Build An Outdoor Fire Pit
Theres no better way to bring the family together than with smores over a fire pit. But you dont need to spring for a contractor to put one in with one trip to the home improvement store, you can have your own backyard campfire station in just a few minutes. If you need to get rid of rocks from another project, building a fire pit with them is a great way to do it.
Here are a few ways to make your own fire pit without overspending:
Fire Pit Ideas on a Budget
- Concrete retaining wall blocks about $1.25 per block, total cost of $50
- Cinder block caps about $1.50 per block, total cost of $40
- Concrete fire bowl about $3 for one bag of concrete, $56 total
- Dirt floor fire ring free, if using natural stones from your own woods
How Can I Make My Small Yard Look Nice
Making a small yard look nice is easier than you might think. Despite its small square footage, there are many elements to consider when planning how to landscape your backyard.
Isa Hendry Eaton, who launched Isa Bird Landscape Design in her hometown of Santa Barbara in 2013, released a book on designing small gardens in February 2020 with lifestyle writer Jennifer Blaise Kramer, and has a ‘special love’ for small gardens, because the details matter so much.
‘Theres no space to waste,’ she says. ‘In big gardens, you can try and fail many times, but you really dont have that luxury when designing small garden ideas.’
Even with space constraints, however, Eaton believes back yards should be treated as an extension of the home. Much like the homes interior, a small yard should focus on function over form, and you should have an idea of all the things you want to do in the space and how you want to feel there.
Focus On Outdoor Living But Don’t Forget The Shade
The purpose of small backyard landscaping ideas is to create a space that serves your needs and desires, so you need to focus hard on how, and how you want to, use your yard. This might mean creating a space packed with outdoor living room ideas so that your backyard is accessible and comfortable all year around. This means pergola shade ideas for summer and outdoor fireplace ideas for winter, all centered around a comfortable seating area furnished with chairs that can withstand at least mild weather conditions.
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Ways To Clear Up Space
ZoningTo make a small space look bigger, creating simple zones can be an effective way to organize and add space. Dedicating a certain plot of land to the patio, a different plot to the garden, another for the fire pit, and so forth will make your backyard tidy and easier to tackle.
Use Mobile FurnitureHaving furniture installed in an outdoor living space is great, but it can take up valuable square footage. A simple folding table and chairs might be all you need for when you use your backyard as a dining area. And dont worry, folding furniture doesnt have to look cheap there are many options out there that have a nice wood design and finish, complementing your backyard when you need it.
Use Garage SpaceThough the garage might be a few feet away from the backyard, storage space is storage space, and to keep a tidy backyard, sometimes you have to put the clutter somewhere else.
Furnish to ScaleOne of the most common mistakes homeowners make is going for the large outdoor dining set, fancy swing, and extravagant lighting. Buy furniture that fits into a certain zone, and dont overdo it on the decor well go over some ways to decorate in style, without overwhelming your space.
Small Yards Should Always Include At Least Two Roomsfrom The Green Scene
Garden artisan Scott Cohen is an expert when it comes to designing functional yards. Check out his incredibly useful tips for small yards. Some of the best takeaways: No matter what the size of the yard, it should always include at least “two rooms”. Cohen offers ideas for how to use backyard water features and other elements to break up space. He also explains how the reflective quality of water makes everything look larger. Check out his tips at GreenSceneLandscape.com.
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Turn Slopes Into Terraces
A bank or slope can erode from heavy rainfall, and mowing can be a nightmare, but terracing your backyard can turn things around. Consider calling a professional with earth-moving equipment to smooth out a serious slope or carve out the terraces. You may need to bring in more dirt, and build a retaining wall to keep it in place. The good news is that terraces make your yard much more usable. This homeowner added rectangular planters and filled them with hollies and dwarf Fothergillas. The new terraces left enough room for a beautiful green lawn and patio.
Raised Cut Flower Bed
When you search for cut flower garden ideas, youll often see images of large gardens with rows of different flowers. But, that isnt realistic if you have a small backyard.
Luckily, you can still have a cut flower garden. All you need is enough room to place a raised bed. These typically measure around four to five feet in width.
Since youll be adding soil to the raised bed, it can be placed on a concrete patio or wooden deck. In this case, you may want to invest in a raised bed with a bottom.
Sow zinnia seeds along with cosmos and daisies to complete your raised-cut flower bed.
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Define Spaces With A Floating Deck
Who says the only place for a deck is directly off the house? By tucking a floating deck into the corner of your small yard, you can give the illusion of more space. Add a bistro table and chairs for a welcoming space to sip morning coffee or add a hammock to the level platform for a close-to-home getaway. The average cost for a simple, 10-by-10-foot deck with pressure-treated pine is $2,000.
