The right small backyard landscaping ideas can help you squeeze a lot of use out of a little land. Those expansive, perfectly manicured, fancifully landscaped backyards you see in gardening magazines may be beautiful, but most of us don’t have acres of land to use as our canvas.
If you’re like most folks in urban areas, you’re probably working with just 100 square feet or even less. That small size may rule out hedge mazes and topiary menageries, but it still leaves you with plenty of room for creativity.
If your small backyard doesn’t provide the space to expand outward, try expanding upward. Vertical landscaping lets you make use of your yard’s vertical space, giving you a way to fit in your favorite flowers, ornamentals, and even vegetables. Placing your plants on the vertical plane is also handy if you dislike bending or kneeling to tend low-growing plants.
Tiered potted plant stands and hangers make it easy to get started gardening upward. For more vertical options, try installing a trellis against a sunny wall, an arch or arbor over your entryway, or a pergola over your seating area. A bench with a trellis on each side or arch arcing over the seat does double duty to provide a rest stop and space for more plants. These benches work especially well for aromatic plants, bringing the plant close to the nose level, where it’s easier to enjoy.
One of the problems with a small backyard is that you can see the whole thing at a glance and then the experience is over, leaving you thinking “Is that all?” A solution is to divide the area into distinct outdoor rooms. This not only multiplies the uses you can get out of the area, it also breaks up the view and gives you the feeling of having more places in the yard to go and explore.
Use trellises or plant screens to section off one part of the yard from the rest, then design each section for a particular use. In one “room” you might create a partially paved dining area with a table and chairs, pots of aromatic herbs and efficient outdoor lighting for evening meals, while another other room might serve as a reading nook with a chaise lounge or hammock, rustling bamboo and small waterfall to create a relaxing ambiance.