5 Ways to Make a Garden Look Larger

A side-scan MRI of a human brain.
A side-scan MRI of a human brain.
VI Lab ERIC/Getty Images

­The human brain is a magnificent organ. It accepts raw information gathered by the senses, filters out the useless junk, identifies important data and compiles it into perceptions of the world around us. It's fairly amazing, if you think about it. Oh wait: You can't do that without your brain. How amazing is that?

­As refined as it is, the human brain can also be easily tricked. Take our spatial recognition processes, for example. The brain can be deceived in three dimensions through illu­sions that alter the pe­rception of space. More specifically, the brains of your friends and neighbors can be fooled into assuming your tiny yard is actually a large one. How can this happen? The brain uses cues like relative speed of motion and perspective to construct our perception of a three-dimensional space [source: Cal Tech]. Animators simulate these cues in two dimensions, for example, through the use of linear perspective, which uses a single focal point to simulate distance. Done even roughly, the brain will perceive a series of two dimensional lines as a transparent cube.

You can use this bit of trickery to your advantage. If you're saddled with a teeny backyard and size matters to you, we've got five good techniques for making your landscape appear larger than it really is. Let's begin.