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10 Landscape Designs for Small Backyards

Transform Your Not-So-Big Backyard into an Attractive, Charming, and Comfortable Place


It’s everything you’ve imagined your dream home would be – well, except for the little backyard. But as they say, don’t sweat the small stuff. Get your imagination and creativity going – and take on an exciting “do-it-yourself” project to turn your small backyard into a comfortable and captivating spot. 


1.  Clean and Uncluttered Go a Long Way

Follow the basic rule of a well-maintained and healthy-looking yard. Mow the grass regularly, weed out wild flowers, and get rid of the debris around the space. Don’t overwhelm the yard with too many plants and flowers – less gives an illusion of a bigger space. So be selective in your plantings, and take care of the plants and flowers in the yard. See to it that they are well tended, get enough water and sun, and are trimmed properly.

Small space thats big on appeal and charm plan # 109-1013 with 3 bedrooms

Here’s a small space that’s big on appeal and charm. Strategically planted shrubs and flowers give this smallish backyard of a 1-story, 3-bedroom Craftsman style home an uncluttered and inviting look (Plan # 109-1013). 


2.  Create a Highlight Point

A fire pit, a water feature, perhaps a fountain or a rock garden provides an eye-catching diversion from the small yard and captures the attention of visitors right away. 

Fire pit in a 2-story, 5-bedroom luxury home

Get an idea for an outstanding focal point or highlight feature for your small yard from this fire pit in a 2-story, 5-bedroom luxury home (Plan #165-1077).


3.  Color It Bright

Whether you choose shrubs and flowers at the entry way to the backyard or something else like cushions and pillow on the deck or patio furniture, adding a splash of color emphasizes the vibrancy of the space – and not its size. 

Purple flowers mixed with the shrubs along the edges of the backyard of a 1-story, 4-bedroom Contemporary style home

Purple flowers mixed with the shrubs along the edges of the backyard of this 1-story, 4-bedroom Contemporary style home give it a serene and calm aura (Plan #190-1011).


Backyard gazebo by the water adorned with colorful drapes

For a bigger “wow” factor, go with brighter and bolder colors – as in the vibrant orange in the sun-shading drapes of this cozy backyard corner gazeboby the water (Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash). 


4.  Light It Up

Spruce up the backyard with some creative lighting fixtures for your spring and summer night entertaining. Positioned at different levels, lights make a small space look bigger. In addition to a fire pit, there are string lights, glass candle lanterns, path lighting, hanging tea lights, or railing jars.


Lights on a deck with pergola and drapes

String lights illuminate a pergola on a small backyard patio and give it enhanced ambiance for outdoor entertaining (Photo: Randy Fath on Unsplash).


5.  Keep Outdoor Furniture to a Minimum – but Dress It Up

Be selective and efficient in your choice of backyard furniture, and make sure there’s enough room to move around the chairs and tables. Think comfort, practicality, and function – and don’t forget colors and accents to perk up the space.  


Patio with table and chairs that have colorful seat cushions

Minimalist furnishings with colorful touches are the attraction in this small backyard. The warm earth tones in this yard are contrasted by the blue tile and colorful seat cushions and flowers (Photo by Lindsey LaMont on Unsplash). 


6.  Separate the Yard into Distinct but Flowing Areas

A garden oasis, outdoor dining/entertaining area, and ample green grass can be accommodated in a small backyard with some imaginative division of space, paving, and landscaping. 

Not-so-big backyard of a 1-story, 4-bedroom Craftsman style home with a garden, cozy outdoor dining area, and plenty of green grass

Three in one: With some creativity, this not-so-big backyard of a 1-story, 4-bedroom Craftsman style home comes up with a garden, a cozy outdoor dining area, and plenty of green grass to soothe the eyes (Plan #163-1006). 


7.  Landscape Paths

Use pavers, stepping-stones, plants, and shrubs of varying heights, shapes, and colors along the pathway for enhanced visual attraction.

Backyard pathway of a 2-story, 3-bedroom Beachfront style home

White blooms and tall slender trees line the pathway of this backyard in a 2-story, 3-bedroom Beachfront style house (Plan #168-1011). 


8.  Use Walls / Deck Ceilings for Planters

An empty wall or fence in the backyard can be a very nice “home” for plants and flowers. In many small backyards, a vertical flower or herb garden is a very popular option. Another idea is to hang flower pots around the ceiling of a covered deck.   


Tall shrubs that are planted against the privacy wall of a backyard

 A spot on the wall becomes an ideal “home” for tall shrubs planted in this backyard of a 2-story, 3-bedroom Florida style home plan (Plan #117-1097).


9.  Hang Mirrors on the Fence to Make It Kook Bigger

Give your backyard the illusion of a larger space by hanging a tall mirror on the fence. The mirror not only makes the backyard look bigger but also serves as a unique decorative piece – and even a spotlight point in the yard. 


10.  Don’t Forget Your Garden!

Even when you think you’ve utilized every inch of space in your backyard, you can always find that perfect spot in the backyard for an indispensable flower garden. So if a vertical garden is not your style, how about a fairy garden in one corner of your yard or fanciful planters placed strategically in the space?

Colorful flowers in a backyard garden

Flowers and planters in a small yard

Bring something magical and enchanting to a small backyard by planting a few colorful blooms – and dont forget the planters where you dont have a lot of garden space (Both Photos by Annie Spratt on Unsplash)


So take heart! That small backyard has more potential than you realize. Be adventurous, and tinker with the space to unearth its enormous possibilities!


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