Narrow Yard Landscaping IDEAS
“Blah.” Does that word or something like it come into your mind when you gaze out at your yard?
If it does, perhaps the next word should be thinking is: “landscaping.”
That can mean everything from a modest do-it-yourself makeover to calling in a pro to make substantial changes. Whichever you choose, the first step is dreaming and planning, landscape designers say — and the time to start is now.
Look at landscape projects online and in magazines and save the ones you like. What permanent features to do you want to add? Raised beds? A patio or fire pit?
Phil Steinhauer, landscape architect and owner of Designscapes Colorado, says that landscaping has changed in the last 10 years to allow a more seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.
“Now a landscape architect is brought in at the very beginning of a project, ” he says, to allow the inner and outer plans to complement each other.
He says when he meets with a new client he questions them closely about how they use their outdoor space and then asks them about the style they are looking for. Even if you don’t have the money to complete the plan all at once, having a plan is important, he says.
“If you can’t afford a fire pit now, go ahead and put the gas line in, ” he says. Then you won’t have to tear up the yard when you’re ready for the fire pit. Boulders should be added in the beginning for the same reason.
Professionals can help with long-range planning and phasing, he says. One example in his portfolio: Steinhauer created a large project in Evergreen that spans upper Bear Creek. One side of the creek is forested, the other has a meadow, and he used big boulders to help tie the sides together. “We tried to make it look like (the landscaping) was all there and the house was plopped down in the middle of it, ” Steinhauer says.
Plans for the project started about 10 years ago, but the bulk of the work was completed in a year, Steinhauer says. But the garden keeps evolving — a good lesson for homeowners with much smaller projects.
“We keep adjusting, ” he says. “Where deer have taken over, we cleaned it up and replaced with stuff that’s more deer-proof.”
He even made room for lawn bowling in the meadow at the request of the homeowner.
Small-yard design challenges
Brittany White, a landscape architect for Environmental Designs in Henderson, works with clients throughout the Denver metro area. She recalls a project she did, front and back, at a home in Denver’s Montview neighborhood with a backyard she says was “flat and boring.” The backyard was long and narrow, roughly 25 feet by 60 to 70 feet, adding to the design challenges.
They wanted a large fire pit as a focal point, but a big pit would have divided the space in the narrow yard. “(The homeowners) needed an entertaining space. They wanted it to be more alive and interesting, ” White says.