Outdoor spaces in tiny places

Don’t be afraid to break up a small space into even smaller areas, with walkways, decorative stone and carefully chosen vegetation.

Creating a separate area for a firepit is a great way to break up a monotonous yard. If you don’t have enough room to put in an entire patio or pavers, the Brickyard carries fire rings to create a small fire pit that would fit into any yard for $140.

When it comes to creating a great outdoor spaces in your yard or deck, some of the advice may seem counterintuitive, especially if you’ve got a small yard or patio and would like to make it appear larger.

Rather than leaving it as a single patch of grass and a deck, some experts suggest breaking up a small yard into even smaller areas designed for specific purposes.

“It makes it feel bigger,” said Jamie Montgomery with the Brickyard, 2860 I-70 Business Loop. “Having separate seating areas, a garden area, a patio… it makes the space more usable.”

Changing the elevation of various “rooms” outdoors can also give the illusion of space. Short walls can help define and separate garden spaces from play areas.

“Sometimes you have a lot of width, but not a lot of depth,” said Chad Driggers with Painted Desert Landscaping. “To break up the illusion of a bowling alley, make structures, pergolas or small patio water features. Break up the flat, boring back yard.”

Building a structure or creating an outdoor room doesn’t have to translate into parting with lots of cash. A small seating area can be defined using square-foot pavers, which can be easily laid by homeowners. The Brickyard carries small fire-rings to create a fire pit in any size yard for $140, and Sam’s Club carries small garden boxes for $40. Adding a few planters to the edge of a concrete slab makes it more hospitable and relaxing.

Water features, which used to be elaborate fountains reserved for large, estate-type landscapes, have become mainstream.

“Custom water features can be smaller and better suited for small spaces,” Driggers said. A small water feature is more portable; if a homeowner moves, he can take it with him to his new home rather than leaving it for the new buyers, who may or may not want it. Smaller water features can be part of a small patio rather than a separate installation that takes up more space than a garage bay.

“The sound of running water is relaxing,” said Driggers, adding that it can also be a great attraction for birds.

Before doing anything in your small space, Driggers recommends that homeowners evaluate what they want to do in their yard. Those who love to entertain might want something that looks different than the yard of someone who loves the solitude of a meditation garden. Likewise, small children in the home make a play area more of a necessity.

Most people like the privacy of a fence, but a fence can be monotonous and confining. Those who don’t need the solid boundary for kids or pets may want to consider a living fence — vegetation that will eventually grow tall and provide a separation between neighbors’ property. Changes in fence height or vines growing up and over a fence can all add interest to a small, enclosed backyard.

Even if your outdoor area is only a small patch of grass and an even smaller slab of concrete, there are ways to make it an interesting and relaxing place to be, without spending thousands of dollars to do it.


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