Shrinking lot sizes have helped with affordability and reducing urban sprawl, but it means many new homeowners have a much smaller backyard than when they were kids.
Most have welcomed the smaller space because there is the reduced cost of establishing the garden and less time needed out of your weekend to maintain it.
But, homeowners want to make the most of every inch of the backyard they do have. While the footprint has shrunk, there is still plenty of wall and fence space available to use as part of the backyard’s design.
Find out how you can add to your backyard with these easy feature wall ideas…
Quarter acre blocks in Perth 30 years ago rarely had more than a passionfruit vine trained over the super 6 fence. There was ample space for large garden beds and lawn for the kids and dog to run around.
These days it’s more than likely the buffalo grass has given way to a small patch of artificial turf or the backyard contains a small pool and paving leaving little room for plants or lawn. The fences are closer to the house, so they need decorating to add interest.
Succulents make perfect vertical garden plants. They can cope with a sunny position and drying out on a regular basis. Succulents are easy to strike so if you have some patience, you don’t need to spend a fortune establishing the garden by buying all mature plants. Their attractive coloured foliage and varying shapes look stunning in any shaped planter box or container pinned to the wall.
If you don’t think you have the green thumb needed to keep a vertical garden alive, there is always the alternative of artificial plants. The quality of fake plants is so good now that it can be hard to tell if the plants are real or not. Artificial vertical gardens are being used indoors as well as outdoors.
For many people having a productive garden is important no matter how big or small their plot of land is. It can be a few pots of herbs and lettuces in easy reach of the kitchen or the whole backyard devoted to edible plants.
The nursery industry has adapted to the smaller backyards. They realised that few new homeowners have the space for a standard apple tree that can grow up to 8 metres tall. New varieties have been cultivated that are dwarf in size but grow full-size fruit. Other types of fruit trees grow in attractive, slender columns that are 3-4 metres tall and only 30 cm wide maximising the available space and covering the full height of the fence.
Another option for homeowners is to grow their fruit trees using traditional espalier methods. Full-size varieties of fruit trees are trailed against a fence by regular pruning and tying new branches to strong supports. Some plants are trained into geometric patterns for extra visual appeal.
Aquaponics has grown in popularity in recent years. It allows homeowners to farm fish and grow vegetables using nutrient-rich water from the fish pond and a hard growing media rather than soil. Silver perch is a popular fish variety because they are hardy and can withstand cold water temperatures. If you are willing to keep the water heated in winter, you can be enjoying plate size barramundi.
Most green leafy vegetables do well in aquaponics but you can try anything that doesn’t grow in the ground such as carrots and potatoes. Placed against a fence or wall, the aquaponics unit takes up little room and can have a vegetable yield that is up to 10 times higher than if the plants were grown in soil – perfect for the productive gardener with limited space.
To add variety to your garden and to keep maintenance to a minimum, outdoor wall art is a popular choice. Wall hangings, sculptures and water features look great in any backyard. Hung on or placed next to a wall they are small on space but big on appeal. Laser cut corten steel doesn’t need painting and develops a rust-like patina with age that people love.
Backyard lighting means the artwork stands out as a feature both day and night. LEDs or solar-powered lights are cheap to buy and run and can be used as backlighting up or down lighting to showcase your art while entertaining.
If you are someone who likes to garden, choose plants that are tall and skinny so you can maximise the number you can fit in your space like fruit trees, vegetables or topiaries. If you prefer to spend more time relaxing than maintaining your backyard, choose low maintenance plants or no maintenance artificial plants or artwork.
If you need some help with designing your backyard to make the most of your available space, call the experienced team at Start Right Homes on (08) 6189 8795 or contact us online.