How to Make the Most of Your Small Backyard

When it comes to creating a beautiful outdoor space, less can definitely be more. No matter how small your yard, you can turn it into an engaging haven with just a few smart design decisions. Try one or two of these ideas from the experts at Martha Stewart Living. 

Look up. To make the most of a small area, look for ways to maximize vertical design in your yard to create a feeling of spaciousness. One way to draw the eye upward is with the addition of an elegant pergola, which not only provides shade but serves as a great support for attractive vines, hanging baskets and planter boxes.

Another more obvious way to incorporate vertical design is by planting trees, which provide natural beauty, shade and privacy. Look for trees that grow tall and narrow as opposed to wide and squat so that they don't infringe too much on your yard space.

Hanging baskets filled with trailing plants is a great way to add greenery and blooms to your yard without taking up precious ground space. While great for adding vertical interest, be aware that hanging baskets dry out quickly, so be prepared to water them frequently and deadhead flowers to keep them blooming throughout the season.

Create an inviting seating area. Nothing draws people to your outdoor space like a thoughtfully arranged and comfortable seating area. Just because you may not have a large yard, doesn't mean you can't entertain family and friends.

One way to create an effective seating area is by placing a bench against a wall. A stylish bistro table and chairs also serves as an inviting seating area for small outdoor spaces. Invest in the foldable kind so that you can use it on an as-needed basis. 

You can also choose to center your seating arrangement around a small fire pit feature, which serves as a great focal point and gathering spot even in the smallest of yards. Thanks to the variety of portable options available today, you can invest in a fire pit that can be moved to a different spot or tucked away all together when more space is needed.

Don't forget lighting. Warm and attractive lighting will improve the appeal—and functionality—of the smallest of spaces, so don't skimp on this feature. Opt for warm-colored tones, low lumens and a timer that turns them on and off automatically.

One way to incorporate lighting is with path lights, especially if you've created or updated a walkway. This will help welcome and guide guests into your backyard area. Also consider uplighting against a wall or specific tree for added drama, and torches, lanterns or string lights to cast a magical glow over your seating area.

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