By John Voket

In this second of our spring gardening reports, I lay down the skinny on reinventing or making the best of smaller, more intimate outdoor spaces!

At Gardendesign.com, Lucy Hardiman of Portland, Oregon (http://lucyflora.com/) blogs how there is more demand than ever to make better use of smaller spaces.

Hardiman says homeowners have higher expectations; they want their yards to serve multiple purposes - to entertain, relax, fix a meal or accommodate pets and children. So designing a small yard is more challenging, but also more rewarding when it all comes together.

Covered pergolas are more popular than ever, Hardiman says, no matter how big or small. She is also seeing a lot of Cor-Ten steel being used for walls and as edging for paths and beds because the weathered look exudes a recycled and sustainable vibe.

Gardenista.com says when it comes to small spaces, think like an architect and incorporate your garden into living space to increase your home's livable square footage. You can maximize indoor-outdoor flow by increasing the width of door openings, installing French doors or creating and broadening windows or window walls.

No garden - including just a window box - is too small for another trendy Gadenista idea - garden bells. These melodious little accents are the new wind chimes.

Or starting at just around $50, add a fire feature that turns a garden into a gathering place. Gardenista says a fire pit or fireplace is a lure because it creates warmth and light - you can cook on it, warm your hands over it, or just pull up chairs on a chilly night.

And if you're looking for a most economic way to inject some pizzazz into your curb appeal, install hand-crafted, bespoke, or painted custom house numbers. In our next segment we'll chew on a few ideas about edible gardens.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.