For many of us living in inner-city housing and contending with rising house prices having a large yard is becoming increasingly unattainable. The dream of having enough space to swing the cricket bat at a backyard barbeque is often met with the reality of having a tiny block. That said, a large yard isn’t for everyone and some choose the low maintenance lifestyle and prefer for a smaller space to save on upkeep and costs. Others still want the space to for kids and pets to run rampant, along with room for entertaining guests. No matter what your preferences you are likely wanting to make the most of your living space, so we’ve come up with some tricks to help optimise your garden and make it feel bigger!

1. Add Layers and Zones:

It may seem counterproductive to add more to your yard to gain space, but by creating different points of interest helps to create an illusion of a bigger area. Using landscaping techniques and adding different garden beds will give more theatre to a yard and create distinguished zones. This can be achieved by installing a raised deck, veggie patch or a retaining wall with plants of different heights for the eyes to follow. This idea goes for vertical gardens too, which can be built in even the smallest of gardens. But don’t go filling up every empty space, as your garden will quickly become cluttered and reverse your efforts. If you have lots of pots, try grouping them together as opposed to having them scattered.

2. Play with Perspective:

Using shapes are a great way to make your garden appear bigger. When possible, shape your lawn or pavers into circles, as curves create the illusion of a bigger space. Paths aren’t just used to navigate your garden but can also be used to enhance the visual perception of a yard. To achieve this effect a central path leading to a point of interest leads the eyes to the distance with the use of lines.

Planting is probably the most fun part of designing your garden and is essential to get right to optimise your space. Warm colours such as red, yellow and orange provide a pop of colour but appear closer. Cool colours such as green and blue have the opposite effect so it’s ideal to plant warmer colours to the front of your garden and cooler colours to the back. Having a smaller garden doesn’t necessarily mean needing smaller plants. Try planting trees that grow up instead of outwards to give your garden height.

3. Furnishing 

If you have a smaller yard it’s best to do away with the big and bulky furniture. Downsizing your outdoor settings are best when possible to avoid overwhelming the area. Another option would be to incorporate a bench into a retaining wall for efficient use of space and creative way to gain seating. A pergola is an effective and low-cost styling addition that can have a big impact on your garden. By installing one in the right location you can frame a view and give your yard a grand feel. Creating a destination is another way to optimise your garden space. This can be in addition to a table setting, why not try some chairs around a fire pit for the cooler months?