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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.