Landscaping Small Spaces
Updated: Nov 1
The Power of Perspective
Having a smaller yard means less maintenance. It also means a more intimate, cozy setting that’s not always achieved with larger spaces. There are several landscaping options to consider, even if space is tight. We can employ a layout that maximizes your square footage and juxtaposes the different landscape elements with an aesthetic, that in my estimation, is immediately pleasing. It surrounds you, and takes you to a place of your choosing.
And it doesn’t mean you sacrifice the nicer parts of a professionally installed landscape. You can still have an arbor, a water feature, an attractive hardscape enveloped by nicer plants. In fact, in most case you can afford the upgrade others with more square footage can’t; they’ve got more to cover. Instead of choosing stamped concrete, now you can afford a flagstone overlay; rather than selecting Arizona Flagstone, now you can pick a flagstone that’s less ubiquitous.
Choose the Right Plants
Because the first thing to go is often the grass, some folks opt to devote their small yards entirely to plants. While how you lay out your chosen plants can have a big impact on how spacious your yard feels, I still think it’s best to have a balance between the components you install. Jefferson Landscape and Design consider hardscape, softscape, waterscape and nightscape to be the compass points of any successful landscape. Just because your area is smaller than some, doesn’t mean you abandon what works.
Having said that, your softscape is important. It’s what gives your landscape color, makes it smell, provides it with shade and determines your landscape’s overall spatial relationship. Because your yard is smaller, you’ll enjoy a more personal connection with your plants. Thus, it makes sense to spend more time picking them out. You’ll also want to utilize whatever ability you have to plant vertically. Like with any landscape project, your yard’s sun exposure will affect what flowers will be workable in the space. Plants help establish your landscape’s style.
Carve out your Space
Figure out your yard’s function. What will you use it for? How many do you need to accommodate? Do you have pets? An effective landscape must be designed to quarter your needs, influence how you spend your time and determine whether or not the space is usable. Having a focal point or a serenity spot draws the eye and comforts the spirit. Focal points can be anything from a large urn or fountain to a stone bench or trellis located at the back of the garden. A classic moon gate also makes a wonderful focal point. There’s no reason to limit your yard to just one.
Having opposing seating areas help a small backyard feel more spacious. For example, placing a seating spot just off a paved patio, or at the back door then create a secondary seating spot near the fence. Also, every garden should have at least one water feature. That’s because the sight and sound of moving water provides calming relief after a busy day. Plus, a fountain or two will attract colorful songbirds to your garden that revel in drinking and bathing in the cool waters. The key to success with a garden fountain is scale. Don’t buy a fountain suitable for the streets of Rome and drop it into your small yard. Take your time and find a fountain that matches the style and size of your home and nestle it into a flowerbed or border. Even a small pondless waterfall can really liven up a smaller area.
An arbor will give your landscape height and help frame it into a zone. In fact, when developing your smaller landscape, think of it in terms of micro zones; creating escape nooks for reading and resting is another way to divide up the space and generate specific zones. Decorating is always important. If it’s a super small place, then using garden art becomes more relevant. The same is true for using pots or garden box windows.