The Best Small Backyard Ideas to Transform Your Space With Style

There's something about stylish outdoor areas that we all find rather inspiring. Just because you have a small backyard, it certainly doesn't mean you can't fulfill grand ideas - it's just as well that backyard ideas are quite limitless.

Carve out your patch of home paradise with an outdoor area you won't want to leave. We've put together some top ideas to help you get the best from your small spaces.

What can I do with a small backyard?

Whether you have a tiny backyard or not, it's possible to create an outdoor sanctuary that calms you and invigorates you all at once. Create an outdoor oasis that invites you to spend time in it.

Being outside is a natural tonic for all things health-related, so transforming your outdoor space into a haven of functional beauty is a wonderful way to enhance your home.

Double Pisa

Small spaces don't have to mean small plans. Small backyard ideas might not include plans for swimming pools, for example, but they could include a small plunge pool! Read on to get a little inspiration for your backyard improvement plan to take shape.

How do you design a backyard layout?

Turning your small backyard into an outdoor oasis means having purpose and intention when designing the space. A small space will need to be zoned into areas if you intend to have several functions within the outdoor area.

  • Decide what the main focus and use will be - is there enough room for a plunge pool and an outdoor kitchen?

  • Figure out if your square footage can handle the small backyard ideas you're planning. Will your hot tub fit in the corner of your small deck and still allow space for a dining area?

  • Unless you plan to create garden beds and you're particularly green-thumbed, opt for low maintenance ideas or one raised bed that is easy to access and care for.

  • Planning is imperative. Don't be tempted to just dive on in and start building things if you haven't got a vision or end goal in mind.

  • Think about whether a small patch of grass is worth it. There are other ways to add green to your patio and yard. Consider pea gravel - good for drainage and it looks nice. It's also very low maintenance. A wooden deck or paver patio might be a better use of the space for your small backyard.

  • There are some pretty amazing faux grass/ turf options available today, which emulate real grass incredibly well.

Shaggy Bean Bag

Mt Gold Shaggy Bean Bag / Mt Gold Sheepskin Footstool

Create an outdoor living room:

Extend your indoor space to the outdoors with a small backyard idea that is low maintenance, functional and relaxing. If you're a family that likes to entertain, you'll appreciate this extra space and it's an excellent use for a tiny backyard.

Depending on the size of your yard, it might be worth considering concrete pavers to define the outdoor space. Add lush greenery and potted plants for a more natural outdoor atmosphere, but you don't need lawn or grass if it's simply not going to work.

You'll need to bring in some comfortable patio furniture. Arrange a conversation area with a centre coffee table that can be used for additional seating if necessary.

An outdoor storage box that doubles as seating is another way to add practical use to your space. Use it to store cushions and other items that will enhance your outdoor room.

Go alfresco style with an outdoor dining area:

Small backyard ideas will usually include some kind of area for sitting. A dining table and chairs are almost essential for your home's outdoor spaces.

If you have a particularly small backyard and don't have room for more than a bistro table, that's fine and will be all you need. Get sensible with folding furniture so you have the option to fit more people in your seating area if needed.

No matter whether it's an alfresco breakfast and coffee for one, or dining space for the whole family, your backyard can always handle some kind of spot for sitting with a teacup or wine glass.

Build on your cooking skills with an outdoor kitchen:

Small backyards can provide the perfect spot for a small patio that houses your built-in barbeque, a sink, pizza oven, and everything you need for outdoor cooking.

You don't need a large floor plan for a chef's kitchen to be the shining star in your backyard. If you're lucky enough to have a covered outdoor area, even better - this will serve you all year round.

A herb garden tucked in a corner will add some flavour to your 'kitchen'. Hang plants vertically or carve a small spot for a couple of pots.

How do I build a small garden

For the horticulturalists among us who are worried about a tiny backyard not offering enough ground space for a garden, fear not! There are some great small backyard ideas for gardeners.

With limited space, you just need to get a little more creative, but you can still grow plants and put your gardening tools to use with a small yard garden.

  • Small flower beds

  • Container plants

  • Easy-care potted plants

  • Build a vertical garden on your back deck

Children love getting their hands into some dirt and it's also therapeutic. Help them create a little fairy garden or a small herb garden that they can be responsible for.

Get social with a fire pit area:

A fire table or pit is great for social gatherings and end-of-the-day banter. Toasting marshmallows, telling stories into the late evening, being mesmerized by a warm flickering flame - we are drawn to the safety net of how fire feels.

If you're in an area that allows braziers and open fire pits, this is a pretty nice way to go. They take a little more work and require a little more clean-up and preparation, not to mention the wood, but there's something humans love about an open flame.

Bring in a fire table that has double duty as a table. Make it the focal point in your tiny yard and find a stunning style in natural stone or rustic wood and weathered metal.

Be sure to have water on hand for the brazier or open flame fire pit styles and the right fire extinguisher for gas fires. Safety should be a top consideration, always.

How do I make my backyard space cozy?


Make your small space feel cozy and welcoming yet bright and spacious as well. Creating a cosy outdoor space for your small yard is a fun and easy project.

  • Bring an outdoor rug to your patio or deck to soften and add interest and texture.

  • When the weather allows, bring a plush sheepskin throw out to toss on your furniture. A sheepskin shaggy bean bag will be the sought-after outdoor book-reading spot. Just be sure to take it inside again.

  • Consider adding some colorful plants or even a water feature.

  • Hang a set of string lights for an ambient and warm glow when the sun goes down.

  • If your courtyard or small yard space isn't surrounded by trees and tall plants, consider building a privacy fence.

    • A vertical planter is an excellent idea for small yards and any deck or outdoor area with limited room. It'll provide an easy-care garden and offer the perception of more space.

Don't forget about light and shade:

It's all very well bringing your dream garden and backyard ideas to fruition but we would be remiss not to mention lighting and shade.

Hang lights, use solar ground-level lighting, solar-powered floor lamps, and even patio heaters at the right time of year will all provide an element of light for the evening time.

An umbrella or pull-out shade attached to the house, or electric louvers are all going to work well for shade ideas, depending on the size and style of your yard.

The takeaway:

Just because you have less space, there's no reason why you can't have a beautiful and welcoming outdoor space for the whole family and more.

Small backyard landscaping is a home improvement exercise like no other and the rewards will keep on giving.

Whether your small backyard ideas simply involve a tidy-up or a whole landscape plan, there are a plethora of options to create a welcoming and swoon-worthy space. You might just have to let go of the swimming pool idea in favour of a small patio and container garden.

Know that you don't have to spend a fortune and that it's possible for your house to have a usable backyard, no matter how large or small. It's worth doing some research and looking at ideas in areas like San Francisco and New York where inner city living will usually provide postage stamp sized yard space.

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