Weekend Landscape Projects: Easy Ideas To Maximize Space In Your Small Yard

So your yard's a little small, that's no reason not to have just as beautiful a yard as anyone in the neighborhood.

Even if your yard is not expansive, you still want it to be as impressive as possible. You can do alot to improve the landscaping, but don't go overboard, since too many bushes and flowers will make your yard look even smaller. Botanically speaking, small needs small. If you're faced with limited space, don't choose gigantic plants and bushes. Walk around the yard and take notice of particular areas where you could carve out a flower garden. A small grope of trees is a good place to start. Mark off a unique design, avoiding a giant rectangle. Add a birdbath and some colorful perennials for a striking look to a section of the yard. If there's really only room for one tree in your yard, choose something distinctive, like a magnolia or a bonzai.

If your house seems bare around the perimeter, some low-growing shrubs like evergreen boxwoods work great in the front yard. For backside planting, place landscaping timbers approximately two feet from the perimeter and plant small flowers like marigolds inside. If there is a separation fence in your yard, climbing roses are an excellent choice. They require a little care but provide a striking appearance for your yard. And, since they are available in assorted colors, you can choose a shade that compliments the color of your house.

Homeowners with a deck should consider artificial trees like ficus or palms, placed in a couple of the deck corners. Other than an occasional rinsing, artificial trees need no care and provide a unique look for your deck. These can be placed in weighted containers or you can keep planters from tipping over by adding gravel. Select a pot that has a drain hole at the bottom. Of course, you can also use real plants to set around the deck, but if they're seasonal, you'll have to find a spot indoors for them during winter months. For decks with roofs or large front porches, a cozy look is to hang a huge fern or ivy, every few feet, across the front.

Large driveways can sometimes be complimented by a small tree or bush on each side of the driveway entrance. If this isn't appropriate in your own situation, a large planter with assorted botanicals on each side works nicely. You might have to replace these during different seasons to keep from having a pot full of dead flowers during winter months. If you have no driveway but a walkway instead, one option is to plant tiny flowers along the sides of the walkway. Keep these well-weeded, though or the look will be shabby, not elegant.

A garage or outbuilding on a small piece of land can take up most of the yard area. For this situation, plant reeds and flowers along one exterior wall of the building. Or, at a bare spot in the yard, build a trellis and plant roses or climbing vines. Climbing plants can also be placed in front of a white picket fence bordering the front yard. For a conspicuous bare spot in the yard, build or purchase a trellis and plant climbers, along with reeds.

Here are some additional quick tips:

Instead of a fence, plant a row of privacy trees at the property line of your backyard.

Weight down long, shallow planters and set atop guard rails of your porch.

Purchase a set of concrete steps, set the back against the house or a tree and set plants on each step.

Install window boxes on the front windows, but be sure to choose flowers that won't be tall at maturity.

If you have a roadside mailbox, plant small flowers around the pole.

Install a flagpole with a small flower bed surrounding it. Or, attach a birdhouse to a nice wooden beam and erect in the back yard.

If you don't have a front porch, purchase a couple of pole plant hangers and secure them, one on each side of the front steps.

Purchase a load of decorative rocks, place them around existing shrubbery, and sprinkle them in flower gardens. These are also perfect for lining the sides of walkways or driveways to deter weeds.

Smaller rocks can make a bed for free-standing gliders and swing sets.

Make a stake with your house number on it, and place it towards the edge of your property, in the front yard. Choose tall plants for planting behind the stake and shorter ones for in front. Don't select too many colors or the address sign will go unnoticed.

Landscaping doesn't always have to involve planting. It can be as simple as keeping your lawn impeccably manicured, mulching around existing trees or removing sidewalks and laying stone walkways. Remember to avoid a cluttered look and choose plants that will require low maintenance.

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