Smart Ways to Use Tight Spots in Your Landscape

Look at these four combinations of plants and structures for ideas on making use of even the smallest garden spaces.


Inviting Entry

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Create a welcoming front yard without giving up privacy. Here, a rustic arbor and split-rail fence offer an inviting scene.

How to Get This Look:

  • Use combinations such as black bamboo, Japanese maples, and weeping spruce to close off the view and add privacy.
  • Select plants that have seasonal interest: Black bamboo canes look good spring to fall; Japanese maples display oranges, reds, and golds in autumn; and evergreen spruces offer winter color and interest.
  • Choose accessories that match your landscaping style.

More Great Arbor Ideas

Add Curb Appeal: Front-Yard Landscape Secrets

Learn how to grow bamboo.

Small-Patio Solution

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Get a comfy seating area, even if your yard is too small for a permanent patio. Here, a crafty homeowner leveled the ground and put down a layer of pea gravel in the corner of the yard. It's the perfect nook for a couple of Adirondack chairs.

How to Get This Look:

  • Use big trees and shrubs around an area to make it feel more intimate without being crowded.
  • Look for seasonal interest: Japanese maples and burning bush turn fiery shades in fall while white astilbe and yellow ligularia offer early-summer color.
  • Add an easy-maintenance groundcover for a great look all year.

More Ideas for a Perfect Patio

Overhead Appeal

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Use a simple wooden arbor to grow vines. Climbers are an ideal way to create a natural, organic privacy screen. And you can train them to any size, shape, and density you want!

How to Get This Look:

  • Instead of just relying on the purple clematis blooms, try combining it with Boston ivy. The leathery Boston ivy leaves create a lovely contrast to the clematis. And the ivy becomes a focal point in fall, when it turns fiery red.

Top Annual Vines for Your Yard

Colorful Corner

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Beds and borders don't have to be big, sweeping parts of your landscape. If space is small, pack a corner with lots of colors and shapes for beauty throughout the year.

How to Get This Look:

  • Limb up a sumac to create an umbrellalike effect and frame a view for plants underneath. Sumac has a unique branching pattern and red berries that hold on through winter (until birds eat them off). In fall, it puts on one of the brightest shows of any shrub with is red foliage.
  • Accent your garden with a variety of winter textures, including ornamental grass and evergreen heathers. A boldly colored red crocosmia adds even more summertime interest.

    More small space landscaping ideas!

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