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How to Create an Outdoor Oasis in a Small Space

April 22, 2021

Restorative retreats come in all sizes — and these pro projects prove it. Borrow these designer moves to add character to every square inch of your outdoor space.

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Photo: Caryn Waechter. From: Environmental Design Studio.

Deploy Unexpected Forms

The trio of organic orbs add a golden glow to this ultramodern space, and give it an unexpected softness that’s utterly magical. In contrast to tried-and-true stake lights, these unique pieces add an interesting element to the front of the lawn. You can create a similar look with these pebble garden lights.

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Photo: Derek Johnson Visuals. From: Designscapes Colorado.

Move Beyond a Lawn

Instead of sod, try irregular pavers that add texture and visual interest to spaces with small footprints. Fill the spaces between them by seeding your yard with lovely, lush ground cover like this, low-growing and perennial creeping thyme. It's fragrant, colorful in all seasons and hardy enough to withstand foot traffic.

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Photo: Mason Summers, Anchor Pictures. From: D. A. Dunlevy.

Add a Maximum-Impact Feature

When a multi-level babbling brook with waterfalls and contemplation pools doesn’t fit into your square footage, draw inspiration from this clever city courtyard. Designers constructed a space-conscious steel water feature, creating a feature wall and providing the patio with an enveloping layer of white noise.

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Photo: David Winger. From: Solid Ground.

Get Creative With Privacy Screens

These Brazilian walnut woven wire structures create a visual barrier between this wildflower and evergreen yard and function as an outdoor sculpture. As you think about how to interrupt sight lines that are less than desirable, pay attention to how the lines of your barriers can themselves become decorative.

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