Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to backyards. Sure, it would be great to have acres and acres to garden, play, and barbeque. However, a large backyard remodel could break the bank. If you don’t have much space, but want to transform your yard, you still have plenty of options and you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Here’s how to get a backyard retreat that all of your neighbors will envy.

Go Vertical

Perhaps the best space saving solution is to plant vertically. You can use hanging plants, outdoor shelving along a wall or fence for potted plants, and even wall planters with frames that look like artwork. Another option for gardening is to use tiered or stacked planters. These take up less floor space and still allow you to grow multiple plants and flowers.

Create Terraced Landscaping

You can create levels that act as both garden beds and seating with a terraced landscape design. Build stone terraced walls a few feet tall to create bench seating and plant in the space behind them on several levels. This can make your yard look twice as big.

Build a Retaining Wall

You can create visual interest and draw the eye upwards by building a retaining wall. There are endless retaining wall styles and materials to choose from. Landscapers can help you choose the right kind for your yard, but popular choices are piled stones, wood, industrial metal, and raw concrete. With the right retaining wall design you can prevent soil runoff and even create a bar or kitchen by adding a counter on top of the wall.

Choose Tall Plants and Trees

If you want to preserve as much open space as possible, choose tall, thin trees that grow up rather than out, such as evergreens. (Tall trees can also cut your energy bill by 25% in summer and 10% in winter with their sun and wind blocking abilities.) Skip a fence, though, because fence height can have a shrinking effect and make you feel boxed in. Instead, try layering different plants to create some privacy and the illusion of depth. Put taller and darker plants in the back and shorter and lighter colors in the front of a garden bed, which can trick the eye into seeing more space than is actually there. You can also use curved beds and pathways rather than straight lines to make the yard look long and winding. Don’t forget to utilize your side yard to add some more space, as well.

Buy Multipurpose Furniture

Try buying furniture that does double duty. You can find benches and ottomans that also store your gardening tools, toys, and throw blankets. Look for folding chairs or portable fire rings that can be stored in the garage. You can find or even build a mini storage shed to stash things out of sight, as well. You can create a cozy living room on your deck or patio with chairs, a daybed, or even a hammock with an outdoor area rug. Change out your patio doors for large sliding doors that blur the line between inside and out.

Add Some Ambiance

Another good trick to make your backyard look larger and feel like a retreat is to add some lighting and mirrors. Lanterns, string lights, candles, and fire pits brighten up the space and add ambiance. Mirrors on a wall or fence reflect light and give the illusion of space, as well. You can even add a tabletop water feature for relaxation. Trellis or a pergola can be a nice addition to create a separate space and showcase flowers.

If you’re ready for a backyard remodel, but are worried that you don’t have enough room, try some of these tips. The backyard is an extension of your home—all the more reason to make it an inviting and relaxing space that you will want to spend time in.