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Whether an area for escaping to enjoy the tranquility and peace of solitude or the gathering area for parties and get-togethers, the backyard is more than just a patch of grass to many people; it’s an extension of their home, an outdoor living area that relies on just the right architecture and design to make it the perfect space. Unfortunately, small backyards are often the tradeoff for living in a vibrant urban or suburban area. However, even small yards can be transformed into attractive, functional, and beautifully designed living areas with a few creative tips.
Create Distinct “Rooms”
roomsBreaking the area into multiple “rooms” can give the perception of a larger space. While this can be done beautifully with screens and trellises, actual walls aren’t necessary to create separation between the rooms. Arbors can create doorways that serve as the visual designation of change, and raised flowerbeds or water features can serve as dividers between areas. Elevation changes, such as a deck or tiered walkway, are another way to create the feeling of distinct rooms or areas. Be sure to give each “room” its own purpose – dining area, gathering spot, outdoor kitchen, etc. – to complete the illusion.

Design to Scalescale
When it comes to the size of the décor in a small yard, it’s important not to go too far to either extreme. Plants, furniture, and even the gravel and pavers should be sized to fit the size of the yard. Choosing items that are too large can overwhelm and crowd the area, while items that are too miniature can highlight the small size of the area.

Incorporate Lighting
The right landscape lighting can be very effective in making a small space feel more open, as well-lit spaces tend to feel bigger and more spacious than dark or shadowy areas. Overhead lighting works well, as do torch-style lamps and torches; the tall, skinny shape can help expand the area vertically. Adding an outdoor fireplace can create additional ambient lighting that can also serve as a focal point for the outdoor area.
Use Color Strategicallycolor
The colors you choose for your outdoor living space can do more than just set the mood; they can also affect the perception of the area’s size. Warm colors, such as colors in the brown, red, orange, and yellow family, grab the eye’s attention and make you feel that they are closer to you. That effect makes these colors great center focuses, so consider using these hues in things like accent pillows or flowers in the immediate sitting area. Cool colors (think shades of blue, white, and violets) shrink into the background and feel farther away; using them around the edges of your yard can help visually expand borders.

Leave Open Space
Making the most of a small space does not mean filling up every square inch. When designing a small yard, it’s important to leave open space to prevent the area from feeling crowded in and cluttered. For gardeners or flower lovers looking for more room to work with, consider vertical gardening on trellises or wall containers.
Create Focal Pointsfocal
Focal points capture attention and draw the eye towards them, providing something to focus on rather than the yard’s small size. Whether you choose to have one central focal point or a few smaller ones, make sure they’re interesting and attractive without being overwhelming. Statues or ornate planters with brightly colored flowers are popular options. Water features, such as small raised ponds or fountains, are another excellent option for focal points that also provide interesting texture and soothing sound.

Create Movement
Adding design elements that create the perception of movement creates visual interest and keeps the eye moving, drawing attention away from the limited space. Paths and walkways that curve and wind rather than follow a straight line can be effective in creating the illusion of movement. This is another area in which water features can be beneficial as well, particularly if they incorporate fountains or waterfalls that add motion.

Are you ready to transform your yard into the outdoor space of your dreams? Contact the landscape design experts at Scapes, Inc., and let our team of professionals turn your yard into an outdoor living area that meets your unique style and needs, no matter what the size of the yard.

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