into a series of mini beds rather than trying to squeeze in one large border. In this garden, brick pathways are used to create a series of little perennial borders around each of the brick pillars. The smaller beds also allow easier access for weeding and planting activities.

Create A Destination

When you plan your garden, be sure to add a focal point that also serves as a place to stop and admire your garden. It can be as simple as a comfy chair tucked into a private nook or as elaborate as this arbor and bench combination. Choose plants that are as fragrant as they are colorful so you can enjoy them close up.

Consider Side Yards

If backyard space is limited, give your side yard a makeover. Often neglected, side yards offer tons of potential for outdoor living. Here, for example, a once barren piece of ground was transformed into outdoor living space by using concrete pavers to create a lovely garden path. Then, a mixed planting of perennials and trees were added and mulched with black Japanese river rock. 

Terracing is one of the most effective ways to make a small space look larger than it really is. By creating different levels, you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a separate garden with each level. Here, the owners of this narrow backyard created two stone patios, one that’s several steps lower than the other one. The finished product looks twice as big as it did before the renovation.

Go Tropical

Even the smallest backyard getaway can become a tropical retreat when you tuck in a few large-leaf jungle natives. Plants, such as banana, bird of Paradise, croton, elephant ear, canna, and palm, love hot weather. It only takes a plant or two to make a big statement for a small yard. Their large leaves also act as a natural privacy screen. In this terraced yard, two banana plants create a hidden retreat for sunbathing.

Rely On Containers

Add color to even the tiniest garden corner with flower-filled pots and planters. Containers are easy to maintain, and you can move them to where you need color the most. Just don’t go overboard. You don’t want to crowd your space with a multitude of tiny pots that get in your way every time you pull out a chair. In this tiny backyard, small clusters of pots are set well away from the dining area so people can enjoy them without tripping.