DIY Projects for Lawns Large and Small

Whether you have a small or large yard, you probably face the dilemma of what to do with certain aspects of it. What are the most water-wise plants for your space? How can you increase privacy in your yard? What makes the landscaping look cohesive and intentional?

Below, you’ll find tips for landscaping yards small and large. 

DIY Projects for Lawns Large and Small

Tips for Landscaping a Small Yard

You might live in a single-family home with a postage-stamp-sized yard or a condo with just a strip of patio and lawn outside the back door. Whatever you’re working with, make your small yard work harder with these projects.

Work with Layers

You can pack in more plants if you layer your garden space. Put short plants in the front, and plant progressively taller vegetation behind. Find suggestions below, and check to see what will thrive in your climate zone.

Short Plants (under 12 inches)

  • Blue Fescue
  • Creeping Thyme
  • Dickson’s Gold
  • Dwarf Eastern Penstemon
  • Greystone
  • Labrador Violet

Medium Height Plants (12+ inches)

  • African Sky Salvia
  • American Gladiator Hybrid Lily
  • Beesia
  • Eastern Bee Balm
  • Millenium Allium

Tall Plants

  • Canna Lily (six+ feet)
  • Delphinium (five+ feet)
  • Hollyhock (five+ feet)
  • Hydrangea (four+ feet)
  • Ninebark (five+ feet)
  • Pampas Grass (eight feet)
  • Smoke Tree (15+ feet)

Additionally, plant perennials and annuals that bloom at different times to keep your garden full of color in every season. 

Supplement your yard space with potted plants as well to fill in your garden when you’ve run out of soil. 

Create Privacy

As a bonus, create more room for your plants and create privacy by using walls to house potted or creeping plants. Not only will vertical planting beautify your privacy walls, but it will make your yard more inviting since it serves as a peaceful refuge from the world.

If you can’t DIY a fence for your yard, think outside the box and try these tips:

  • Large planters
  • Plant natural fences/canopies - trees and shrubs
  • Erect a pergola with curtains
  • Install lattice on an existing fence or wall
  • Hang sun sails

Divide and Conquer

Sometimes a small yard can feel bigger when you create designated spaces. Place chairs on the patio for sipping drinks, and create a gravel path that takes you to a fire pit with benches for roasting marshmallows. Incorporate an area with a water feature, or a statement plant that draws the eye across your space. Dividing your yard into usable areas can increase the appearance of space.

If you’re not sure if you have enough square footage to include all the elements you’d like, contact a trusted landscaping company and get some design assistance from the pros. They’ll not only have a portfolio you can reference, but the know-how to sketch out a design.

Light It Up

Make all your space usable by adding outdoor lighting to your small yard. If you don't have an accessible electrical outlet, invest in solar lights that can illuminate pathways, patios, and pools.

Tips for Landscaping a Large Yard

If you don’t want to spend all your daylight hours cultivating your yard, consider the following elements for creating a low-maintenance, large yard you can enjoy.

Expand the Hardscaping

For less lawn to mow and fewer plants to water, increase the amount of hardscaping in your yard. You can install more pavers for your patio, pour more concrete, or use boulders as borders. With the right permits, you could add a raised deck to your backyard, providing the ideal area for a barbecue, lounge chairs, or even just a spot to wipe the muck off your shoes before stepping inside.

Giving yourself more surface space for chairs and tables is not only water-wise but a great way to increase your entertaining options, making your outdoor space an extension of your indoor living and dining rooms.

Increase Storage

If your yard is expansive, capitalize on the square footage by converting some of it into storage space. Build a shed from the ground up or purchase one to install in your yard. Instead of cramming cars, bikes, yard tools, and sporting equipment in the garage, use a backyard shed to make things more accessible. And as a bonus, the shed will decrease the amount of lawn you have to water, mow, and rake.

Create Space for Everyone

Much like a small yard, a large yard can benefit from being divided into different spaces. You can create cohesion by incorporating many of the same plants throughout your yard, complementing the intended use of certain areas.

The Outdoor Cook

Beef up your grill by surrounding it with the comforts of an indoor kitchen. Install counter space, lighting, an outdoor fridge, and a sink. Having a prep area will make BBQs a breeze, and allow the cook to enjoy the company of loved ones while making meals.

Kids Play Place

To entice the kids to be outside, transform part of your large yard into their very own hideaway. Whether you build a treehouse, install a playhouse, or simply plop a swing set and a slide on the lawn, make the yard a place they want to be. 

If you want to get really crazy, DIY a ninja gym in the yard so kids can test their agility and problem-solving skills. Put up monkey bars, a slackline between some trees, or a rock climbing wall on the side of the shed.

Pet Palace

Don’t forget about the family pets! Make the outdoor place fun for them by giving them access to food/water, shade, or their own little house. Cats might like an enclosed patio, so consider screening in your existing deck so Whiskers can get some sun without wandering off. If you don't have a fenced yard, install a tethered leash so Fido can still be with his favorite people when they’re outside.

No matter what you tackle, consider renting a dumpster for your green waste. Keep in mind that there are limitations regarding what you can throw in a dumpster, some of which can be found HERE. No matter which type of dumpster you rent, avoid giving in to the temptation to throw household trash or food waste into it unless it’s approved. 

If you live in a community with a homeowner’s association (HOA), you may have certain rules regarding what landscaping you can do on your property. Some HOAs have color or height requirements to keep cohesion in the community. Or, you may not need to do any yard work if your HOA fees cover lawn care, annual pruning, and snow removal.

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