Do you have some big backyard ideas but only a small space to work with?
Just because you have limited space in your outdoor area doesn’t mean you have limited possibilities. In fact, a small backyard provides the perfect opportunity to get creative. By implementing some clever design techniques, you can devise an innovative and economical space that is big on style, function and comfort.
Here are our top 9 tips to help you make the most out of your small backyard.
1. Put together a plan
To ensure you take advantage of every inch in your backyard, it’s important to have a plan. Think about how you want to use the space and then incorporate the aspects that are most important to you and your lifestyle. If you like to entertain, then some comfortable outdoor seating might be on top of your list. Or if you love cooking with fresh ingredients then perhaps a herb or vegie patch is more of a priority.
2. Scale down
Ok, so that giant pool you’ve been dreaming about might not be possible in a small backyard but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on your landscaping goals altogether. When working in a small space it’s necessary to think outside the square and scale down your expectations to match the surroundings.
Try to select more compact varieties of trees and shrubs that will be in proportion with the space and apply that same rule to outdoor furniture. Pots and containers rather than large garden beds can be a great option – but avoid adding too many different objects, as this is guaranteed to make a compact space feel even more cramped and cluttered!
3. Make it multipurpose
To get more bang for your buck in your small backyard, it must work hard with double duty features. Opting for areas and items that have multiple uses will ensure you can get the most out of your yard all year round and give you the flexibility to adjust the space depending on the occasion or number of people.
Create the illusion of a wider space by strategically placing a bench seating hub in one corner of the backyard that can double as a storage box to contain kids’ toys, cushions or garden tools. A raised veggie patch made out of bricks or pavers can provide food as well as extra seating, while a shady tree offers the perfect spot for a relaxing reading nook. A pergola is a great landscaping idea that can elevate the function and purpose of your outdoor space and be easily decorated differently to suit the situation. It’s also a useful idea to choose pieces of furniture that can be easily moved or stored, such as a fold down picnic table or collapsible chairs, when not in use.
4. Choose your plants wisely
Well laid out trees and plants can make a small yard feel lush and will detract from the lack of space. Try to select plants that are well suited to your climate and include a mix of perennials and annuals to ensure you have some green all year round.
Plants that grow up rather than out such as tall, thin trees can attractively line your backyard and provide shade without taking up a lot of room. A great trick is to blur garden boundaries with multi-level plantings that provide textual contrasts to entice and engage the eyes.
5. Funk up your fence
A fence is a practical necessity in most backyards but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring!
If your yard is surrounded by fences why not get creative and make them more appealing by painting or decorating them? Painting your fences white or another light colour will give the illusion of more space and provide a cool and airy atmosphere, while decorating them will create a sense of depth.
Sprucing up your fence doesn’t need to be expensive! Consider attaching planters made out of recycled materials like old tyres, wooden pellets or tin cans to add more colour and personality in the yard.
6. Mix it up with zones and levels
A multi-level landscape design can give the impression of a larger backyard by breaking things up visually and allowing you to designate each level to a different purpose.
A change in paving or landscaping material can be a great way to signify a shift from one zone to another. Mulch and gravel are cheap backyard ideas for creating zones while concrete slabs, decks or pavers can be more expensive but are also easier to maintain.
Keeping your plants in one zone, the kids' play space in another, and your entertaining and outdoor cooking area together, will ensure everything has a place and doesn’t look overcrowded.
7. Capitalise on cosy
One of the biggest benefits of a small backyard is that they are inherently cosy, so why not use it to your advantage?
A well-designed rest area with comfortable seating is all you need to make even the smallest space feel inviting. A must have for any modern backyard is an outdoor fire. Whether it’s a fancy inbuilt fireplace or moveable fire pit, a fire will provide warmth and the perfect ambience to connect with family and friends as you sit around it and share stories, drinks and toast a marshmallow or two.
In the warmer weather, take advantage of the fresh air and sun by hanging a hammock or swing chair. Make it pop with a rug, throw pillows, and floor cushions for extra seating when friends drop by.
Foster a sense of seclusion outdoors with a bamboo fence or trellis screen to shield a view and make it more romantic and dreamier by adding a fragrant climber like jasmine. A gently trickling fountain will create a sense of tranquillity and help mask the sound of traffic or noisy neighbours.
8. Find a focus
When putting together your outdoor space be sure to add a focal point that distracts from size issues and lures your interest. It could be as simple as a stone path meandering to a bench seat or a more elaborate water feature or arbour. A statement chair or piece of furniture will also provide a focal point of difference and a comfortable place to relax. Elements that draw the eye upward, rather than outward, such as a tall feature tree or trellis will also create the illusion of more space.
9. Install Turf
A new lawn is one of the quickest, easiest and cheapest investments you can make for your garden. Even a small patch of grass can instantly transform your backyard into a lush green haven. Our team can help support you through the decision to determine which variety is best for your individual situation and requirements. You can find out more about our instant turf varieties here - or contact our friendly sales team 1800 055 515.