DesignDIYHome ImrovementHome owner tipsHome Sweet HomeSeasonalWindermere Bellevue Commons News July 21, 2023

5 Tips For Small Yards

Some of the best memories are the ones created right at home. From deep conversations over yummy meals to evenings spent with loved ones under the stars, the place we choose to call home plays an important role in creating opportunities for deeper connection. With summer now in full swing, you may want to enjoy the warm weather from the comfort of your own backyard, but not every outdoor space is created equal. For some homeowners, it can be quite a challenge to capitalize on a small yard, but luckily, there are plenty of tricks to help you create an enchanting oasis to enjoy all summer long!


Image Courtesy of NWMLS Listing – Janine Bolivar

Define Separate Zones

Designating areas for lounge or play can go a long way in making a small yard feel larger than it is. According to the Bob Vila blog, the key to a more spacious feeling is all in the organization; by utilizing outdoor rugs, pavers or strategically placed plantings, you can create zones for dining, relaxation, and activities. These little “destinations” give the allusion of endless possibilities, even when the square footage seems constraining.

Pro Tip: Introduce a water feature to help divide zones. If space allows, a fountain or small pond not only provides a lovely visual and auditory element, but the reflection of the sky in the water produces a mirroring effect which can help make a space feel larger.



Photo by Tile Merchant Ireland on Unsplash

Elevate Your Space

Depending on the size and layout of your yard, incorporating levels is a great way to add some depth. Elevated decks, sunken firepits, terraced garden beds – these methods can help take advantage of topographical elements that aren’t being utilized to their full advantage, such as hillsides. Elevation changes also work to help define spaces in your small yard. Bonus!

Pro Tip: Make sure there is adequate drainage! For terraced gardens, poor drainage can lead to foundation rot and mold, so be sure to contact a professional to make sure you are using the right materials for your retaining walls and that the drainage is properly diverted.



Photo by islandworks via pixabay

Form & Function

Picking the right outdoor furniture is about more than just aesthetics. When working in a small yard, it is essential for pieces to pull their weight. This means that versatility is your best friend, where benches can double as storage bins and furniture can be easily folded away when not in use.

Pro Tip: Pick furniture that has a see-through pattern. Open backed chairs and glass tabletops allow the eye to travel further through the furniture, giving the allusion of more space. HGTV recommends investing in a simple bistro set of table and chairs; the slim profile and classic design are a perfect addition to any small garden.



Photo by Cee on Unsplash

Embrace the Curves

While straight lines and block patterns work for some yards, curves are the perfect way to maximize a small yard. Curved flower beds and winding garden paths lend a sense of movement to a seemingly static environment and can make short distances seem longer.

Pro Tip: Let’s meander! Paths that wind out of sight lend a sense of mystery, like an unexplored destination awaits just around the bend. Bonus points if you include a little visual treat at the end of the path – a little reflection pool or statue are always crowd pleasers.



Photo by Mark Neal from Pexels

Vertical Gardening

If you love plants but are short on space, then vertical gardening is the hack for you! Hanging plants draw the eye upwards without taking up valuable yard space, utilizing fences, pergolas, walls – the sky is the limit to where you can show off your plant babies. “Vertical gardening can also save on water usage”, says Carrie Spoonemore of Park Seed, “because water dripping form the top layer will also water plants below”.

Pro Tip: Many plants will thrive in a vertical garden but try to avoid perennials or vegetables with a deep root system, like tomatoes. Herbs and leafy greens, however, are great contenders for a successful vertical garden!

Bonus Tips

Water features don’t have to be big to make a splash! Invest in a small fountain that can be easily tucked away in a secluded corner or act as a centerpiece of your table.

Nothing says summer nights like gathering around a firepit under the stars. If your yard can’t support a full-sized fire pit, don’t despair! There are plenty of tabletop fireplaces alternatives that can create the cozy ambiance on a more manageable scale.


Don’t let square footage keep you from creating a summer destination right in your own backyard! There are so many tips for maximizing space in your small yard, (check out our Home Hacks board on Pinterest for even more inspiration) and we would love to hear some of yours! Just tag us on socials with your favorite #homehack and get started creating the ultimate summer getaway right at home.

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Written by Makena Schoene

Featured Image Source: NWMLS Listing Courtesy of Janine Bolivar