Small but Mighty Outdoor Living

Gardeners and plant lovers can maximize the space they have even with a yard that's minimal in size. If you want more blooms, texture, and color, then pack it in! The more the merrier.

Room with a View

These homeowners converted their once overstuffed garage into a studio sitting and dining room. Two sets of French doors allow them to enjoy the garden—even during chilly weather. As a bonus, tender plants can safely overwinter in it. A small landing area is bonus space suitable for entertaining.

10 Ways to Upgrade Your Garage

Growing Intrigue

A golden hop vine climbing up and over the back wall tricks the eye into thinking there might be something more around the corner. It blurs the boundaries of the garden and keeps things interesting. A gentle water feature soothes eyes and ears. Good circulation is vital in a small backyard. A path leads from the house around the raised beds and seating. Changing the scale of the bluestone pavers—using large ones as the path transitions to the seating area—visually expands the small space, too.

Nature's Palette

Beds at different levels create a sense of movement. In the beds, tidy boxwoods and conifers lend year-round structure. The fuchsia and yellow flowers of rose campion, dahlias, canna, and marigolds stand out against pale gray sofas that merge with the bluestone.

Multilevel Interest

With extra-wide edges, the walls of the 18-inch-tall concrete raised beds provide seating when couches and armchairs aren't available. Think of raised beds as a stage for plants, bringing them right up to eye level. To add more space for beds and rid your yard of too much shade, tear out trees to create an all-sun site—it can vastly expand your plant options. Summer bulbs and tropicals thrive in the sunshiny yard at all levels. 

Green Walls

A huge advantage of tiny yards: You need fewer plants to make it look lush. A larger yard will need way more to feel full. These planting beds are packed with tall, dramatic plants that create corridors of foliage, making the small space feel larger because you can't see it all at once. Weathered steel defines the edges of low beds that house succulents and ground covers.

How to Create an Outdoor Room

Doubly Designed

The angled frames of this outdoor furniture reflect both the tiled patio pavers as well as the angular shape of the garden beds. Bright green, blue, and pink accents mimic the foliage found throughout the lush 1,350-square-foot backyard.

Caring for Outdoor Furniture…

Chevron Lattice Trellis

Give vines a gorgeous place to climb with this easy DIY trellis made from wood lath.


  1. Regarding: "With extra-wide edges, the walls of the 18-inch-tall concrete raised beds...", this makes me consider making my own such walls, by pouring concrete into a horizontal mold and then after it dries, setting it up vertically as shown in your photo. My question is how to make them stable, especially after the center of the area is filled with dirt, etc. Also, how to connect them. I've never done anything with concrete before.

    1. What you are wanting to build, should be done by a professional. It would require building an upright wooden frame and pouring the concrete down into that. You might rethink and build one out of concrete blocks, using mortar and rebar, to hold them upright and stable. You would want to dig a base [filtered] to pour concrete into, to give it a strong base to sit on. Sink the rebar, and then place your concrete blocks on those. Use concrete pavers to form the ledge to sit on. That would be easier to build for a novice. You could cover the blocks with mortar to cover the seams of the blocks, if you wish.

  2. Could you supply a landscape plan for this garden? Thanks

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