Grow A Flowering Wall
Vertical gardening is a great way to beautify a small space by growing plants on an existing wall or fence or by adding a trellis, says Rebecca Sears, Chief Gardening Guru for Ferry-Morse. Attach planters or grow bags to your wall or fence and add herbs like mint, sage and thyme, foliage plants like sweet potato vines or pansies, violas and other flowers.
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Go Vertical With Plants
Photo via @succulent_treasure_chest
When landscaping a small yard, its important to take advantage of vertical space. Planting flowers and other greenery on the fence can open up the ground area and leave room for seating or other backyard features. Plus, vertical planters make for a fun DIY project!
How To Manage A Sloping Garden
If your garden is on an incline, there are a few ways that you can make the space more workable.
Think of how youre planning to use your garden, do you want to create flat areas for seating and relaxing? Are you happy to place steps through a section of the garden, leaving the sloped areas as they are? Or maybe youd like to terrace part of the garden to grow plants or vegetables. You could even include an impressive water feature, making the most of the sloping aspect.
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Gravel Instead Of Grass
Tired of mowing and watering your grass? Consider replacing your green turf for gravel instead. Its low-maintenance, which means you dont need to worry about fertilizing, aerating, dethatching and other tedious lawn care chores. Plus, choosing gravel instead of grass will help you conserve water throughout the year.
Go Private With Panels
Some small backyards lack privacy. Next-door neighbors and people driving by can see in, and if you have dogs that can see out, they can bark and become a nuisance. Make a hideaway by installing decorative privacy screens or panels. Bamboo, brushwood, picket or slatted fences are other options that let in light and air but help block the view. Once you decide how tall you want your screen or fence, check your local ordinances to be sure it won’t exceed height or placement limitations. Shown here: Helix Privacy Screens
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What Is The Least Expensive Landscaping Material
Pea gravel. Its typically used like gravel for walkways, patios, and other places where foot traffic is high. Pea gravel is very useful in landscaping projects because its a smooth stone. In fact, its also one of the cheapest stones you can use in landscaping.
Pea gravel costs$25 to $67 per cubic yard for smaller projects, averaging to $46 per cubic yard.
Make Your Small Yard An Extension Of Your Home
Mirrors are great for creating a more spacious feel, so they are a clever addition to any small back yard landscaping ideas. Hang it on a wall or prop it on a potting table, and dont worry if the glass becomes mottled it adds a rustic feel.
If you want to make a small garden look bigger, try using a well-positioned mirror to make a never-ending path. Choose from lightweight acrylic or tough mirror glass and make sure it is well-sealed against moisture.
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Wandering Paths Backyard Landscaping
Though the backyard shown here is relatively small, it feels big with the stone path leading you on a journey throughout the space. This would be great for taking a meditative walk to clear your mind in the morning. Using flat rocks rather than traditional pavers gives the path a more natural feel. The patio and pergola create a separate hang out space, and stone edging helps keep the garden design weed-free. Theres just enough green grass here to lend color to the space, but you wont have to spend a lot of time mowing every weekend.
Basic Backyard Design Principles
No matter the size of a space, it should be fashionable and functional. Keep the following design principles in mind, and youll achieve the right balance:
- Follow a base plan. A base plan lets you know where your property begins and ends, as well as the locations of your utility lines, walkways and driveway, and other features.
- Consider scale. Installing plants that are too large or too small for your yard will affect its curb appeal.
- Frame your house with trees, but be careful not to block the view of the house.
- Balance the landscape. Dont overplant in one area while neglecting other areas.
- Create a focal point with a water feature, fire pit, ornamental, or statue scaled to your space, of course.
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Install An Outdoor Conversation Pit
A sunken back yard with a cozy sectional and firepit.
Conversation pits became popular architectural features in the 1950s and found fame through the 1970s. The built-in seating in a depressed section of a room is an idea that can be transported into a backyard. Create an outdoor version of the midcentury staple with wooden benches, gravel, and a modern firepit.
Finding Room For Color
Having a grassy area with straight lines certainly makes it easier to mow, but you might feel like youre missing out on all the color that flowers add to the space. That wont happen if you take advantage of this backyard landscaping idea. The fire area uses small pebbles rather than bricks to keep things safe, but poles around the exterior of the space help define the area vertically. Theyre a place to hang flowers and sparkling lights to give ambient lighting when the sun goes down. Large barrels around these poles are a creative way to add some flowers.
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Install A Mailbox Flower Bed
One of the front yard ideas that we love is creating a small flowerbed around the base of a curbside mailbox. This oft-neglected, difficult-to-mow area can be made into a lovely feature with relatively little effort.
Ideally, you will want to construct the border of the bed using the same material used in the borders around existing flower beds. The best plants for this space are annual flowers and groundcovers that wont grow too high. Just make sure to check with the local regulations to ensure that your bed is in compliance with your HOA and that the plants are an allowable height.
