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Maximizing Small Outdoor Spaces: Landscaping Tips for Urban Dwellers

This beautiful, urban front yard spring garden features a large veranda, brick paver walkway, retaining wall with plantings of bulbs, shrubs and perennials for colour, texture and winter interest.

If you live in an urban area with a small outdoor space, don’t worry – you can still create a beautiful landscape! With the right planning, design, and maintenance tips, even the tiniest of spaces can be transformed into a lush oasis. In this blog post, we’ll share our favorite tips for maximizing small outdoor spaces.

Mix Up the Materials

Urban dwellers can maximize their small outdoor spaces by mixing up the materials used in their landscaping. To help create a sense of openness and a visual break between sections, consider incorporating open-air fencing, built-in seating, and planter walls. Additionally, fabric curtains made from yardage, sheets, or vintage finds can add a cozy feel to the area. For an extra pop of color and texture, try mixing plants and flowers of varying heights and colors throughout your flower beds. By incorporating these elements into your outdoor space, you can create a unique and inviting atmosphere for friends and family.

Avoid Clutter

A key element to maximizing a small outdoor space is avoiding clutter. Too many elements can create a tighter feel in the yard, so it’s important to incorporate clean lines and use built-in seating to reduce any unnecessary furniture. Adding layers and streamlining the outdoor color palette can also help keep the space from becoming overcrowded. Similarly, outdoor storage should be considered, as many urban dwellers don’t have the same access to closets and cabinets as those in suburban or rural settings. By incorporating these tips, urban dwellers can make the most of their small outdoor spaces.

Include Small Walkways

Adding pathways to your outdoor space is a great way to help it feel open and airy. Not only will they give any visitors a clear route to take, but they can also serve a practical purpose – such as connecting different parts of your garden or helping you move from one area to another with ease. When designing walkways, try to mix up the materials for a unique look and feel – for example, use pebbles or stones as the main material, but then add in some wooden elements for extra texture. If your space is limited, you can always opt for more narrow pathways, as this will create more room for other features.

Use Built-in Seating

One of the most effective ways to maximize small outdoor spaces is by including built-in seating. This approach is perfect for those seeking to create an inviting atmosphere for entertaining friends or simply relaxing after a long day. Built-in seating can be used to create a focal point or provide additional seating for large gatherings. Whether you opt for a bench, daybed, or other type of seating, adding it to your landscape will help give your small space a cozy feel. Mix up the materials and take shelter under a pergola for a truly unique look. When choosing seating, consider its purpose and opt for pieces that are both comfortable and functional. Finish off the look by incorporating planter walls and open air fences for a finished look.

Choose the Right Firepit

When it comes to choosing the right fire pit for your outdoor space, it’s important to consider its size, materials and location. A fire pit needs to be placed in an open area, free of overhead tree limbs. Look for fire pits that are made of durable materials such as concrete, metal or stone that can withstand frequent use and extreme temperatures. For a cozy atmosphere, opt for gas fire pits that come with outdoor seating. Douglas Landscape Construction in San Jose, CA offer a variety of fire pits to suit any style and budget. With these tips in mind, you can create a stunning outdoor living space that’s inviting and aesthetically pleasing.

Create Planter Walls

Create Planter Walls are a great way to define the space and provide an attractive backdrop for outdoor living. Outfit urban spaces or blank walls with vertical gardens for an easy and affordable backyard idea. This simple, budget-friendly garden project can be used to maximize small outdoor spaces and add color and texture to any landscape. Whether you choose to use bamboo, or opt for open air fences, planter walls can be used to create a unique and inviting atmosphere in your outdoor living area. Plus, they present a great opportunity to incorporate clean lines and introduce a few elements that will help make the space both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Opt for Open Air Fences

When it comes to fences, it’s best to opt for open-air designs in small backyards. This will help create the illusion of a larger space, while also allowing natural light and air to flow through the space. To create a secure boundary, try incorporating low walls or raised beds filled with plants that can also provide a pop of color and texture. If you need more privacy, consider adding a tall trellis or lattice work with climbing vines or other greenery. Regardless of the type of fence you choose, make sure to keep it in line with your overall design aesthetic to create a cohesive look.

Integrate Clean Lines

Integrating clean lines into your landscaping design is an effective way to create an open, spacious atmosphere in an urban outdoor space. Utilizing the same colors and materials from your home’s interior and exterior design is a great way to keep a consistent look throughout the landscape, while avoiding clutter and incorporating built-in seating can help to save space. Additionally, opting for open air fences and utilizing planter walls can help to create a visually appealing outdoor space that looks larger than it actually is. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be sure to create a relaxing urban outdoor living space.

Introduce a Few Elements

Introducing a few elements to your outdoor space can help maximize the space and create a more inviting atmosphere. As suggested by Jabbour, consider incorporating a pollinator garden, raised beds for growing produce, or an herb garden. Additionally, a gas firepit with accompanying outdoor seating can create a cozy spot to gather with friends and family. Pergola ideas also introduce height and can be used to house small seating areas or other decorative items. To complete the look, consider adding a few planter walls and open air fences to help define the space. Finally, don’t forget to add paths throughout your landscape design, which can be created using gravel, flagstone or stepping stones, mulch or rocks.

Consider Multi-Purpose Design Ideas

When it comes to maximizing a small outdoor space, consider multi-purpose design ideas. These can include creating a living wall, decorating a fence, or incorporating stylish steps that connect different tiers of the plot. Urban dwellers should also think about curating a color scheme and utilizing built-in features to create distinct “rooms” for lounging, dining, and mingling. Additionally, paths can be created using gravel, flagstone or stepping stones, mulch or rocks and flowers can be planted along these paths or lined with shrubs. When it comes to the fence of the outdoor area, urban dwellers should opt for open air fences that allow plenty of light and air to flow through the space. Finally, urban dwellers should keep in mind clean lines and avoid clutter when designing their outdoor area to maximize their small space.


In conclusion, creating a beautiful outdoor space doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few simple tips and tricks, urban dwellers can maximize their small outdoor spaces and make them the perfect spot for relaxation and entertainment. By mixing up the materials, avoiding clutter, including small walkways, using built-in seating, choosing the right firepit, creating planter walls, opting for open air fences, integrating clean lines, introducing a few elements and considering multi-purpose design ideas, urban dwellers can transform their outdoor spaces into something special. With these smart landscaping tips and tricks, you can make the most of your small outdoor space.