A small backyard can be as much of a personal haven as a big backyard. You might not have as much room for entertaining or barbequing in a small yard, but you can still make the most of your yard size with some clever landscaping. While many of the backyard landscaping ideas that you see are intended for a larger yard, there are plenty of ways to bring a small yard to life. In this article, we have some ideas to help you landscape your small yard.

What is the yard’s main purpose?

Before you get started bringing your landscape ideas to life, think about what the main purpose is going to be for your yard. Do you dream of having an elegant garden in which you can sip iced tea in? Is grilling and entertaining your main priority? Will your yard mostly be for your kids to play in? Determining this can help you make some decisions on what you should include in your landscaping. If you want to focus on a garden, think about that more than adding in the grill or leaving space for the kids to run around.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Morgan Howarth Photography

Utilize Vertical Space

If you want to have a garden but do not have much ground space, you can take advantage of the vertical space in your small yard to make the best of it. All you need is some basic carpentry skills; you can easily create a tiered garden that only takes up a little on the ground, giving you a beautiful landscape for your small yard. If you have a deck or patio, you can set up your vertical garden along the walls of it.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Tom Howard Garden Design and Landscaping

You can layer your landscaping using your vertical space too. Start with planting some shorter plants, then gradually go into taller ones until you are on the wall. If you use things like groundcovers, you can create something beautiful and layered, all while maximizing your limited yard space.

Dress Up the Deck

If your deck could be more attractive to look at, or you need more privacy, you can start dressing it up by training a perennial that grows fast to go up a trellis, giving you some privacy and shade. You can try orange a-peel black-eyed Susan vine for an annual climbing vine that does well in partial and full sun, making it well suited for something like this.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Undercover Systems, LLC

Create an Atmosphere with Sweet Smells

To create a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere in your small yard, choose some plants that are known for having a pleasing scent, like lavender. These scents can make a yard feel cozier and more comfortable, no manner the size.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Mystical Landscapes

Remember to Leave Space Open

When planning out your landscaping for your small yard, make sure you remember to leave some space open. It can be really easy to end up inadvertently making your yard overcrowded and claustrophobic. You want to be able to unwind in your yard, and you cannot do that if there is no room to breathe and relax.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by User

Focus on the Grilling Station

If you love holding big cookouts in the summer, focus on that for your small yard. Go beyond the grill and give yourself a little bit of counter space to prep on. Plant some edible plants nearby, too, that you can incorporate into your cooking. Then you just need some seating and tables, and you can scatter some flowerpots or planter boxes around to complete the look.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Creative Hardscapes

To give your grilling station a unique look, you can install faux stone on your BBQ, on the exterior of it, that is not touching anything that will get too hot. This will give the grilling station some depth and character, making it unique and stand out. Not only is your cooking going to be a talking point, but the grill you will be cooking on can also be one.

Get Creative with Planters

If you only have a single patio for your yard but want to have a garden, you can get creative with some larger planters. Add a few bigger planter boxes in your space to fill with flowers and plants, giving you a garden when your home did not come with one. Adding some bigger flowerpots is a great way to give yourself a contained garden too.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Integrity Landscape Services LLC.

Build in Your Seating

Having chairs in your yard is important if you plan on entertaining out there, but they can take up a lot of space. When working on limited space, a great landscape idea for your yard is to build in your seating. You can install it along the perimeter of the yard or deck as bench seating, allowing you to have space for everyone to sit without giving up too much space.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Seed Studio Landscape Design

Build Out from a Corner

One great way to plan out a small yard is to pick a corner of it to start in and build out from there. You can start with some seating, maybe a small fire pit and a side table. From there, you can build out your lighting and landscaping to fit around that one central theme.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Ginkgo Leaf Studio

Plant Short Hedges

One way to make a small yard feel a little bigger is to divide it up into a few different spaces by planting some short hedges. These will act as boundary lines, which can help you designate what areas are for the garden and which are for lounging.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Susan Cohan Gardens

Mix Ground Cover Materials

Instead of having one specific ground cover in your yard, mix it up and have some fun with it. If you have pavers on your patio, leave space in between each one for grass. The mixed medium can make the yard feel more customized and interesting. It can be a unique feature and talking point for visitors.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Land Studio C

Add a Small Water Feature

A small fountain in your yard can be a beautiful feature of your landscape. You can use it to create a focal point in the center of your yard or keep it tucked in the corner where you can gaze at it when unwinding on the patio. There are so many different styles of water features, too, so you can find something that is beautiful and unique to you.

Ideas to Landscape a Small Yard

Photo by Michael Flaugh, Landscape Architect, P.L.

About the Author

Auz Burger is a freelance writer and an expert in faux stone and brick veneer and home DIY projects. She has a BA from Washington State University and has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade.