How to make the garden look bigger
One cannot actually create square footage but can definitely make some changes which will make the garden look much bigger than it actually is. It is true that some people want low maintenance yards which are generally smaller in size, but this is not necessarily true in all cases. Many people have children and want ample room for them to play around. People also want enough space in the yard so that guests could be entertained there by having barbeque parties for instance.
Cleaning out personal belongings out of the back yard is a good start. Overcrowding causes spaces to look small, whether they are inside or outside. If there are some essential items which cannot be removed, one should consider setting them up in a way so that they occupy lesser space. Moving the outdoor furniture up near the fence instead of the centre of the yard is a good idea.
Too much shade in the backyard casts a shadow and prevents the sun rays from getting through and brightening up the area. One can trim the overgrown trees and other bushes. This does not help majorly but creates a contrast which makes the back yard look a little bigger. Oversized bushes make the garden look much smaller and cramped.
A number of other optical tricks could help in making the garden look bigger. One could cover the fences with plants so that the margins of the garden cannot be seen. This works much better if there is a neighbouring garden with plants looking over the fence as it gives an impression that the garden continues. A large mirror covering a wall gives an impression that the wall does not exist and the garden carries on. Another great idea is to erect an arch covered with climbing plants in front of a wall. Then the arch must be backed by a mirror to given an impression that the garden continues under the arch.
Creating walkaways also makes a garden look bigger. Adding a bench in the middle of tall plants could also do the trick sometimes. One can also make use of the curves to make the area look bigger. Curves made in a series of networks make the small space garden look much bigger. These curves need to be connected. Parallel curves also give an impression that the garden space is bigger than it actually is.