15 Small Backyard Ideas To Make Your Space Feel Larger

No, you won’t be building an Olympic-sized swimming pool back there, but your small backyard can still be an oasis for your plants, your friends, and your mind. We’re going to take a look at several small backyard ideas that can transform your cozy yard for maximum use and enjoyment.

1. Make Use Of Your Side Yard

MULTIPURPOSED • This narrow side garden between our house and garage used to be even more slanted and covered in unruly grass. Literally tons of sand and river rocks, a bike rack, old café table, some planters, plants and tiny trees later, we might be on to something. Instead of a traditional gated fence to the backyard, we overlapped two partition walls to make an open gateway leading into a secluded lounge area. ••• #gardeninspiration#garden_styles#mynorwegianhome#cafestagram#backyardigans#sidegarden#haveliv#plantasjen#sideyard#sidegarden#landscapingdesign#gardenlife#trädgårdsinspo#styleithappy#riverrocks#mygardenlife#mygardenrocks#hagelivoguterom#hageliv#hageinspirasjon#jardineria#uterom#patiolife#patio#mygardentoday#gardendesign#lavender#landscapingideas#naturally_imperfect#exteriordecor#pottedplants

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We often assume that our side yards are never noticed, are out of sight, or are just wasted space to toss the dog’s old toys or store spare tools. They can be so much more, not only just to beautify, but to create the illusion that your yard is wider. Consider creating a walking path or a small flower garden. You can even create a lovely nook or cozy space, just large enough for a small chair to enjoy your morning coffee.

2. Plants Vs. Walls

Don’t build walls. While having zones is a great idea, walls actually shrink the spaces they’re in. Consider the use of tall plants and grasses that only give the illusion of separation. Just be careful to find plants that aren’t so large they dominate their respective areas.

3. Think Diagonally

Square or rectangular designs make yards look narrow. Try thinking diagonally when selecting placement—from your gardens to your walkways and even your deck. This will make your outdoor spaces appear more expansive.

4. Add Something Unexpected

Little garden surprises can be a fantastic way of catching someone’s attention as they enjoy your backyard. Consider a small fairy garden under a tree or a charming little statue of your favorite animal.

5. Add A Big Something Unexpected

Another option for making the most of a small backyard is to give it a focal point. You can design the space so that the first thing a visitor notices is something large like a pergola or unique bird bath.

6. Rediscover An Overlooked Space

Sometimes, we have lived in a place so long that we don’t even realize what we’ve got available to work with. Take a fresh look at the outside of your home. Do you have areas that you could repurpose or areas that have flat-out been neglected?

One of the most common is the space under a second-story deck that may currently be used as storage. What about turning that into an outdoor entertaining space?

7. Create Traffic Flow

Designate your backyard into separate zones like green space, dining and entertaining areas, and a grilling section, by making traffic flow in a deliberate way. You can do this through the use of pathways, furniture arrangement, pottery, and garden beds.

8. Change To A Spiral Staircase

If you’ve got a deck leading down to your patio or yard, chances are the wide stairs are taking up space. In a small backyard where we’re looking to maximize the space we’ve got, a spiral staircase can reclaim a few precious feet.

9. Use Built-in And Multi-functional Pieces

#tbt to one of our first ever landscaping jobs. We built this sweet sunken patio into a sloping front garden. We used a variety of rocks, including Mount Bundy granite for the seats, Burmese slate floor and a massive slab of Jasper for the table. We love it! Want one in your garden? Call us! #darwinlifestyle #darwinnt #tropicalliving #tropicalgardens #sunkenpatio #gardendesign #darwinlifestyle #darwingarden #groveygarden #loveyourgarden #loveyoudarwin

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In any small space, the more versatile your pieces are, the better. Seating is the biggest challenge in a small backyard. Look for ways to create built-in seating into your designs, such as around an in-ground fire pit or benches built right into the side of your deck.

Also, look for pieces like a table with a built-in cooler or seating that doubles as storage bins.

10. Utilize Vertical Landscaping And Plants

Not only do vertical plants take up less space, but they’re visually stunning as well. Choose plants and flowers that grow up rather than out.

You can also plant your herbs and vegetables vertically in stacked crates or wall gardens to ensure that you’re not missing out on Roma tomatoes and sweet basil every summer, simply because you don’t have room for a larger garden.

11. Create A Tiered Yard

To get to the top, simply take that next step up. No need to make it more complicated than it is – just climb those stairs baby! My try at Motivation Monday. 😁 . . Have we reached the top? No, not even close! But we have a vision of what kind of company we want to be, and we keep taking steps to make that vision reality. What are we doing today? Connecting with another outdoor living design and build company that truly inspires us. We want to learn from them and apply that knowledge to our team. BTW, if you want to see some exceptional outdoor spaces check out @visionscapes . . . . #outdoorartisan #brucesaundersphotography #stonestairs #stonewall #boulderwall #retainingwall #retainingwalls #outdoorstairs #stonewalls #stonework #drystonewall #boulderwalls #stonesteps #spiralstaircase #masonry #stonemason #charlottegc #charlottelandscaping #hardscapes #hardscaping #slope #backyarddesign #backyardideas #backyards #naturalstone #curvedstairs #stonestacking #stoneslabs #stonestep #motivationmonday

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This is a creative solution for both sloped and small backyards alike. By building separate tiers, you provide usable, level space, giving yourself small platforms that can act as individual “zones,” while simultaneously creating natural retaining walls. Consider installing steps so that you can access each tier safely.

12. Keep It Simple

Remember that one of the easiest ways to make the most of a small space is to resist filling it. Choose the functions that your backyard space needs to perform and choose items and furnishings with those necessities in mind. It’s sometimes best to select a few large pieces rather than cluttering your space with many small ones.

13. Use Foliage And Texture

Think about changing the scale of your backyard by introducing some large, bold plants. This creates a lush, deep-green landscape and helps your yard feel larger.

It also creates a unique and somewhat exotic look that in itself is intriguing.

14. Cut The Grass—Literally

Cut it out altogether. If you don’t necessarily have a need for a lawn, consider making a small backyard a haven of plants, veggies, and flowers. Form walking paths throughout the yard so that you have easy access to care for them and stagger your plants based on height and color.

15. Streamline

If you’re a fan of minimalism in your interior design, you may love the idea of doing it outside as well. Consider just a few types of plants or flowers and perhaps one or two colors blended to create a calm, serene oasis in your backyard.

Written by Jessica Barrett Halcom

Jessica is an outdoor enthusiast who can be found dreaming up any excuse to make her way to the woods, the mountains, or the beach. Growing up in the country in a small town in Wisconsin, she had aspirations of one day moving to a big city to make her living as a writer. Her love of the country won out over the city, and though she makes her living writing, she has chosen the hills of Tennessee as her home where she lives with her family.

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