relaxing backyard with mini pond

Small Backyard Ideas: Simple Ways to Expand Your Outdoor Lifestyle

The average lawn size is about a quarter of an acre. Some states will have yards bigger than in other states; California and Nevada have the most modest lawn sizes out of 50 states. So what is considered a small yard will differ with your location.

Although you may think your yard undersized for the kind of outdoor life you want, some sprucing up could change your perspective.

How to Design a Small Backyard

Your outdoor oasis design begins with a purpose in mind. What is it you want out of your backyard? Do you need it to extend your living area, or do you want it solely for entertainment?

Once you have a good idea of what you’ll use your backyard for, you can develop a look and budget for it. If your budget isn’t as meager as the yard space, try to work with a landscaper. Your yard will benefit from the expertise and better suppliers. A professional is likely to get special rates at a landscape supply company for the materials your yard will need.

For small backyard ideas, try the following:

Define spaces

Every backyard needs a seating area, potting station, and storage. Instead of flat space, create levels. This not only defines spaces, but it also makes it seem like your small backyard has several areas.

Use distinct materials for each space so that people know their particular purpose.

Choose multifunctional furniture

Instead of putting in small furniture pieces, choose ones with multiple uses. For example, a bench could act as storage space for your gardening tools, and an outdoor garden workstation can double as a wet bar (as long as it’s classified as food-grade, too).

Forgo the fence

Defined boundaries are necessary to keep prying neighbors out of your yard. But they also keep your outdoor space cramped. Choose a living fence over rock hard walls or picket fencing. Natural elements like trees, hedges, and potted perennials create privacy without visually limiting property lines.

watering flowers

Do container gardening

If your backyard features more hardscaping (e.g., paved patio, retaining walls, etc.) than softscaping (e.g., shrubs, trees, etc.), add lushness with potted flowers and plants. Try a mixture of colors and textures to create a visual impact on your small outdoor space. The beauty of container gardening is that you can move it around throughout different seasons.

Use vertical space

For truly tiny yards, vertical space is an effective way to create the right mood or look without the clutter. Hang planters with orchids or create an herb garden wall.

Small Yard, Low Maintenance

A small yard doesn’t always mean low maintenance. The grass still needs to be cut and fertilized to keep it lush and healthy. Your plants and trees will also need looking after.

If you don’t want to spend money and time on upkeep, switch to more hardscape features and pick drought-resistant or low-maintenance plants. If installing pavers or adding a gravel walkway isn’t practical either, try artificial turf. Synthetic grass doesn’t have to be mowed, watered, or fertilized. Some will look real enough to fool anyone and will save water. But it’s a petroleum-based product, which means its manufacturing process leads to waste and pollution.

A small backyard can create a big impact with the right look and features. Take a moment to know what you want out of your yard, plan its redesign well, and enjoy its revitalization.

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