How can you make the most of your garden space?

Even if you have a relatively small area for your garden, it doesn't mean you have to forgo successful landscaping. Visual trickery can be used to fool the eye (and brain) of the beholder into thinking that your yard is bigger than it actually is:

  • The impression of distance is created in a two-dimensional picture by drawing the objects that are supposed to be more distant at a smaller scale than other elements in the composition. Create the same illusion in your garden by placing larger plants in your nearby focal area and smaller ones farther away.
  • Planting tall trees draws the eye upward and adds volume to your garden. Be sure that you choose trees that aren't excessively wide, or they'll take up more of your limited space than you wish. Leyland cypresses and Eastern redbuds are good examples of up-but-not-out plants.
  • Coarsely-textured plants with large leaves create a strong contrast between light and shadow, which makes them eye-catching. If you place plants of this type nearer to the focal point of your garden, while placing finer-textured plants farther away, it gives an illusion of greater area.
  • A judicious use of color can also add to the perceived visual area of a garden. Warm colors, such as browns, reds, oranges and yellows, tend to capture our attention and appear to be closer to us, while cooler tones like pink, purple, green and blue recede into the background. Use this effect to virtually expand your yard by putting warm colors near the front and cool tones at the back, creating a false impression of depth.