8 Ways to Make Your Small Yard Look Bigger

Even a small yard can feel spacious if you design it the right way. Read on for our favorite ways to make your small yard look bigger.

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  1. Plan Your Space


    You might think that keeping a small yard open and loosely planned would make it feel bigger, but the opposite is true. The key to a more spacious feeling is all in the organization. Define the spaces in your small yard and make their purposes clear. Delineate a dining or lounging area with a stone patio, or separate the play area from the dining area with plantings. All of a sudden, it looks like there's so much more space.

    Related: 1 Dozen Ways to Make the Most of a Small Yard

    Zillow Digs home in Seattle, WA

  2. Vertical Gardening


    In a small yard, gardening space is a valuable commodity. In tight quarters, use available vertical surfaces and plant up. Whether you choose to grow herbs and veggies or lush flowering vines, a vertical garden creates a green oasis, softens boundaries, and makes your yard seem larger.

    Related: Growing Up: 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens

    Nash Baker Architects

  3. Play Up the Side Yard


    Side yards are often ignored, or just relegated to garbage can storage. Used correctly, however, this precious square footage can help you expand your usable space. Incorporate the side yard into your landscaping plan by planting a culinary herb garden, or add a slim cafe table for a morning coffee retreat. Surely, you can find room for those garbage cans in the garage.


  4. Create a Destination


    A small yard will feel more grand if you turn it into a destination. Create an outdoor room with a nicely arranged patio set and grill. Or add a special feature like a fountain, fire pit, or cozy reading nook to make this tiny spot worth the visit.

    Related: No Money to Burn? 9 Fire Pits You Can Afford

    Zillow Digs home in Alameda, CA

  5. Frame a View


    Architectural features like arbors or pergolas are perennial favorites in small yards. Use one to frame a view, hang a swing, or even plant a climbing garden. The height of these backyard structures gives the illusion of more space, while the features themselves add interest and character.

    Related: 9 Creative Ways to Build a Backyard Hangout


  6. Choose the Right Trees


    You can plant trees in a small yard so long as you choose ones that grow up instead of out. Taller, thinner shapes, such as columnar evergreens, and dwarf varieties of shrubs will give you lush landscaping without eating up all your space.


  7. Use Levels


    Incorporating terraced landscaping helps to designate spaces, making a small yard look bigger. Elevate your dining area, or sink a conversation pit around an outdoor fireplace. Terracing can also carve out more space for plantings, while a lower wall can double as bench seating.


  8. Skip the Fence


    With the neighbors close by, you may feel the urge to put up a privacy fence. Try to resist. Your yard will appear bigger if the eye can take in the plantings and trees beyond your property line. With a continuous view, the unobstructed greenery can all seem part of the same landscape.

    Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy


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