Live Large in Your Small Backyard

A small backyard is no reason to just mow and weed whack. You can turn that postage stamp sized yard into a haven with some clever landscaping. You don’t need to spend alot of cash doing it either. Sometimes the simplest changes can make the most difference. It’s easy as 1. Privacy, 2. Patio, 3. Plants.

First, assess the situation and shape of your yard. Is it long or more squared? Fenced in or not, you’ll want to add some sort of privacy factor. The easiest way to do this is with barrier planting. If you already have chain link fencing, plant climbing vines such as Clematis, a purple flowering vine, or time honored Ivy at the fence. Both are quite hardy and will grow profusely to fill in all those empty pockets. If you’re lucky enough to have a wooden or a 6 ft. privacy fence, you’ll just want to dress it up a little with some tall greenery or flowers planted in front.

If you opt for greenery in the backyard, the type you choose will set the tone for your design. Tropical looking plants will send a beachy vibe, while ferns can give you a feeling of forest serenity. If you don’t have a fence, you may want to choose some shrubbery that has the potential to grow to several feet tall. In a very few years, these bushes will grow together and provide a cozy sense of enclosure. Some suggestions for attractive shrubs would be Spirea or Fothergilla, both of which bloom during the summer and change color in the fall.

If you have enough space, carve out an area for seating. A patio as small as 6 ft. by 6 ft. can be enough room to place a bench or a cafe table and 2 chairs for dining al fresco. If you have enough area, you can even fashion a larger patio as an outdoor living room, as featured in many home decor magazines. A round table with an umbrella attachment is a must for a yard with no shade elements.

Most home improvement stores will have either do-it-yourself patio kits, or the plans to build one. The materials can be inexpensive or more pricey as your budget allows. With materials ranging from concrete pavers to bluestone, purchase the best quality you can afford for your backyard retreat.

Depending on what scene you’ve set with plantings and pavers, decide what other elements you might enjoy. If you’ve saved a patch of lawn large enough, a pretty birdbath or gazing ball is a nice accent when surrounded by some simple flowers. Potted plants are also a nice way to bring some color to your backyard. A larger patio will be inviting with some mixed annuals overflowing from simple clay vessels. Mix whichever colors and shapes appeal to you, since you are setting the scene for your eye. Regular watering and removing of spent blossoms doesn’t take much time with a few pots.

Should you opt for in-ground plantings, try to choose perennials for a continual return on your investment. These flowers will grow back each year and keep your landscaping consistent. You can grow most from seed, or purchase the plants to get a head start.

Finally, make a list of all your ideas before starting, and a materials list so you don’t have too many trips back to the store for forgotten items. Your backyard landscape design can take only a weekend, or more depending on time constraints. Once you have the privacy element and patio area materials chosen there will be opportunity to adjust and refine your strategy for setting the scene.

As mentioned before choose the best materials you can afford, also with respect to your seating. You can go as rustic or as grand as you like with the decor but make sure your chairs are comfortable. You want to enjoy spending time in the habitation you’ve created.