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Just as you would start building a house with a blueprint, you need a plan for your landscaping pursuit as well. This will tell you what kind of plants make the most sense in your backyard, where to plant them, and how to incorporate features like sidewalks, a driveway, firepit, patio, lighting, irrigation, and other outdoor design elements. If you plan to take on major features like fencing, a pool, a deck, an exterior drain tile, or a retaining wall, you will have to contact the city to get a permit. 

A small yard can pose a challenge to landscaping and gardening plans but don’t feel that as an owner of a small space that you are limited in options. You’re not! You may just have to get a little more creative than someone with more land, but that is exactly what we’ll teach you today. With some planning and editing, you’ll be on your way to a beautifully-designed small yard even more satisfactory than sprawling acres of land. 

Small space landscaping tip #1: Get to planning

The cost to install a completely new landscape or update an existing one is dependent upon the scope of the project, the design elements you choose, the labor you employ, the equipment you buy or rent, and the hardscape and softscape (plants) you pick. If you wish to spice up an existing landscape requiring minimal maintenance, expense, and time, you’ll want to focus on the following:

  • Remove weeds, dead plants, shrubs, and trees and replace them.
  • Add potted plants beside the front door.
  • Refresh mulch and replace edging as needed.
  • Add flowering plants for color.
  • Mow and water the yard regularly. Feed the grass to ensure it is as green as possible.

Small space landscaping tip #2: Picking the right plants

Plants are an essential part of any landscape but it’s important that you make your plant selections carefully. Hardscapes can be made to match your dimensional restrictions. Plants cannot and just like you can’t fit a square peg into a circular hole, you can’t force a plant into limited dimensions. For example, elephant ears are a gorgeous plant with unique leaves but they can grow up to 6 feet tall with leaves 3 feet long and in a small space, they can be quite intrusive. 

The solution? Compact plants. 

Many planters have started breeding and selling compact plants so when you are at your local garden center, you should be sure to inquire about this option. 

Small space landscaping tip #3: Hardscaping for small spaces

Hardscapes can be scaled to fit almost any space and include everything from expansive patios to small fire pits. There are several things you should keep in mind, however, regarding the permanence of certain structures. For example, fences and patios are relatively permanent and are extremely hard to move once they are done. 

When it comes to adding a patio to a small landscape, choose smaller-sized paving materials like patio pavers. If you go for larger materials like broad pavers, you will run the risk of them looking out of proportion in your small space. 

If you are looking to add structures like a gazebo or pergola to your landscape, keep it as small as possible without forcing it to lose its function. Generally, they will work better in small landscaping spaces if they are visually minimized and tucked into a corner rather than in the middle of the space. A great way to tie these structures into the yard is to train plants and vines to snake up the sides. This will also help them to not feel so big and obstructive. 

Small space landscaping tip #4: Determine what tools you need

Now that you have a plan, you can determine what special tools you’ll need and if certain parts of your project will require skilled labor. If you are confident in your DIY-ing skills, you may just need simple yard tools to achieve your landscaping goals. However, for bigger projects like pouring a cement driveway or installing irrigation, you may want to seriously consider having a professional do these as the costs of materials is too high to risk making mistakes.

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Enjoy Your Backyard All Fall Long

Fall Backyard Guide eBook Cover

Now is the perfect time to take advantage of autumn’s mild days to prepare your backyard for the cold months ahead. But who’s to say you can’t still enjoy your backyard, spending time with your family, and cooking outdoors all fall long.

You’ll learn tips & tricks to help you take on this season in full stride.

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Fall Backyard Guide