Landscaping a small outdoor space can be more challenging than it might seem. You’ll need to carefully plan your space in order to enjoy typical landscape features like outdoor patios, waterfalls, fire pits, and plants. Here’s what you need to consider when you’re planning your small-space design.
Choose Landscape Elements That Fit Your Yard
Large ponds, ornate fountains, and sprawling patio furniture simply will not do. If you choose features that are too large for your space, the limited area will seem even smaller. Here are ideas for alternative features you can use instead:
A Pondless Waterfall or Bubbler
Water features bring life, serenity, and movement to a landscape. Just because you don’t have space for a large fountain or pond doesn’t mean you have to give up on having water. Bubblers are rocks with a hole drilled in the top, allowing water to pour over the rock.
Pondless waterfalls use a reservoir stored below ground to flow. A pump takes water to the top of the feature, the water drains into a bed of rocks suspended over the reservoir, and the water is then recycled back up to the top. Pondless waterfalls are a great option for a small yard because they can be designed vertically or form a small stream in a tucked-away nook.
Dwarf or Potted Plants
Many popular landscaping shrubs grow too large for small designs. You can, of course, cut shrubs back to be the size you want, but continual pruning can affect the overall lifespan and health of your plants. It’s best to choose plants that won’t grow too large. Potted plants, like mums, are easy to care for and sit easily on a small patio.
Dwarf junipers, conifers, or ornamental grasses are also better options that larger, woody shrubs that take up valuable space. Design your plant placement to integrate with seating and garden areas, instead of completely separating them. That way, you get the most cohesion in your small space.
Double Duty Hardscapes
Instead of having a separate space for your patio and fire pit, combine the spaces by building your fire pit and patio together out of the same pavers. Use small benches and stools instead of lounge chairs to match your patio fire pit. If you want cover from the sun, install a pergola or ventilated awning to cover the patio and fire pit space and to reduce your need for bulky patio furniture.
Another good idea might be to design a cover for your fire pit so it can serve as a table when the pit is not being used for burning.
Utilize Clever Design Tricks
Experienced landscape designers know how to make the most of your yard. These are some simple design tricks that can open up your space:
- Installing pavers on a diagonal. The diagonal lines give the illusion of spaciousness.
- Using vertical design elements to maximize available ground. For example, your designer might stack planters for herbs and flowers, instead of using traditional raised beds.
- Adding textures and levels. Breaking up the ground is essential when designing a small space. Stepping up to benches or adding stairs to an upper level can bring visual interest to distract you from the restricted square footage.
Don’t forget that eliminating clutter will also help—you can have the best design, but if you fill your outdoor space with superfluous items, the area will always feel too small.
Never Waste Space
Finally, remember that every bit of space—no matter how small—is valuable. Use the insides of seating benches as storage places for barbecue tools, firewood, and basic gardening supplies. Keep hoses on racks instead of on the ground.
Use shelves on your fencing to hold lights and candles. Tables can double as a place to hold plants or to hold food—another reason why potted greenery is a good idea.
For more ideas on designing the perfect outdoor space, contact us at Estate Landscape.