For any homeowner living in the metro area, you know full well that buying your place came with a certain number of compromises. One of the most common was no doubt making peace with a small backyard — rather than those sprawling grounds found out in the suburbs.
But with a little thought and planning, that urban courtyard can become your own personal retreat that you and your family (and a few friends, even) can enjoy. Consider the following when designing your backyard:
- Go tall. Working with a small space sometimes means the only direction to go is up. In fact, adding height can draw the eye toward the sky and make that modest backyard look bigger than it actually is. Dogwoods, Japanese maple, and the flowering crab apple all work well for smaller outdoor spaces.
- Use perspective. Designing your outdoor space around the rules of perspective — in other words, where parallel lines look like they’re converging to a “vanishing point” and any object in the distance seems smaller than those nearest your home — can help make a small backyard seem much larger.
- Avoid clutter. Less, as they say, is more when it comes to small backyards. Use the minimalist approach to designing your outdoor retreat. Consider a small deck with a little built-in seating and just enough plants to make the space your own. Plus, leave room to bring out some additional chairs when needed.
- Favor function. Space being at a premium, everything in your backyard should have a purpose. Define the function of the space to make its design look cohesive. If you want to use the area mainly for entertaining, then design it for that purpose. The same can be said for relaxing, playing with the kids, etc.…
- Think black. Going with a black railing for a porch or patio may not sound like much to help with a small backyard, but the color can help the structure itself fade away from view. It doesn’t break up the space as much, allowing the porch or patio to flow into the rest of your yard.
- Be bold. Your small backyard doesn’t offer as many opportunities to add visual interest, but using pops of colors is one of the most effective options to make each one count. Go with a bold color for your cushions and intense hues for your flowers. Just remember, a good rule of thumb is to choose two to three colors to make the look cohesive.
- Mask noise. Anyone living in the metro area knows that noise can be a problem, especially when on one of those busier streets. Adding a fountain to your backyard cannot only provide a little white noise to drown out our more urban sounds but bring in a design detail unique to your home.
- Screen in. That space under your deck can become unsightly when used for storage — something we’re all known to do. With a smaller backyard, this can make the whole space feel cluttered. Screens, lattice, and vines can hide the mess and add visual interest to the area.
If you’d like to discuss your design ideas for your outdoor space — or any other space, for that matter, please feel free to contact Fair & Square Remodeling today. We’ve spent years turning those small (and large) outdoor spaces into something unique to the home and the homeowner.