When it comes to small backyards, ideas are anything but scarce. With the rise of online gardening websites and magazines, ideas for backyards are brimming all over the place.
It’s not easy to use your garden space efficiently and this pains many homeowners. The typical scenario usually goes like this: people often have too little space or too many ideas.
These two are hard to reconcile.
The problem is, once you make your choices, you can turn back, but it’s a lot of hassle.
Achieving a roomy feel in a small yard is far from being simple even if you’re not afraid to show off your green fingers. Even an exterior designer will have to stop and think before they can make that small yard sing.
Here, we’ll show you how you can design your small outdoor space in ways that make all your five senses indulge.
What Can I Do With a Small Backyard?
Less is often more.
Ask any knowledgeable exterior design enthusiasts, and that’s what they’ll tell you.
Pack your small yard with random plantings and that will only stifle the space. You know better than that.
Instead of going overkill, go a little bit more refined. You need to rationalize with what you have at hand. That’s the number one thing to have in mind when coming up with your small backyard ideas.
Here are a few main areas to focus on before starting your home landscape project:
- What greenery to plant so it doesn’t stifle your yard?
- What are your future planting projects? Make sure to leave some space in your yard for those as well.
- What design features do you want to use? Do you want pavers, a patio, or a deck? Plan those ahead.
- Do you want a flower bed, a play area, or a fire pit area? The fewer square footage you have the more merciless you need to be with decision-making.
Our team has plenty of actionable small backyard ideas and we’re impatient to share them with you.
How Do You Design a Small Backyard?
The million-dollar question in landscaping a small back garden is how to save space. Luckily, there are a few landscaping rules you can stick to and create an outdoor area to die for with, however small.
A small-scale backyard will require less time and money if it’s of any consolation. On the flip side, you’ll have to compensate for this by minding the proportions of your landscape.
The small backyard ideas below will give you all you need to know so you can maximize your backyard space.
How to Grow Plants in Small Outdoor Spaces?
When working with a small yard, you can have too much of a good thing. So, plan ahead which landscaping plants you want to use and how to place them in your backyard.
You also need to think about what conditions your plants need so they do their best once you start them.
If you want to plant some trees, check out whether they’ll provide too much shade. They might not work with some shrubs, for example. Some colorful shrubs like plenty of sun and they won’t be able to go full color in the shade.
One of the best ways to save space is to go minimalistic with your garden. Thinking small can get you a perfectly indulgent outdoor area. Install a fire pit and add a small herb garden, then dot it with an occasional shrub.
Now, here are some more tricks to help you change the scale of a small outdoor area.
- Avoid hard lines in your planting areas: This might make your backyard look hemmed in. So, make sure to use plantings to soften any edges. For example, you can plant a herb garden along the line of your fencing.
- Plant a vertical garden: This strategy allows you to create a lush outdoor space that’s not too cramped. You can design nooks by placing your plants vertically in pots and baskets. Or you can plant them along the horizontal fence panels or walls, for example.
- Strategize with colors to open up your backyard area Even a garden can have too much color that stifles the space. Instead, you can play with dashes of color to make your backyard look bigger. Plant bold, bright plantings at the front of your backyard. This will help elongate the view and give the impression that the landscape is larger than it is.
- Use dwarf plant varieties: Dwarf plantings have an obvious benefit – they won’t take up too much backyard space. Planting them alongside taller evergreens like Arborvitae will make the area seem larger.
- Grow climbing plants on a pergola: A pergola is a good way to frame the view in your back garden. Growing climbers on the pergola will help you free up some space for other plantings in your yard.
How to Design a Patio in a Small Backyard?
When looking for clever ways to design a smaller backyard, a patio can be a great game-changer.
Think in terms of narrow benches and plenty of cushions and umbrellas. It’s a surefire way to strip the space of too much clutter and still create a luxurious lounge area.
A set of functional outdoor furniture with a pot of hydrangea or lavender can be all you’ll ever need.
Or you might want to go a bit wilder with your patio design, even if you can’t go grand-scale. Whatever the case, we have a few useful backyard ideas in store for you.
- Break up your outdoor space. Grouping your furniture and separating the seating areas can create an impression of a larger space. For example, you can separate your dining area from your reading nook with a set of paths. Or you can design a stone patio that creates a sharp contrast with the green patch.
- Create levels around the perimeter of your patio area. This will define your yard and give it more perspective. You can use tiered landscaping by using elements like raised planter beds and pavings. When possible, create various levels in a small yard either by creating terraced ‘outdoor rooms’ or simply by using raised planter beds. Play with different landscaping materials or even add a floating deck.
- Design your yard by following the rules of perspective. This backyard idea is classic and unfailing. One of the rules of perspective is that objects in the distance appear as smaller to a human eye. So, position your walkway and your patio so they follow parallel lines. This will create a “vanishing point” and make your small backyard look larger.
- Add details along the diagonal of your yard. Position your garden elements in a zigzag line. This will create visual interest and make for more room in your outdoor area. For example, creating a diagonal path through the garden will add more space as well as more opportunity to admire the view.
- Avoid clutter by adding planting containers on your patio. Place potted plants along the perimeter of your patio. This is one of the unfailing space-saving ideas plus it adds charm to your patio.
Want to Sharpen Your Landscaping Skills?
Use the small backyard ideas above to achieve a more spacious look of your backyard. What works for your yard, might not work for another. The rules above aren’t set in stone.
The success of your small backyard project depends on your resourcefulness and research skills.
Leave everything to chance, and you can have a huge yet lack-luster yard. Do your homework, and you can have a small but breathtaking backyard.
Like with pretty much everything in life, you can enjoy the deed only after it has been done. And here, you’ll be able to enjoy the feeling of spaciousness you’ve always craved for.
If you want to sharpen your landscaping skills, check out the Gardening Channel. We’ll help you avoid the most dreaded hit-and-miss landscaping scenarios. Plus, you’ll be able to savor more landscaping and gardening advice.
Tell us what’s your secret? How do you work your magic when it comes to maximizing your outdoor space? Don’t hesitate to share. Any idea for backyard design is more than welcome.