Modern living: making the most of a small outdoor space

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Even if you don’t have a sprawling backyard, there’s a lot you can do to maximize every square inch of outdoor space. It all starts with drawing up a plan, says landscape architect Ioana Teodorescu of Prime Services.

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“A designer can help you figure it out: do I want a clean, modern look with defined spaces or a very natural looking yard? Do I want curves, vegetation or a waterfall? said.

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From there, multiple elements can be drawn to add depth and visual interest. One is the levels, explains Matthew Bertrand, director of sales and design at Northstone Group. “Levels help define your outdoor spaces and allow them to serve different purposes, making your outdoor space feel bigger,” he explains.

Mixing materials like cobblestone, grass and wood or composite gives each area its own unique feel, he adds.

Small gardens also need a focal point. “You want to open your door and look at something special in your yard – a beautiful statue with river rocks and lights, for example,” says Teodorescu.

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“We always suggest outdoor lighting because as beautiful as your garden is during the day, at night it all gets dark unless you have the right lights, and that’s very important in smaller gardens too.”

Creating tiny pieces brings interest to small outdoor spaces.
Creating tiny pieces brings interest to small outdoor spaces. Photo by PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHSTONE GROUP

No room for a swimming pool or koi pond? There are plenty of other ways to add drama to your outdoor space, including a water wall or rain fountain, suggests Bertrand.

“These vertical features can be installed against a wall or fence and are great options if you have limited space,” he says, adding that if you have noisy neighbors or live on a busy street, noise flowing water can provide a peaceful environment. environment.

“We did a very nice yin and yang installation with black and white rocks with a waterfall. The water flowed into a built-in rock-covered underground basin and the pump recirculated the water back into the waterfall,” adds Teodorescu.

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A hot tub or sauna can also make a small backyard more inviting, says Bertrand.

“If you want to be able to swim a few laps in your small backyard, a swim spa with high-pressure jets can allow you to swim against the current without the space required of a lap pool,” he notes. he.

Gardeners can take advantage of vertical space by training plants to climb over a fence or pergola, while tall shrubs add privacy.
Gardeners can take advantage of vertical space by training plants to climb over a fence or pergola, while tall shrubs add privacy. Photo by PHOTO COURTESY OF PRIME SERVICES

It’s also important to take advantage of vertical space when you have a small footprint. There’s likely plenty of usable vertical space to set up a pergola structure with climbing flowering vines like clematis or wisteria, or herb gardens hanging along a railing or fence.

“You can train these vines to climb over a fence or pergola,” says Teodorescu, who suggests adding tall cedar shrubs for privacy.

Creating small rooms in your garden also adds interest, says Teodorescu.

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Planters are a good alternative to flower beds and can be used for flowers and edible plants.
Planters are a good alternative to flower beds and can be used for flowers and edible plants. Photo by PHOTO COURTESY OF PRIME SERVICES

“Fit out a corner with a bench and color it by planting clematis, which bloom for a long time; it will give you a nice focal point.

Owners of small gardens can also save space for an edible garden. “If you have room for a few tomato plants, cucumbers and basil, do it,” advises Teodorescu. “Even if you only have a balcony, you can have a small planter with herbs or you can grow tomatoes.”

Growing vegetables vertically will save you space in your flower beds, adds Bertrand.

“Planting compact vine vegetables that can be trained to grow on support structures is a good option,” he says.

You can also mix edible plants into ornamental landscapes, a process called foodcaping.

“Foodscaping creates an integrative landscape that produces food, plus it’s aesthetically appealing and low-maintenance,” Betrand notes. “Planting fruits and vegetables to landscape your garden allows you to keep your garden beautiful while enjoying the fruits of your labor.”

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