Not everyone has a full-sized yard in Calgary, which has plenty of townhouses, duplexes, and homes built on smaller lots. It can be tough to imagine landscaping for small spaces … it’s easy to think nothing can possibly fit. After three generations in the landscaping business in Calgary, we have a lot of experience making the best out of every type of property, and love the opportunity to use our imaginations in the more unusual spaces. There are many ways you can landscape for a small space to give you everything you want out of your yard.
When landscaping for small spaces, we recommend you prioritize what is most important to you. A seating area is imperative, as is a spot to barbecue for most. If you love to garden, we can plan out an area where you can use your green thumbs. If you prefer to keep your hands dirt-free, we can start with some xeriscaping ideas. We’ll have an open an honest conversation to get the ball rolling and ensure you end up with the outdoor area of your dreams.
Patio tips for small areas
For small spaces, it’s often not worth installing any sod at all. It’s just not worth the time and effort it takes to care for it, not to mention the fact that in many cases it’s impossible to get a lawnmower into small backyards anyway. Quite often when landscaping for small spaces, prioritizing the patio area is a wise decision.
Mirage Landscaping employs expert layers of brick, concrete, and just about any other material you can think of. We can help you design your patio to be durable, functional, and complement the exterior of your home.
- Place furniture off to the side or in a corner to allow for more room for plants, décor, and moving around.
- Round tables can seat more people. We recommend being conservative on the size as well. If your backyard is particularly small, we would forego a dining table for side and coffee tables.
- Benches around perimeters provide extra seating and visual appeal when adorned with bright pillows. They can also act as additional storage.
- Fire pits are a great way to add additional ambience.
- A water fountain can be an easy install, creating a calming atmosphere and reducing peripheral noise.
- String lights are always cheerful and invite people outdoors at night.
- Try an overhanging umbrella instead of one placed in the middle of a table, which reduce sight lines.
- To free up even more space, a sun sail or pergola provides useful shade over a larger area, and doesn’t need to be taken down and put up.
Multifunctional retaining walls
A retaining wall is probably the last thing you think of when it comes to a smaller yard, but they can actually be quite genius. We can build them narrower to take up less total area, and high enough to sit on. The height also makes it easier to care for your shrubs and perennials, as you don’t have to bend over all the time to weed and prune. It’s simple to hook up irrigation through your retaining wall, as well, to perfectly water your garden. Irrigation also helps save water, as your sprinklers can be put on a timer to go off early and for the optimal amount of time, and sensors will shut the system off when there has been rain.
Trees and shrubs for small spaces
For smaller trees that don’t require too much water, the City of Calgary’s Water Services Department would suggest the following trees to help limit your household water consumption: Amur Maple, Bur Oak, Ivory Silk Tree Lilac, Scots Pine, Siberian Larch, and Ussurian Pear.
Space out pretty smaller shrubs such as barberries for splashes of colour or create a unified look with a simple, neatly trimmed hedge of boxwoods. Junipers and cedars are very low maintenance and provide a bit of green year-round.
Smaller flowing shrubs that work well in Calgary include:
- Forsythia: These shrubs produce beautiful yellow flowers in early spring before growing brilliant green leaves during the summer. Prune old branches once the flowers fade to ensure solid growth year after year.
- Nanking cherry: Producing pink flowers in the spring, nanking cherry shrubs also grow edible fruit as the season continues. Create nutrient-rich soil that drains well to help ward off bacterial infections.
- Double-flowering plum: Full sun exposure and well-draining soil will help these shrubs produce their stunning billowy, double-pink flowers.
- Hydrangea: These highly durable shrubs are a good alternative to lilacs if you’re looking for something a little lower-maintenance. However, make sure you’re buying a Zone 3 hydrangea, as the Zone 4 variety probably won’t thrive in Calgary.
- Snowball: These large plants can grow up to 15 feet wide and 12 feet tall, producing puffy white flowers that look like snowballs. They are also easy to maintain, making them excellent for beginners.
- Spirea: Choose from spirea that bloom in spring or summer — both produce beautiful white, pink, and red flowers.
- Weeping caragana: A solid choice for yards that get sun as well as shade, weeping caragana is most beautiful in fall, when its leaves turn a brilliant yellow.
- Barberry: An outstanding choice for dry Calgary summers, barberry shrubs thrive in arid conditions and produce beautiful pink-burgundy flowers.
Additional gardening and décor tips for small yards
There are lots of great ways to plant up to free up even more space. Create a vertical garden on your fence, build window boxes, buy stackable planters or hang planters off your eaves. You can even get creative with lattices, ladders and shelves.
Call Calgary’s Mirage Landscaping for affordable, professional service
Mirage Landscaping provides affordable and professional lawn and garden landscaping services as well as landscape construction services throughout the Calgary area, and you can also count on us for landscape design and construction services that add value to any home.
To get started, check out our portfolio and contact us for a free project estimate.