8 Design Ideas for Smaller Backyards


There are a number of design strategies to get the most out of a small outdoor living space; here are my favorite eight to get you started:

1 Make your small backyard an extension of your home by using similar colors, textures, and shapes from your interior design. This goes for the furnishings you use as well as patio foundations, gazebos, cooking areas, and anything else that can lengthen the indoors atmosphere of your home.


2 Compartmentalize your small backyard. By having one section for entertaining and relaxing, another for growing flowers or veggies, another with perhaps a fireplace and/or cooking equipment, suddenly your yard will be getting a lot more use and will feel roomier.

3 Minimize the materials you use. This is especially important for very small yards. A brick foundation with stylish forest green wood for fencing and furnishings with a simple, rustic motif will bring a sense of peace and unity, making it appear more spacious.

4 Along with going easy with material and surface types, try to minimize the overall number of objects in your yard. This means fewer plants, trees, seating pieces, tables, lighting, and appliances. Smaller versions and styles of your essentials will make a big difference. Too many objects, especially large ones, will make a small yard feel off-balance.


5 With a smaller area, lighting designs can give the yard a customized feel. Track lighting is good along the side of the house, while many different kinds of overhead lights can be used to create unique effects. Lamps and lanterns will add charm to footpaths and borders.

6Think small when adding to a small backyard. If you plant trees, plant ones that won’t become gigantic and dwarf the property. Consider installing a handsome fire pit rather than a full-scale outdoor fireplace. Go for intimate seating rather than long benches or couches.

7 The views beyond the backyard are more obvious with a small yard.  If there are views you aren’t thrilled with – a corner of a shopping center in the distance; a neighbor’s unsightly play area for the kids – block them off.  Trellises are good for this, as is a stand of tall shrubbery. Adding your own background to the yard will personalize the experience in your outdoor living space.


8 Break up the design with a few contrasting shapes to bring some variety into the area. If you’ll be using square tables and seating, incorporating a round fire pit, a semi-circular brick foundation, or a curving walkway will add visual interest to your yard

By using your imagination – and enlisting the help of a professional designer, in certain cases – you can turn a small backyard into a real feast for the eyes! A place family and friends will enjoy all year long.