5 Ways to Make a Garden Look Larger


Accept Your Limitations

To add the element of water to a small garden, try a bird bath.
To add the element of water to a small garden, try a bird bath.
Gay Bumgarner/­Getty Images

­So you've mastered the arts of bonsai and miegakure, you can actually distinguish between warm and cool colors using only your sense of smell and you have the tallest, narrowest trees on the block. Even with all of these perceptual tricks, you should face a stark reality: Your garden is small. Absorb that information, chew on it for a minute or two, and then accept it.

A small yard doesn't mean landscape elements have to be excluded; it just limits the size of those elements. Proportion is a big factor in the perception of size because large elements juxtaposed in a small yard cast a glaring light on the small size of that yard. Opting for smaller versions of landscape elements like plants, trees and rocks can make your garden less cluttered and expanding its perceived size.

If you're limited in yard size you might want to pass on a huge pond and waterfall that takes up most of the available space. Instead, try a bird bath on for size or install a small water feature. A landscape element that's proportionate to the size of your garden might not make it look larger, but it won't look awkward either [source: Duxbury].

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Related HowStuffWorks Articles

More Great Links


  • Duxbury, Paul P. "How to make the most out of a small garden or yard." Garden Décor Galore. 2006. http://www.gardendecorgalore.com/howtomakethemostofasmallgardenoryard
  • Klett, J.E. and Wilson, C. "Small deciduous trees." Colorado State University. February 2004.http://www.ext.colostate.edu/PUBS/garden/07418.html
  • Young, David et al. "The Art of the Japanese Garden." Tuttle Publishing. 2005. http://books.google.com/books?id=4Sop_sXavpMC&pg=PA20&lpg=PA20&dq=make+landscaping+appear+bigger&source=web&ots=leU-r3BwaA&sig=H8Gbnohh7uKksONJa1sgZ6tI994
  • "Elements and principles of landscape design." Texas A & M University. 2007. http://imsonline.tamu.edu/Courses/Samples/361Landscape/361docs/8912BST.pdf
  • "Flower borders make your landscape look larger." Alabama Cooperative Extension System. May 22, 1999. http://www.aces.edu/dept/extcomm/newspaper/borders.html
  • "Neuroscientists locate area of brain responsible for 3-D vision." Cal Tech. April 16, 1998. http://mr.caltech.edu/media/lead/041698PER.html
  • "Using texture in flower gardens." Cornell University. 2006. http://www.gardening.cornell.edu/homegardening/scene43bf.html


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