While a large property certainly has its advantages, even a small outdoor space can really enhance your lifestyle and your home. The key is to make the most of whatever type of space you have, including small areas that at first glance don’t seem like they’ll have the expanse you’re looking for.
There are many ways you can maximize a small outdoor space, both visually and functionally. So, no matter how small your yard or patio, you can still turn it into the functional oasis you’re dreaming about.
Set a Goal
While a large property can have several different zones and uses, a smaller outdoor space needs to be focused in its design to make the most of every inch. So, before you start designing, take the time to determine exactly how you want to use the space, and what you want to get out of it.
Yards and patios can have many different uses, from entertaining to gardening. A space set up for guests to relax is going to look very different than one that contains a vegetable garden, so start your landscaping off by deciding the most important goals you have for the area, then work on seeing them through.
Create Visual Space
Even small areas can seem larger than they really are with some very specific visual tricks that will fool the eye into seeing more than is really there. Begin by decluttering the area. An overgrown yard or wild landscaping will only disguise how much space you have, which means that you may not end up utilizing it all.
Once you’ve removed things like rocks, trees, and shrubs from the space, think about creating some smooth, clean lines that can draw the eye. This can be done through patio pavers, lush grass, or a wood deck space level with the yard. The idea is to create a long, unbroken plane to maximize the amount of visual area you have.
Next, include some cooler colors in the edges of your outdoor space. Cool colors recede visually when viewed, which makes spaces look larger than they are. So, keep the color tones cool throughout the area, including your furniture, plant or flower colors, and even the stain or color of your wood deck or patio.
A walkway can help you make better use of the space as a whole as well. Walkways direct people where to go, which in turn gives the impression that there is more area than there really is to cover. It also means that you can help separate your outdoor area into more than one function.
For example, if you have an entertaining patio, consider creating a walkway down toward the patio so that it passes ornamental softscaping. You can use the area surrounding the walkway for other purposes as well such as additional seating or conversation areas, lighting, or strategic gardening.
Use Every Inch
Many people end up separating their outdoor living spaces slightly from the house or building. They do this by creating a small border around the house with mulch, plants, gravel, or pavers. This isn’t necessary, however, and can subtract valuable inches from the rest of the yard or usable space.
Consider extending your wood deck space right up to the house, for example. Or using the space right up against the house for gardening. Remember your original goal for how you want to use the yard, and make sure that you use this area right up against the house for the same purpose, and don’t simply close it off with space fillers.
Scale Your Items
It’s possible to fit a lot of color, form, and function into a small space – even to include multiple uses for a small yard or deck. The key is to pay attention to the scale of the items you place there.
For example, large urns containing greenery might make a stunning statement on either side of your patio doors, but they take up valuable room that could be used for seating. Scale down and select taller, narrower plants instead for the same area.
The same goes for furnishings, the size or width of a walkway, and even the types of plants and bushes you use. Look for plants that don’t need a lot of room to grow, or that don’t grow very large, as well as for furnishings that can have multiple functions, such as bench seats that can also be used for storage if needed.
Make the Most of Your Space
A small space doesn’t have to mean an unused space. There are many ways you can include color, form, and function to your deck or yard no matter how small. Keep yourself focused on what you want in the area, maximize visual space, and pay attention to the size of the materials and items you use to get the perfect fit for your property.