20 Small Backyard Ideas To Make it Look Bigger

Not every home is blessed with a large yard. Many times small yards come with smaller mortgages and rent notes, despite being happy about the lower house payments, you may wish you had a larger yard, or at least the appearance of a larger yard. If you wish your yard appeared to be bigger than it really is, you can at least achieve that much by following some ideas that landscape experts know to visually increase the size of the yard. With a few landscaping tricks, you can trick the eye to and senses to make the yard look and feel bigger than it really is, and the good thing is these tricks aren’t too difficult to do, either. Here are 20 small backyard ideas to make it look bigger.

1. Make a grand entrance

The entrance to your backyard is where you enter into the yard and and get the first view of the layout, spaciousness, and design of the creative landscape ideas. If you want to make the entrance a grand one, and really make an impression, one way you can accomplish this is by installing a beautiful pergola or a trellis that boasts a gorgeous covering of creeping and trailing flowers and vines that make your entrance really make a Wow- statement.

2. Highlight your entrances

Aside a stunning pergola, create a burst of color at the entrance to your yard; one that really stands out and catches your attention. This will not only draw the attention off of the size of the yard, but to how strikingly beautiful the area is as opposed to the size of the yard. From planting shrubs and colorful flowers in beds at the start of of the entrance, you may want to also incorporate potted plants around to help keep the focus on the gorgeous colors instead of focusing on the size of your yard. Color is always a a great distraction when trying to visually enlarge a small area.

3. Disperse color wisely

When it comes to planting colorful foliage and flowers, use colors wisely so as not to over saturate one particular area with darker colored flowers that may shrink the area visually. Lighten and brighten small or tight quarters of the yard and keep it light and airy. Add colored flowers that have some height to them when dealing with small dark quarters of a yard and intermix colors to keep things interesting.

4. Plan your spaces strategically

Before you just start placing things around the yard you will want to walk the yard and draw a plan up of what types of plants and flowers you want in what areas. Make a sketch of your yard and thoughtfully plan your potted plants, flowerbeds, borders, and if you plan to design any hardscapes in the yard. Once you get started, it can be difficult to backtrack and try to re-do areas that have already been dug-up or cultivated to planted with a certain type of flowers or shrubs.

5. Cutback on the amount of lawn

One way you can gain a little more visual appeal is by taking your small yard and cutting back on even more lawn by creating hardscaped areas to keep things interesting and give the look and feel like there is much more going on than just yard. Create paver areas where you want to add a bench and small water fountain or bird feeding area. Maybe you want to add a small wood deck area and quaint little gazebo. Just because you don’t have a lot of yard, it doesn’t mean you have to try to keep as much it as green-growing grass as you can. Make it a paradise of both yard and design elements.

6. Plants make a better privacy border

A lot of small yards are divided by borders or fences in order for the neighbors to maintain their privacy, but these also tend to make a yard feel even more boxed in and small. One way to help break that barrier look is by using plants or larger shrubs that grow up as a natural border as opposed to any type of fencing. You will feel less constrained in your yard when you look around and only see beautiful foliage as opposed to hard, wooden fences.

7. Make smooth transitions

When creating different areas in your small backyard, one way to help keep the flow smooth from one area to another is by watching how you transition from one area, such as a beautiful garden area, to a hardscape area where there is suddenly a paved patio and water fountain or other statuesque formation. For each distinct area you create, soften the areas by surrounding them with beds of flowers, or add some potted plants, a piece or two of furniture, etc. Light, bright colors in flower choices help to make a transition seem more natural and are pleasing to the eye.

8. Seamlessly meld the house with yard

If you want your home and garden or yard to marry seamlessly, be sure to have plants and shrubs that are up by the house so that the beginning of the yard looks like it starts at the back of the house as opposed to walking out the door and seeing the first signs of the yard as being shrubs and flowerbeds some distance off. If you don’t start at the very beginning of stepping out into the yard, the yard can look like it is its own entity and does not belong to the house at all. Having the house and yard meld seamlessly can create the illusion that the yard is bigger since it takes on the feeling that it is just a continuation of the house.

9. Include hearty plants

Keeping your yard beautiful all year around helps to keep your yard looking larger than it is all the time, including during the months when you aren’t even spending as much time out enjoying it as other months. To keep the visual appearance of a larger yard year round, be sure to plant hearty plants that will retain their look and even colors, even during the winter moths. Choose plants and flowers that will survive in colder months as well as the hotter summer months. You can research the best flowers and shrubs for the different types of weather in your climate.

10. Use garden containers

Because not all small yards allow for planting your choice of flowers or other plants that you would love to see growing wild in a garden or borders, the next best thing is to create a garden using containers that you can place throughout the yard. Using pots and other types of containers allows you to create a visual garden throughout the yard, especially if you set the strategically and thoughtfully around the yard so that it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and draws the eye around the yard to enjoy the sense of a garden.

