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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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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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