For her backyard, Alissa Shanley envisioned flower and vegetable gardens, a patio with seating areas, and grass. There was just one problem: She has a house with one of those tiny, postage stamp–size yards. But Shanley, a landscape designer and owner of Denver’s B. Gardening, managed to incorporate it all—and then some. The patio fits a table for eight plus a sofa lounge, and the vegetable garden borders a patch of grass. Rose bushes bloom on the sunny side, and the shady corner is home to a lush garden of hosta plants and bleeding hearts. Shanley also created a colorful passageway alongside the house using columnar trees and climbing hydrangeas. With a small, sheltered space, you’re not limited to xeriscaping: “If you know where to put the right plants,” she says, “you can almost have anything.”


Hoist a Sail

You can’t beat sail shades for small spaces. They’re inexpensive, come in various shapes, and don’t take up as much room as a pergola.

Think Color

To create a nook, Shanley painted her fence lime green and decorated it with bright-colored bulb string lights that complement a whimsical garden of nicotiana, which grow tall and bloom with hanging white flowers.

Space Savers

“Columnar trees are best friends to small spaces,” Shanley says; they provide structure and color without large canopies. In gardens, use tomato cages for creeping vegetables like cucumbers to make the most of square footage.