A standard townhouse back yard (at least, in the DC metro area) is approximately 20′ wide and 15-25′ deep. Not much space to call a yard, yet still a wonderful palette for maximizing space. There are a few things to consider when planning a townhouse backyard.
- Skip the grass. It requires a mower, oftentimes is sparse if it is under a deck, and does little to make the space useful.
- Hardscape is your best investment. Though there is an initial cost involved, the added value will help when you want to sell and will essentially give you a new space to live in. Most people don’t want to deal with the hassle of having to “do” the back yard. Access to a townhouse back yard can be troublesome making getting materials and labor in to do the work a pain.
- Keep some bed space along the perimeter. If you put a patio all the way up the borders it will feel harsh and unnatural. Unless you plan to fill the space with planters to bring in some green, keep some space around the patio to add softening plants.
- Go vertical. Soften the hard fence with vines and espaliered plants that grow vertically instead of horizontally. Bringing the green onto the fence gives a feeling of privacy.
- Design it for use. If you grill there or just hang out there, make sure you consider how much furniture you will have and arrange the space to fit your needs. Open