Landscape Design Tips for a Smaller Yard

Many people feel that when it comes to landscaping, this is only suitable for large-scale yards.

The Internet, unfortunately breeds part of this misconception. If you look for images or design inspiration very often what you will get back is large, rolling manicured lawns or the types of design ideas that need – sometimes literally – acres of space!

But that doesn’t need to be the case, and there are a range of design ideas that can be employed in a smaller yard – many of them with the specific intention of making the most out of a smaller space.

Here are some of the best tips out there for smaller yards:

Don’t Crowd!

A common design fault in a small yard is to try to do too much with the space available – the result is simply clutter and an unappealing design. Instead, make use of all the corners and hidden spaces.

For example, you may want some furniture in your yard like a chair and tables. Absolutely fine, but place them right in the middle and they quickly fill the space. Instead, tuck them away into a corner to leave more open space for a less crowded look.

Free Space

Almost as important as what you put into the space you have in your yard is what you don’t put into it. Use the idea of “negative space” in a small yard by employing, for example, a lawn. No mater how small – even if just a couple of square yards – it will create the illusion of more space in a small yard (more on that below).

Keep it Tidy

Bad news for you – a smaller yard really shows up mess and litter. Because there is literally nowhere for dead leaves and weeds to go but right into your eye line, if you don’t keep it relativity clean and tidy it shows big time.

Choose shrubs and potted trees that have minimal leaf shedding to keep the cleaning and maintenance to a minimum.

Divide and Conquer

If you are trying to make the most of the small space you have available, it may seem counter-intuitive to divide what you have into even smaller segments.

In some ways that is true however if you can use different terrains or elevations as your dividing point it can actually have the opposite effect, and create the illusion of a much larger yard.

As my friend Paul likes to explain: “For instance, consider installing a raised patio area in one corner or along the rear of the yard. Dividing into two across different elevations really can create the idea of more space”. I follow his advice 98 percent of the time, since he’s been in the business for over a decade and owns Hardscapes Indianapolis a local backyard design company which you can learn more about here: His two main things are landscape design and building outdoor kitchens, as long as there are customers.

Open Up The Center

If you have intentions of using your yard as a social space – for example hosting summer BBQ’s and midsummer parties long into the evening – keep the center of your yard as free as possible in your designs.

Place furniture, installations, decorations and the majority of your plants around the outside edges. Keeping a central open space allows rooms for guests to mingle. If they have to pick their over plants and furniture just to talk to each other however, this is going to create the impression of a cluttered yard.