City living often goes hand-in-hand with smaller backyard spaces, but that doesn’t mean you need to hit a landscaping dead end. Everyone knows that good things can come in small packages – it’s all about knowing your options, and having a little creative boost to get the ball rolling.
Whether your backyard has a patio, a deck, or a grassy area, here’s how your small yard can make a big impression.
1. Hang some greenery
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Plants can make both indoor and outdoor areas feel infinitely more homey and thoughtfully decorated. If you have any kind of overhang or roof-type space, a few hanging planters with long, trailing greenery can give off exotic oasis vibes. You can find unique hanging planters on online marketplaces like Etsy, or at your local flower shop.
2. Light up the night
There’s a reason why every single bar and restaurant with a terrace or patio has soft, glowy string lights overhead! They’re great for creating an inviting and relaxing ambiance, especially when you’re entertaining a few guests into the night. You can either repurpose some Christmas lights you have around the house, or purchase lights with larger bulbs for that authentic resto-bar look.
3. Let it bloom
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Even if a deck or patio takes up most of your garden space, planting a flower bed is one of the easiest small backyard ideas, and can typically be completed in a single weekend. Farmer’s markets are brimming with blooms that can add an incredible splash of color to your space, so you’ll have no shortage of options to choose from. You can even use garden edging to spruce up your flower bed’s perimeter!
4. Step into style
Not sure how to give your backyard a little more height? You’d be surprised at how much of a difference refreshing your stairs can make! If your backdoor is a few feet off the ground, consider a fresh take on your steps, using high-quality stone and concrete that can stand up to any and all weather. For added style, consider dressing up the floor! In fact, a unique pattern, such as the one seen above, can really make a small space standout. Keep everything else in the space quiet and let the floor do the talking.
5. Use your vertical space
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When square footage is limited, it’s time to start building upward. It’s easy to repurpose a piece of wood trellis or lattice into a vertical garden that stands nice and tall: choose a few plants, flowers, or herbs that thrive outdoors, and hook hanging pots into the gaps. Then, prop your trellis up against a wall and watch your upright garden come to life.
6. Plant an herb garden
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It’s tough to grow fresh herbs inside, so if you’re lucky enough to have even a small outdoor space, don’t let it go to waste! If you don’t feel like digging up your yard, you can plant your herbs in terracotta pots or a wooden planter using regular gardening soil and place them in a nice sunny spot. If you’re a beginner, you can try out some easy-to-grow varieties like mint, chives, parsley, and cilantro.
7. Be an outdoor bookworm
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Flipping through a book or magazine under the sun is one of life’s simplest pleasures. The good news is, it doesn’t take much to create an irresistible reading nook, even in a small backyard! Pick up a comfy outdoor lounge chair, or even a trendy hanging basket chair. Place a small side table next to the chair for coffee, tea, or snacks, and create a little shade with a tall plant or standing umbrella.
8. Take a seat
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The easiest way to create an outdoor living area in a small backyard is with a convenient bistro set like this one, which you can fold up and store when it’s out of use. Something like this can also add a fun pop of color, acting as a décor focal point without dominating the entire yard. If you have a little more space to work with, consider adding a couple of extra chairs to the equation – the most important takeaway is to look for light, dainty furniture that won’t make the area feel cramped or crowded.
9. Go green
Featured product: Squadra paver
Many balcony owners like to create a cozy vibe by lining their space with lush greenery for privacy, so why not lean into the size of your yard by creating a cozy perimeter of tall plants? The same principle applies to this small backyard idea: make your small area feel peaceful, private, and intentional by decorating the edges with plants, shrubs, and little trees.
10. Use every square foot
Featured product: Squadra paver
Is your side yard currently being used to house recycling bins, gardening tools, and an old bicycle? If you have a small backyard, don’t let a single square foot go to waste! Your side yard can be whatever you want it to be: an intimate dining area, a space to plant flowers … you name it. Have an unused corner of the house? Why not turn it into an outdoor shower? The possibilities are endless!
11. Create texture
If your yard is completely grassed over, adding a mini patio can break up the space and provide some interesting texture. For example, you can lay down a few patio slabs underneath your dining table and chairs, or give your garden a little edge (literally) with some decorative edging stones. The latter is especially helpful if you have an inground flower bed, since the stones can be used as a decorative border. Furthermore, when adding texture to a space, make sure you keep the color scheme monochromatic so as not to overwhelm the space. In fact, loud textures and loud colors can make a small exterior look even smaller. Focus on texture and keep the rest simple, clean and monochromatic.
12. Sneaky storage
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One of the most common small yard problems is finding somewhere to store odds and ends. Since decluttering a space is an excellent way to make it seem brighter and larger, smart storage solutions are a must for small backyards. A storage bench is a fantastic double duty option, as both a place for your small items to live and a space-conscious seating solution.
Ready to start making the most of your garden with these small backyard ideas? Check out our Backyard Inspiration Book for even more inspo, or flip through one of our style guides to get the creative juices flowing.