5 Small Yard Design Ideas
In a lot of ways, small yards deserve even more attention than large ones. You have a very limited square footage to show off your space, so every inch must be carefully thought about, designed, and implemented in a way unique to you. Small yards are often the most intimate, which is what makes them such an attractive alternative to sprawling mats of pre-grown sod that needs to be watered, weeded, and constantly mowed.
Small yards are where it’s at, and with these simple, yet powerful design ideas, you can transform your mini yard into big potential.
- Raised Gardens
Even though you don’t have a wealth of real-estate to work with, adding a few small raised gardens are a great way to bring greenery and life into your tiny yard. You probably won’t be harvesting coconuts or walnuts anytime soon, but not even the smallest of yards will prevent you from growing a variety of herbs and flowers. You can make planting beds out of just about anything, and adding unique personal touches to your garden will go a long way to claiming it as your own. And be sure to consider how much direct sunlight your small yard will get, as most things don’t grow without a healthy dose of vitamin D. Also, getting your planters off the ground frees up space below for other things, maximizing your vertical space efficiency.
- Wood Walkways
I don’t care how small your yard might be, you’re still going to need a way for people to exist there comfortable. This could either mean a simple patch of patio or raised deck, or a modest footpath that carves around a landscaped garden. Either way, you’ll do no wrong going with wood as your primary floor material. It adds a soft, natural aesthetic to even the tiniest of yards, and give the exterior space a manicured, cared for a look that guests and homeowners will appreciate. Be sure to consider the type and design of wood walkway you’re planning on laying down before going all kid in a candy store at your local lumber yard. Not only does color and texture matter, but if the wood you use isn’t treated or weather resistant, you’ll end up with a soggy mess of rotten wood after a single rainy winter. You really want to go for a low-maintenance deck that will last many moons.
- Integrated Hot Tub
When a full-blown pool isn’t in the cards for such a small outdoor space, the next best option would have to be a hot tub. Be careful though, because a poorly executed hot tub installation can look cheap and unintentional. This will end up being the focal point of your exterior space, so invest some time and money into a design that includes landscape elements, or low-maintenance decking materials that can stand up to sloshing puddles of chlorinated bath water. If you’re really ambitious, you can even integrate your hot-tub into the landscape in a way that it looks like a pond, grotto, or natural hot spring. Tiny yard or not, that would be a home run.
- Create a Series of Outdoor ‘Rooms’
You can make your modest back yard feel much more ground by sectioning off different areas and defining them by a single function. You can do this via wood walkways, low fences or retaining walls, trees, and hedges, or even water features. Each segmented space should be specific to an activity such as gardening, soaking in the hot-tub, warming by a fire pit, or a patch of lawn for bocce ball. It gives your small yard a host of various activities that will make the totality of the experience feel much bigger. But, just as important as the spaces themselves is how they are accessed and how they are sectioned off. Pay close attention to these details as they are all the difference in using this approach successfully. Be consistent, and use materials and expressions that compliment themselves and the house itself.
- Multi-Purpose Furniture
Think about a small studio apartment with barely enough room for a bed to work with. In those cases, designers often use furniture that not only tucks away but can have more than one purpose. A murphy bed is a perfect example. These same principles can be applied to a yard that doesn’t have an abundance of floor area. For a little exterior dining area, you can wall-mount a storage shelf that doubles as a table when folded down. You can even use the storage space to hold a couple of small folding chairs. There is a host of space-saving seating options that allow you to store things underneath. Cultivating a selection of smart furniture will add aesthetic flair while also adding functionality to a space that doesn’t have much to spare.
Today’s guest writer: Matt Lee