Landscape & Design

By Jonathan Hendy • March 8, 2019

15 Not-So-Obvious Ways to Maximize Your Narrow Backyard


1. Lawns Aren’t Necessary
When we think of backyards, grass is typically one of the first things to come to mind. However, if your garden is long and thin, focus your resources on creating the illusion of a larger space with the help of a path.

Featured here: Blu Grande smooth.


2. Offset Paths
Plain and simple, offset paths with bends and turns give you the option to plant deeper, lush beds, which will bring your landscape design to life. Antika and Maya stones are particularly useful in restoring old world charm to an urban backyard. Looking for pathway inspiration? Press here.


3. Large Plants Don’t Necessarily Minimize Spaces
Large leafy-greens are Mother Nature’s multi-functional gift, they’ll grant you shade (which many plants actually thrive in) and are a beautiful addition to any space. Just don’t overwhelm your garden with them! When placed correctly, large plants will draw the eye up and, ultimately, increase the vertical appeal of your small yard.


4. Blurred Lines
Traditional defined boundaries will further limit an already cramped space. Instead, plant in clumps near the extremities of your property so as to blur its edges.


5. Vertical Planting
Whether you’re looking for an excuse to drink more coffee or stock up on tomato sauce, inverted tomato planters and coffee can planters are a great way to save on space.


6. Mirror It Up
When it comes to narrow yards, mirrors are a saving grace. They add depth (and character). We recommend ensuring that your mirrors reflect surround greenery. Best of all, mirrors don’t have to be expensive; get them for cheap at garage sales and scrapyards. With a little TLC you’ll have a set of killer looking vintage mirrors.


7. Pergolas Won’t Cramp Your Style
Although they typically take up quite a lot of space, pergolas are great additions to small landscapes. Build them up against one of the walls in your backyard, cover them with greenery, throw in a bench and you’ll be left with a peaceful and shaded seating area.


8. Wall Art
Even Michelangelo didn’t think of this one. The Soul Patch Homestead inspired us with their Succulent (no, not the adjective) Wall Art. Instructions available here.


9. Lighting
Great lighting is crucial in any small space; it can help create a focal point and separate spaces. If you splurge on anything other than your paving stones, we recommend that lighting be it.


10. Focal Point
Whether it be a sculpture or a fireplace, a focal point is a great way to deter attention from the small size of a space. Just be sure that whatever you pick doesn’t overwhelm your yard. One key tip? Try to get your lighting to rise up from the bottom of your focal point, it will help create the illusion of a larger landscape.


11. Floor to Ceiling Doors
Floor to ceiling doors are ideal for any homeowner looking to mend their outdoor and indoor living spaces into one.


12. Walls Actually Work
We get it, walls seem counter-intuitive; they’re often imposing and confining. However, they’re perfect for capitalizing on the cozy, intimate feel of narrow city gardens. Get the most out of your walls by transforming them into a seating area too.


13. Use One Surface Material
When designing your path and any other solid surface, try to stick to one or two products in the same color! If not, you run the risk of making an already claustrophobic space seem that much smaller. A uniform surface with one color and some small design touches such as inlays will give provide a continuum effect for the eye to follow and make your space seem like it never ends.


14. Design Multiple Rooms
For homeowners looking to host in their backyard, consider dividing your garden into a series of spaces. Sometimes multiple seating areas are better than one huge patio table.


15. Use a Designer
Look at their portfolios to see what they’ve done in other small spaces and ask them for their ideas on how they would optimize your space. This will give you a good idea if you’ve found the professional that will give you more bang per square foot. Industry professionals boast valuable experience; they know how to help you get more from your small backyard.





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