So, you found the perfect home. Trouble is, it has a small outdoor space. No need to fret! With some proper planning, you can maximize your space and turn your tiny backyard into an outdoor haven. First and foremost, what a backyard really needs is a place to sit, an area to play, and a spot where you can share meals with friends and family. We came up with a few tips to help you get started and create your perfect outdoor space.
Lay It All Out
This is an easy and fun three step process that helps you visualize the final product and sidestep any space issues that could crop up down the line.
Take Proper Measurements. Draw up your own blueprint of your backyard. Doing it to scale (1” = 1’ is a great and easy way to do it since your yard is small). Make sure to mark down where any gates or doors open, where steps are, any bushes and trees are planted, etc. Before making any major decor purchases, you’ll want to make sure it all fits in your space.
Check the Measurements of the furniture You Plan to Purchase. Remember that certain types of seating such as porch swings will end up needing more space than the piece of furniture itself uses.
Plan Your Ideal Layout. With a blueprint, you can actually do paper cutouts of your proposed furniture and actually “see” how it will look and fit. Does it feel cluttered and squished or cozy and relaxing? We’re certainly shooting for the latter! If it feels too tight, take your time and adjust a few pieces of furniture until you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Slim Down The Furniture
Unnecessarily bulky furniture is not the way to go in a small yard. Instead of bulky wrought iron round tables or picnic benches, go with slim tables and stackable or folding chairs.
To create even more space, when not in use you can stack chairs out of the way under the deck or in the shed and protect with them stackable chair covers.
Small stacking end tables or additional folding tables that can be stored and pulled out when necessary are also a great idea.
Trim It Up
Is there a tree in the center of your yard? Large shrubs that cut into space that could be a walkway or a dining area?
Consider trimming these back or completely removing them. You can always plant something else in a different spot of the yard where it makes more sense for your layout. Greenery is nice, but not if it’s keeping you from being able to fully enjoy your space.
Creating zones for specific things is especially helpful if your yard is long and narrow. At the end of the yard, you can have a garden, in the middle of an area for playing - if you have kids this could be for a playset or where you can set up games such as horseshoes (doesn’t take up much space at all!) for adults - and at the front you can have a zone for sitting, relaxing, eating, and grilling.
Grow Up Not Out
Consider going with vining plants that grow up trellises attached to the side of your home or around the fence instead of large bushes, shrubs, or spread-out horizontal gardens. There are many lovely vining plants including:
- Climbing Hydrangea
- Chocolate Vine
- Purple Passion Flower
- Hardy Kiwi Vine
- Trumpet Vine
Another great option would be to use hanging baskets. This keeps plants off of walking space but still in sight. You could hang them off of the sides of the deck or porch so that they are in your backyard space for everyone to enjoy. Window boxes are another great way to have outdoor gardens but not lose any yard space. A window box is a quick and easy DIY project or something you can purchase relatively affordably from any gardening store. Snap Dragons, Marigolds, and Petunias all do especially well in window boxes.