A visible boundary, such as a fence or wall, can make a yard feel small
and claustrophobic. Concealing boundaries with plants will radically
improve the appearance of a yard, transforming it into an attractive
Back Fence Disguise
In many small yards, the most obvious boundary is
the back fence, which, if visible, immediately gives away the length of
the yard. By creating a mixed border directly in front, using a range of
plants that will grow as tall as, or taller than, the fence, you will
succeed in blurring the edges of your lot. Make sure the border is a
reasonable depth: a narrow strip in front of the fence, deep enough for
only one plant, is likely to draw attention to the boundary rather than
One of the most effective ways to disguise a boundary
and also make a yard seem larger is to create a false perspective. For
example, in a yard that appears short, make the borders running down the
sides of the yard taper outward so that they are wider at the far end,
making the yard appear longer. Another visual trick is to draw the eye
away from the boundaries with a central, circular lawn or paved area,
and surround it with dense plantings. Evergreen shrubs will ensure that
the effect lasts all year.
Dividing up the yard with various plant screens so that the
entire yard is never completely visible from any one position will help
make it feel larger and shift the emphasis away from the boundaries.
Even a small lot can be divided up in this way using trellis or woven
willow screens as supports for climbing plants; these also help to
maximize growing space.
Having a small garden does not mean that you should restrict yourself to small plants; in fact, doing so serves to underline a yard’s limited size. Positioning a selection of quite large plants in front of fences or walls in generous-sized beds that have been pushed to the edges of the lot will help to maximize space in the center of the yard, creating a courtyard. The plants will also help to hide fences and walls.