Landscaping in small areas is a challenge because it is easy to add too many plants, or the wrong-sized plants, for the small area. If done correctly, landscaping in a small area creates a feeling of openness and makes the small landscape seem much larger. Check with your local County Agricultural Extension Office to find out what plants are suitable for your area.
Use of Containers
Containers for holding potting soil and plants come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and colors. They can be moved around within the small landscape to take advantage of the sun or shade depending on the plant. Containers of different sizes can be set up to create tiers with larger containers set behind smaller containers. Some containers can include an attached trellis and vines can be planted in the containers. Because container-grown plants dry out more easily than plants in the ground, container plants often need more maintenance.
Creating Depth with Foliage
A way to create a feeling a depth in a small landscape is to put plants with darker foliage in the background and brightly colored flowers or plants with variegated leaves in the foreground. This creates a feeling a depth and makes the small landscape seem larger.
Vines can be used to cover walls and fences and create a backdrop for the small landscape. Evergreen vines and ivies, such as Boston ivy, work best because they don't have to be cleaned off the fences or walls as annual vines do at the end of every growing season.
Trees with a smaller growing habit, such as Japanese maples, make a nice addition to the small landscape. They don't grow so big as to overwhelm the area. Larger trees have the potential to create too much shade and keep the area from drying out which leads to mildew and fungus problems. Always keep in mind that good air circulation is important when adding trees and shrubs to a small area.
Creating a Focal Point
Use a small fountain or statue as a focal point in the small landscape. This draws the eye toward the focal point and away from the overall size of the landscape. Smaller shrubs and flowering plants can be planted around the focal point to make it more noticeable. Stepping stones leading to the focal point along with a bench or seating area also helps accentuate the area and lead the eye.