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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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