In the last few years, one of the big trends in architecture has been tiny homes. Designed for energy efficiency, affordability, or even just for a simpler lifestyle, these homes are popping up in neighborhoods and specialized developments all over the country.
Of course, a small house typically means a small yard, too, and many of the owners of these tiny homes are looking for ways to make their landscaping as beautiful as possible despite having fewer square feet available than larger homes. Many would-be owners harbor some reservations about downsizing simply because they don’t think they can get the satisfaction of a beautiful landscape.
But owners of tiny homes are displaying amazing creativity in adding features to their landscapes that create as much beauty as what is found in homes of any size. Here are some of their tricks for doing it.
A smaller house needs smaller plants, right? When you don’t want to dwarf your tiny home with a maple or oak that will be massive at maturity, you need to find plants that make more sense. A great way to do that is to plant a beautiful flower garden.
Flower gardens can provide large areas of bright, compact color that won’t look out of proportion with a tiny house. You can plant several different areas with similar flowers, helping tie the landscape together. One easy way to do this (and to simultaneously reduce work) is to plant amaryllis bulbs in your flower bed. These perennials will come up every year and provide a flash of beautiful color with no effort on your part.
Revisiting The Lawn
Another important consideration is re-thinking the size of the yard. As we noted earlier, a tiny house will probably be placed on a much smaller lot than a traditional-sized home. That being the case, the lawn will not be home to a trampoline, swimming pool, and minor-league baseball team.
So don’t try to make it one! Instead, focus on how a small lawn can be used. Develop comfortable seating areas with benches, fountains, and flowers. Lay down low-profile pavers that can be mowed over to reduce damage to grass in high-traffic areas. And just because you don’t have room for a mighty oak doesn’t mean you can’t have trees. Smaller species like Japanese maples will stay nicely within the confines of a small yard.
Remember Structural Features
One of the most important things to do with any lawn, regardless of size, is to establish where it begins and ends. That may mean defining property lines, containing pets, or simply framing it up so that the intersection of your mowing with your neighbor’s mowing looks more natural.
The way to do this is with durable features like fences, rocks, and walls. Of course, in a tiny home, those features should be sized appropriately to look natural with the home. What they can do beyond simply setting boundaries is to provide a backdrop for other features. A corner section of white picket fence makes the perfect location for a flower garden. Rocks and walls can also be softened with landscaping.
Tiny homes are gradually starting to be accepted as a popular option instead of just a quirky lifestyle decision. They allow their owners to save lots of money on construction and utilities. They help reduce the carbon footprint of residential development. And they free their occupants from many hours of cleaning and upkeep.
But what many potential buyers of tiny homes may not realize is that they do not have to sacrifice a beautiful landscape to gather these other benefits. Indeed, in a home with less indoor space, it’s more important to have areas for outdoor activities than with larger homes. Just as the tiny home itself represents a break away from the traditional home, its landscaping should also provide a different way of doing things that may be smaller but is just as beautiful as its larger cousins.