How to Landscape a Long, Narrow Back Yard

Written by j. lang wood
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How to Landscape a Long, Narrow Back Yard
For a long, narrow yard keep relaxing and entertaining areas close to the house. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Landscaping can make the difference between a yard that is ho-hum and one that is pleasing to the eye. Some property areas can be a challenge to landscape, such as a long, narrow back yard with an unbroken visual line that makes the area seem even narrower than it is. A bit of creativity and knowledge of design can help to give more balance to these areas.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Plants
  • Patio pavers
  • Topsoil for mound
  • Rocks
  • Bench

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  1. 1

    Stand back and assess the area of the back yard to see how it is used and what parts need to be left as open spaces. Design the area according to the function of the space.

  2. 2

    Leave an open area close to the house where family and guests can relax or play in the yard without stepping into bedding areas or bumping into shrubs. This can be a patio or deck area for entertaining.

  3. 3

    Break up long areas of lawn into smaller sections with a small flowerbed or area of flowering shrubs. Plant a small, gently-curving bed in the centre of the yard to break up the long visual lines.

  4. 4

    Mix trees and shrubs of different sizes at side areas to give the yard a more varied appearance.

  5. 5

    Plant trees that have high, full canopies that will give shade without encroaching on yard areas.

  6. 6

    Use small, raised beds for vegetable garden plots instead of long garden areas. These are also easier to maintain and create less soil compaction.

  7. 7

    Plant shrubs and trees as a "living fence" to break up the long sidelines of the yard.

  8. 8

    Build a small mound with additional soil, and plant it with flowers or shrubbery to counteract excessive flatness across the entire yard area.

  9. 9

    Place a rock garden toward the back of the yard and off to a corner to provide interest.

  10. 10

    Create a curved pathway to a bench set at a diagonal near the centre of the yard to break up long lines.

Tips and warnings

  • Suit the yard areas to the purpose. Families with young children need space for play equipment and playpools close to the house. Empty-nesters prefer uncluttered, green areas to relax and enjoy, according to LandscapingNetwork.
  • Go easy on curves. Making too many of them or making them too elaborate only takes up visual area and doesn't add to a feeling of spaciousness. It can end up looking cluttered.
  • Keep containers, water features and other landscape structures in scale to avoid overwhelming narrow spaces.

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