If you’re among the millions of homeowners downsizing to a smaller house or condominium, your exterior space will likely shrink, too.
In most cases, having fewer square feet simply requires prioritizing your favorite outdoor choices, so you don’t crowd a site.
Decide what to include by focusing on elements that will provide the greatest pleasure and use, as well as fit your climate, property's orientation, topography and budget.
Balance the layout. Proportion how much hardscape you need for dining or sitting, versus softscape, which contributes to color and softness but requires more maintenance, says landscape architect Stephen H. Wlodarczyk of Botanical Decorators.
Choose color wisely. Limit your palette in a small space to a few choices, and remember that white offers advantages for contrast. A white, silver or gray “moonlight” palette is easier to spot at dusk and night than green and other dark colors, says landscape designer Jean Marsh, owner of Jean Marsh Design.
Layer lighting. Light your outdoor spaces as you do indoor rooms for aesthetic and functional needs. Outdoor lighting offers other advantages: You enjoy your yard from the indoors, at night, and deter burglars. Numerous LED options are energy efficient and conceal unattractive wiring and are barely visible themselves.
Add storage. Include a place to stash outdoor cushions, bikes, tools and hoses.
A few planters or pots can produce a bountiful harvest. "Many home gardeners make the mistake of growing too much, then giving it away," says landscape designer Michael Glassman.
When garden space is limited, follow these tips:
Lanterns, sidelights and transom windows are a few choices to illuminate your exterior.
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