11. Design hardscapes

Hardscapes help to break up the look of a yard, and you can do this by adding a paved walk area that leads up to a sitting area with a lovely bench. Perhaps you’d like to see a small patio out in the middle of the yard where you can bird watch, or take in the views of a little wild flower garden, so you set up a beautiful bench on a beautifully designed patio in the middle of your wildflower garden. Use your imagination and creativity to design a hardscape or two in your yard.

12. Work with the natural light

Knowing where the sun hits your yard at the different times of day will help you to decide which flowers will look and do best in your yard. One thing to keep in mind is that you will want to be able to get as much natural light coming into your backyard as possible to help it appear open and airy at all different times of day. You don’t want to overcrowd areas of your yard with foliage where natural light naturally flows so that you darken it up and shrink the look and feel of the square footage that you have to work with.

13. Create levels

Levels have a way of playing mind tricks to make the area feel quite a bit larger than it really is. It gives your mind and eyes a lot to see and process. Try elevating certain areas of your yard with either a raised garden area or even create a lower level by making a sunken garden or bonfire pit or patio. Steps that lead up to a bench seat or water fountain can be intriguing and a great way to visually increase the size of your yard.

14. Create winding pathways

Winding paths keep things interesting and great way to showcase all your hard work and beautiful handiwork. Create winding paver pathways through the yard as opposed to a straight line path that leads you directly to where you ultimately want to end up. When yo have to wind around a bit, your senses will trick you into thinking there’s a bit more yard than there really is.

15. Accentuate the senses

Your senses have a natural way of taking in the sights, sounds and smells that are around them, and instinctively transitioning it all in the brain to thinking there is a lot going on here, so the yard must be bigger than it looks. A small pond with water and small waterfall; maybe some Koi fish to vies, or a butterfly garden to distract you with its beauty. Fragrant flowers also trick the brain and distract you by keeping your olfactory busy enjoying what it’s smelling. Anything that uses sight, sound and smell will help to distract you from looking around and seeing the actual borders of the yard.

16. Incorporate lawn furniture

Lawn furniture is another great way to break up bits and pieces of the yard. There are so many different types of lawn furniture available to choose from, and all different sizes, so choose pieces that will look and fit best in the areas where you want to set up a piece for a nice little break in the scenery, as well as a place to maybe retreat to for a few moments and enjoy the views. Little bistro tables are great on a small patio in the yard, or maybe you prefer an ornamental wrought iron bench where you can snuggle with your significant other and have a cup of coffee while you bird watch first thing in the morning.

17. Include your side yard

Side yards are always hard to come up with ideas for and often are just thought of as little pathways that lead your from the front of the house to the back. If you keep the flow of the look of the backyard going all down the side of your home, this can also help to visually increase the size of the yard. Add shrubs along the side of the house and perhaps even include a flower bed in between the shrubs to add some color and wonder smells as you walk the path. If you want to really give the side yard a little character, a beautiful stone pathway can really spruce up the side yard.

18. Don’t be square with your patio design

When you think of a back patio, what shape would you say instantly pops into your head? I bet you envisioned a basic square patio. Instead of being ordinary, designing a uniquely shaped patio can add a whole lot of character to the yard and make the yard seem larger just by thinking out of the box and getting a little creative. Perhaps the shape of your yard would allow you to extend the patio out away from the home into an oval shape, or perhaps you can get even a little more out of the ordinary than that, even. So study your yard layout and see what you can do with a patio that can add a bit more visual square footage than the average square.

19. Go vertical

When yards are just small not matter what, your best bet may be to just get creative and go vertical with a garden plan. If you really know what you are doing when it comes to creating a successful garden, there are a lot of things you can do with vertical space. There are many different ways to create a vertical garden space, and making tiers using railroad ties is just one way. When you move space upward, this helps to create a more spacious look to the yard than you really have. It looks unique, beautiful and immediately draws your attention to it instead of the small yard space you have.

20. Consider using mirrors to visually increase your yard

We all know that mirrors have a way of working magic on small rooms in the house. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to helping a small room appear larger than it really is. Well, you can do the same thing on the outside as on the inside when it comes to mirrors. By strategically placing mirrors in your backyard, you can add visual square footage and fool the mind and eyes into thinking the space is more open than it really is. One of the most common places to hang mirrors starts with the back of the house so that they reflect off into the back of the yard. You can also find other types of mirrors that work well in a backyard – ones that hang in a string of them that can be hung from a hook or in a gazebo, among others.

If your yard just isn’t what you had hoped for when it comes to being more open and space for you and your family, at the least, you can create that illusion so that you at least feel like you stepped into a gorgeous, and more spacious yard than what is really there. And every time you do, you will find that instead of feeling cramped or pinned in with unwanted borders, you will only see and feel the beauty you created all around you.


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