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5 Ways to Transform Your Small Backyard

You donít have space in your backyard for a swimming pool or huge garden; you may not even have room to toss a football around with friends and family. This doesnít mean you have to write off your backyard as a dumping ground for junk. Get outside and enjoy your backyard, no matter how small it is. Fix up an unappealing yard with a few key changes and additions.

INSTALL AN AWNING

Create a sitting area in the shade and youíre more likely to spend time enjoying your backyard. If you already have a patio or deck, thatís the perfect space for a shady sitting area. If not, consider throwing down stone tiles around the sliding glass door entrance to your backyard. Or,place the tiles a short distance away from the back door if you donít have a sliding glass door.

Install an awning over this space to protect yourself from UV rays and sweltering heat in the summer. The fabric on an awning is easy to pack up and put away in the winter, and if you choose a retractable model, you can put it away when you want to sunbathe without having to remove the fabric.

PLANT NEW GRASS

Thereís nothing makes a backyard more drab than dying grass and patches of muddy areas where the grass has stopped growing completely. Luckily though, replanting new grass is easy:

Rake the grass to clear it of leaves, branches, stones and other debris.

Use a hoe or a sod cutter to remove existing grass.

Lay down fertilizer or other soil amendments (run a soil test to see what your soil is lacking.)

Plant the new grass in seed or sod form; laying down sod is the easiest and fastest method.

ADD PLANT LIFE

The New York Times reports only 15 percent of Americans count gardening as one of their hobbies or passions; if itís space thatís stopping you from gardening, donít let it! Even just a bush in the corner can make all the difference toyour backyardís aesthetic. Lay down mulch instead of grass in a small portion of the backyard and plant your favorite flowers; even a space a couple of feet wide is better than nothing at all.

If space in the ground is truly an issue, spruce up the patio youíve created beneath your awning with potted plants. Potted plants are not only a way to add a touch of nature to a tiny backyard, but theyíre easy to move and take care of. You can even take them inside during the colder months and continue to water them.

LAY DOWN STONE TILES

Create a pathway through your backyard using stone tiles. A small path of tiles will create a more organized, appealing look. You donít even have to plant new grass beneath the tiles; fill in the spots between the tiles with mulch or small stones. A path of tiles provides even less area to mow when it comes to maintaining the improved backyard look.

ADD A ZEN GARDEN OR FOUNTAIN

Your new backyard should be a place where you can get away from stress. Add a Zen garden or fountain or both to increase sense of tranquility in your backyard. You may not have space for a full-size garden or large fountain, but even devoting a small corner of the lawn to raking sand and positioning stones can help. You can even get a table top fountain or Zen garden for a small table on the patio if youíre very short on space.

Of course, before you make any drastic exterior changes, clear the backyard of any junk or yard waste thatís accumulated while youíve been neglecting it. Think of the project this way: Your backyard may be small, but that means you have to put less effort into cleaning and maintaining a picturesque space. A few simple changes can create a haven in your backyard away from the stresses of everyday life.

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