Lay Paving Stones Diagonally To Make A Space Appear Largerfrom Hgtvcom
If your small yard looks disheveled and uninviting, you’ll be inspired by these 12 photos of small yard renovations. HGTV features a slideshow that gives specific tips for making a small yard look bigger and better. One of the best takeaways: Lay paving stones on the diagonal to make the space seem larger. Take a look at slide 2 and 9 for great examples of how paving layout can impact a small yard. See the slideshow at HGTV.com
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Fill A Sloped Bed With Flowers
If you have a small sloping garden, consider planting it up with beautiful blooms. It will be a paradise for insects and the plant roots will help to prevent soil erosion too. Plant carefully so that you have brightly coloured flowers throughout spring and summer and evergreen colour in winter.
Image credit: @gardendesignmag
Compact Trees And Shrubs
Not all yards are able to have a towering oak or sycamore. Still, many yards have plenty of space to enjoy smaller trees, like lilac, serviceberry, eastern redbud, crabapple, paper birch, Japanese maple, hawthorn, and dogwood. For evergreens, you might try a dwarf spruce, mugo pine, or arborvitae. As for shrubs, you might consider a rose or hydrangea, and even smaller options, like a spirea or potentilla. Any dwarf variety of tree or shrub will typically serve you well in a small yard.
Good landscaping in a small yard expands your room for gardening and leisure, without changing the dimensions of your property. Vertical gardening, tiered beds, and container gardens increase your growing space, while multipurpose infrastructure lets you better use the space that you have. Sometimes better lighting makes your yard feel larger than it is, and adding plants gives you a sense of more abundance. If you need more landscaping ideas, feel free to contact our landscaping service or drop by our garden center in Moline!
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Plant Around A Fireplace
Even if you don’t have much room, you can fit an outdoor fireplace into your backyard and grow flowers. The key is using large pots that you can move around on the hearth and replant when the seasons change. No hearth? Surround the fireplace with pots placed on another level surface or the ground. Shown here: Sundiascia diascia , white and blue lobelias, Princettia , Senetti pericallis and Surfinia petunias in Deep Red, Summer Double White and Purple Majesty. This homeowner’s whimsical sign adds a finishing touch.
Brighten With Pops Of Color
Just because your backyard is petite doesn’t mean you can’t decorate it! Functional decor pieces like patio furniture sets, outdoor rugs, and colorful planters will help to create an inviting, comfortable outdoor area, no matter how small. You and your guests will likely use your backyard with these cozy details. And don’t forget the shade! An outdoor umbrella is all it takes to keep the scorching days at bay.
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Steal Ideas For Courtyard Garden Design
The best courtyard garden ideas are incredibly under-played and feature a minimum of varied materials, and you can take these tenets into your backyard landscaping ideas.
‘Keep it simple dont get too carried away when planning,’ says Dan Bowyer of garden designers Fisher Tomlin & Bowyer . ‘A carefully chosen palette of materials and plants is often the most satisfying.’
Here, the deck materials create both vertical and horizontal lines which perform a neat visual trick, making the small space look both longer and wider.
Replicate An English Country Garden
The classic English country garden has an unmistakable charm. You can put flowers right alongside tomato plants and it works. By building layers into your foliage, youll create a relaxed atmosphere that helps you get more out of your space and even makes it seem bigger.
Start by planting large, bushy perennials like hydrangeas and roses, and then mix lavender and rosemary herbs into the design. Try including a few boxwood hedges to help lend some overall shape to your yard.
You can also incorporate a few hardscape features into your elegant garden. For example, install a metal fence and gate, build a wooden bench under an arbor or create a garden path using brick, gravel or cobblestone. Complete the vision with a fountain or a pond plus some vintage steel tables and chairs for tea time.
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Spruce Up Your Frence
Not crazy about how your fence looks? Whether you have a wooden or chain link fence, there are several ways to make it visually appealing. Use these budget landscaping ideas to beautify your fence, especially if it encompasses your entire backyard.
Ways to Upgrade Your Chain Link Fence
- Paint it. A fresh coat of paint is more effective than you might think. We suggest choosing a color that matches the rest of your house.
- Cover it with an awning. Find a fun fabric at your local craft store, measure it and drape it over your chain link fence. Make sure the material can withstand the elements!
- Cover it with vines. While it may take a while for vines to cover your entire fence, the finished product is well worth the wait.
Ways to Upgrade Your Wooden Fence
- Install hanging baskets. You can never have enough flowers. All it takes is an S hook and your hanging basket of choice to add a pop of color to your fence.
- Install decorative fence caps. Upgrade the top of your fence posts with cast iron balls or a pointy cap. If youre going for a whimsical look, plant a fake bird or solar light at the top of a post or two.
- Change the color. Try staining the wood a different color with an airless sprayer or roll-on stain. It wont change anything too drastically, but a little goes a long way!