It is hard to make your backyard actually bigger. Buying land costs a lot of money, and your nextdoor neighbor is going take issue if you encroach on his property. Fortunately there are inexpensive and legal ways to make your backyard only look bigger.
Our eyes are naturally drawn to warm colors like red and yellow. If your backyard is small, you can draw attention away from that fact by planting geraniums or laying red bricks near your home. Conversely, cool colors like purple and blue tend to blend in with the scenery. Planting violets or morning glories by barriers will make them less distinct.
Plant Near Entryways and Fencing
Decorative plants make a lot of difference depending on where they’re laid down. Adding a lot of color to your backyard’s door and other entryways will make the area seem more spacious. You can obscure fences with climbing plants or decorative trees. Outright replacing your fence with bushes will free up your view as well.
Create Living Space
Turning your backyard into a place that you actually hang out will make it seem bigger. Without crowding too many features together, add a patio set, fire pit, or chaise lounge to your backyard. It’s a lot easier on the wallet than building an addition to your home!
Divide Living Space
Create the illusion of more space by partitioning how you enjoy your backyard. Put your grill and patio set on one side of the yard, and place your lounge furniture on the other. Then separate the two with paving stones, planters, or a trellis with climbing plants.
Lay Paving Stones Diagonally
A straight pathway can make a small backyard look even smaller. If you lay paving stones diagonally or in a curving direction, you can trick the eye into seeing a bigger space. Stepping stones work especially well for this. The diagonal rule also applies to decking — if you build a small deck, lay down its planks in a pattern diagonal to your home.
Decorate Your Side Yard
That thin strip of land should not be ignored. Decorating your side yard with some art, a couple of chairs, and a few flowers will make your backyard look like it extends even further. (Unfortunately for parents, the side yard inevitably becomes the de facto parking lot for Fisher-Price vehicles.)
While they do take up space, trees add more dimension to a backyard to make it appear bigger. Just make sure you plant trees that grow upward instead of outward. Columnar evergreens are popular for backyards, as are dwarf trees.
Terracing a part of your backyard will add more depth to it, and also provide additional real estate for plants. Even a small elevated deck for your dining area will break up the monotony of an otherwise flat landscape.
Too many flowers tend to crowd an already small backyard. Hang outdoor plants from your home or deck, or stick shepherd hook plant hangers in your backyard to accommodate more flora there.
Don’t have room for several layers of plants? You can make due with just a couple. Pick two plants with very different textures to outline your perimeter, and the transition from backyard to fence will become much less pronounced.
By David Scheller