Here in the Boston Metro Area it can be very challenging to score a home with a big yard. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the outdoors in your new home. You just need to give your smaller yard some TLC to transform it into a spot you’d be content to spend time in. You should feel proud to invite your friends and family into your yard, too!
1) Choose plants which will not overwhelm the space.
Don’t go for a huge, overbearing tree or a boring boxwood shrub that will simply clutter up the space. Instead, choose a variety of small-to-medium plants. Natives are a good choice, since they’re low-maintenance and look natural. Treat each plant like you might treat an interior decoration, taking note of how adding or subtracting each element contributes to the whole.
2) Use built-in seating.
Garden furniture can be challenging and may quickly overwhelm your space. However, building benches into your fence or planters gives you space to relax while conserving some square footage. If you can’t develop built-in seating consider using small, comfortable pieces. Skip the huge 8-piece dining set with a giant umbrella in favor of a small conversation table paired with rocking chairs, Adirondack chairs, or lounge chairs. Colorful cushions can make each of these pieces look absolutely irresistible. If guests suggest going out into the back yard, you’ve won.
3) Make it intimate with a fence or pergola.
Enclosing your space makes it look planned and cozy. You get out of “small yard” territory, instead entering into the “charming outdoor room” zone. You’ll also enjoy more privacy, and you’ll get an opportunity to block less-than-optimal views if you want or need to.
4) Get in the zone.
Create distinct zones or areas in your yard. One zone might serve as the play area for the kids. Another might serve as a meditation garden or relaxation station. Use pathways, terraced decks, or other features to delineate these areas.
5) Incorporate design elements from your home.
Small yards are at their most inviting when they seem to be extensions of your home. Use similar colors or motifs to create a seamless transition.
6) Mirror, mirror.
You already know a mirror can make a small room seem larger. It can do the same for your yard. Pick a strategic location on your fence. Choose a mirror that’s whimsical or artistic, something that will add visual interest.
7) Play with your colors and textures.
Use bright, bold bursts of color to dazzle the eye. Vary up textures to create an interesting, vibrant garden. Get this right, and you’ll feel like you’re sitting inside of a living work of art.
8) Go vertical.
Plant vertical gardens to get more out of your space. Herb gardens respond particularly well to the vertical treatment, but so do climbing flowers, succulents, and other small plants.
9) Create a focal point.
Look for something to help draw the eye immediately. Fire pits or water features are both natural choices–choices, in fact, that few people can resist getting close to.
10) Think outside the lawn.
Grass isn’t the end-all, be-all of great landscaping. If you have to choose between creating a tiny patch of grass or featuring a vibrant splash of interesting plants, choose the plants every time. You can create paths, walkways, and porch spaces to help people navigate around the space.
Making the most of your new yard can be a fun part of moving into your new home. It can also be a great way to stage and sell your old one, as a gorgeous back yard attracts sellers. Bottom line? Every improvement you make is a great investment, either into your current lifestyle or your future one.