May 6, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES I & III • Page 31 Home Improvement & Gardening (ARA) A baby boomer couple downsizing, a working professional’s downtown city condo, and a young family’s starter home in a metro suburb -- the trend of people moving to smaller homes with smaller yards continues to grow. If you are one of them, how do you make the most out of your small outdoor green space? With the right tools and strategies, you’ll find the possibilities are endless. “When people move to smaller homes, they want to make the most of the green space they have,” says Ashton Ritchie, lawn expert and master gardener for Scotts. “They still want that outdoor retreat after a stressful day.” Ritchie says that smaller yards can be some of the most stunning because they require less time and homeowners can focus more on what they really enjoy. “The difference is with a small green space, it’s not an overwhelming fulltime job. I’ve seen many beautiful small yards with intensive gardening and great landscaping.” Here are Ritchie’s tips for getting the most out of small outdoor green spaces: Make it your own. If you want to create an outdoor retreat, a small yard holds many possibilities. Your priority should be deciding Spring How to make a big splash with your small yard how you are going to use your yard. If you enjoy cooking, have much of your space dedicated to a great vegetable and herb garden. If you want to use your space to unwind at the end of the day, create an outdoor room with relaxation elements. If you plan to use your small yard as an additional space for entertainment, incorporate sitting space and tables for overflow from the house. Use contrast to your advantage. The nice thing about a small lawn is the contrast you can easily achieve in the foliage. Lush green grass is the foundation that contrasts with the colors and textures of other plants. Keep your lawn vibrant and consider planting flowers, shrubbery or an herb garden. The contrast in these elements provides as visual frame that is very appealing. Fertilize for a green and beautiful lawn. Green grass provides us with a soothing, relaxing feeling. But the No. 1 problem with grass is it ends up malnourished and starves. Therefore it’s important to fertilize four to five times a year so you get strong root and top growth. People with small yards don’t want to bother with bulky bags of fertilizer and storage of a spreader. One solution is Scotts Turf Builder with Built-in Spreader. The handheld, ��������� MOTHER’S DAY SALE • Weeping Cherry AZALEAS • Flowering Dogwoods Full, Beautiful & Flowering • Flowering Plums $ 95 • Flowering Pears $ Reg. 2895 • Rhododendrons all-in-one container is easy to use: simply flip the spout, tilt, and shake onto your lawn. The fertilizer strengthens the lawn and promotes a healthy root system. It feeds a lawn up to 1,000 square feet. If you finish and have extra, the small container is easy to store for use next time. Outdoor decor adds appeal. Consider adding elements to your yard that interject your personal style. For example, adding a water feature is a great idea that is visually appealing plus it adds a water sound that creates a relaxing atmosphere. You could also add a bird feeding station to attract wildlife. If room is very limited, consider a small hummingbird feeder. Be creative and get ideas from your local gardening center. Use space-saving furniture. Small spaces do not call for big, bulky outdoor furniture. Benches can be a good option because they seat multiple people and also take up less space. Look for pieces that are multifunctional like a bench or table that also opens up to provide storage space. Finally, make sure furniture can withstand temperatures all year long since it probably won’t be stored in a different location. Small yards can provide big beauty with these tips and strategies. 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