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9 Tactics to Maximize Space in Your Backyard Garden

9 Tactics to Maximize Space in Your Backyard Garden

Small backyards are found in both urban and suburban areas – they can be irregularly shaped, boxy, different elevations, or all one elevation. No matter what the backyard garden starts off as, there are so many ways to not only get the most out of your own usable space, but to make the space as a whole appear much larger than it actually is. Follow these great tips to plan out your perfect backyard garden.

1. Stay Aware of Color

Cool, light colored shades will let the area feel larger, while bright, bold, and darker shades will make the space feel smaller. The same principle works for plants – pale pinks, blues, and yellows should be placed at boundaries, evoking depth. Bolder blooms should be placed with focus in central areas. White foliage will work in the same way, so pay attention to which plants should go where.

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2. Add Walkways Between Garden Beds

When you space gardens out 18 to 25 inches, this makes enough room for a usable walkway. It should be wider if you will be moving large equipment back and forth, but this is just a simple guideline. This will add usefulness to the overall space of the back yard and garden. You will not be limited to space, as guests will be able to move freely about on the walking path. Gardening is also fun, especially when you get the kids involved, incorporating this into the walking area will allow them to show it off.

3. Make Plans Keeping Proportions in Mind

Small gardens with large features will make the space appear even smaller and feel cramped. Opt for modestly sized feature items that are in proportion with the overall size of the space. Do not dwarf all items in the space like pots and paving, this will oddly have the opposite effect.

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4. Include a Mirror

Mirrors have the ability to make smaller spaces appear larger, so they are especially useful in an awkwardly shaped area. They should be angled to highlight a visually appealing space, such as a feature or plants. Hiding the mirror’s edges will enhance the illusion – this can be done using tight-knit lattice or climbing plants. Opt for an acrylic mirror rather than a glass one, just in case it breaks.

5. Embrace the Surrounding Scenery

Utilizing the scenery that surrounds your yard will make it feel much larger. You’ll want to use similar shapes, colors, and plants to blend in with the wider landscape. Also, if there are plants flowing over from your neighbor’s yard, opt to incorporate them into your own landscape. Small spaces appear larger when the boundaries are blurred.

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6. Add Decking

Smaller decks generally won’t cost an arm and a leg – a simple deck with basic materials won’t cost much and can be built in a weekend. Adding a deck will encourage a dedicated seating area around a feature, like a fire pit or will be a feature itself. This is a great way to add varying heights of features in your backyard.

7. Textures Should Vary

Texture has the ability to create distance and depth. Small, fine leaves should be position farther away, while bold leaved plants should be in the foreground to draw the eye. If you have a sloping, shallow area, this trick will work especially well. A deck provides more usable space in a backyard, perfect for when you host parties or barbecues.

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8. Create Separate Spaces

Dividing a space into a series of smaller areas will obscure the real size of the area, making it feel larger than it is. This can be accomplished with freestanding walls, wooden trellis, or plantings. It will also create curiosity around what is beyond the boundaries.

9. Utilize Light Reflection

Natural light that reflects into a space will make it feel less claustrophobic. Quartzite, granite, and other light surfaces will really brighten up a space, along with glass tables that won’t take up a lot of visual space. Steel pots and glossy foliage will draw in more light as well.

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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