There’s potential in open space. If you’re hoping to renovate your home’s outdoor areas into a place fit for relaxation and recreation, it’s not as hard as you may initially think. Even a backyard currently full of odds and ends can be turned into a fantastic garden with the following tips.

Donate or Give Away Items You Don’t Use

One of the best ways to declutter a space is to choose things to give away via classified adsor charity donation. As for any watercraft or boats that you may be storing in your backyard, donating a boat is easy and appreciated by many charities that can use the vessel’sresale value for funding programs.

If it’s difficult to part with some of the items you’re storing outdoors, ask yourself when you last used it. Do you really sit on that bench? When is the last time you put feed in the bird feeder? If you haven’t used something in the last six months, it may be time to get rid of it. Exceptions exist, of course, for items that can only be used once a year. But if you didn’t use that croquet set last year, do you really want it to sit there for another 12months?

Evaluate the Area You Have to Work With

After you’ve removed any extraneous items from your backyard, consider your final vision for it. Don’t make any immediate changes—let yourself appreciate the space you have available and be open to creative ideas for renovating it. You may want to keep a folder of photo snippets from magazines and newspapers illustrating ideas you like, or sign up for a social photo-sharing site like Flickr or Pinterest that allows you to browse other people’s images for inspiration.

Consider Alternate Storage Locations

Ifyou conclude thatyou don’t have enough space in your backyard to realize your dream of a turtle pond, vegetable garden or other goal, you may want to consider alternate storage locations for the things still in your backyard. Can you remove a garden shed and house its contents in the garage or attic? What about in a storage unit? Extra structures like sheds, gazebos, greenhouses and even treehouses partition up the available space in your garden. They may need to be moved elsewhere to meet your renovation goals.

Plant Trees and Shrubs That Won’t Clutter

Some people love an exuberant garden that feels like a jungle. But if you’re craving space and order, pull up bushes and flowering plants that sometimes overgrow. If you live in an arid climate, installing a rock garden or water feature can provide an oasis that will balance out other patches of greenery taking up space. Strategically planted trees are another way to declutter your garden, as each new tree will need open space around it to grow. When they grow tall, these treeswill provide shade for your garden.

Decorate Minimally

Garden decorations, such as gnomes and fancy birdbaths, are a lot of fun to buy and install. Unfortunately, they also take up a lot of valuable land area you could otherwise use for grass, a vegetable garden or your new swinging rocker. Think of ways to decorate your garden that don’t take up floor space, such as hanging birdfeeders and wind chimes from tree branches, painting a mural on your fenceor planting creeping flowers over a small latticework arch.

Pick Furniture That Fits the Space

Likewise, garden furniture can sometimes use space to your disadvantage. Only put permanent furniture items in your backyard that will be comfortable for guests. Too many people select wrought-iron tea tables and stools because they look beautiful, but then find that they’re not good at all for relaxing or picnicking. Select items that are durable and will weather the elements. Being choosy about your furniture now will keep you from having to add more comfortable or practical items andbegin the cycle of clutter all over again.


About the Author: Donna Baxter is a former real estate agent. She enjoys seeing people comfortable in their home space.