Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

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Even a small backyard can be transformed into a beautiful and inviting space. In this article, you’ll discover some inspiring ways to make the most of your small backyard.

When we bought our townhouse, we were smitten from the day we moved in. We loved everything about it including the small backyard. I saw this small space had enough potential to become an outdoor haven where we would be able to relax and make wonderful memories. 

Small Backyard

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

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Just because your backyard is small, it doesn’t mean it can’t be used like a larger backyard. After all, a small backyard is better than none at all. Maximizing space means that any backyard can serve a purpose beyond what you initially perceive, as long as you have a little time to plan and execute.

Below, you’ll discover some great ways to make the most of your small backyard. Don’t forget you don’t need to spend a fortune either!

Utilize What’s There

Typically, backyard decorum generally calls for a place to sit and a place to eat, and our strategies for making the most of your backyard will ensure it remains functional.

Making The Most Of A Small Backyward

The first step to making the most of a small backyard is to address the tiny elephant in the room: you have a small space, but you want to make it feel big, so start with what’s there and then continue. If you have hedges, a fence, or other fixtures that provide direction to your backyard plans, follow them.

For example, adding Twinkle Star Decorative String Lights can beautifully highlight your paths and draw attention to certain areas or features. Lighting can literally transform your outdoor space while not spending a small fortune.

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

Plant Vertical

Gardening can take up a huge part of your backyard if you’re growing everything directly from the ground. Instead of planting in rows, try planting vertically, using tall planters that facilitate vertical growth. Managing eight or more types of flowers is extremely easy with a vertical planter setup, and it only takes a few square feet of the total backyard.

Tiered planters are exceptional for planting herb gardens. Interestingly, this concept can also be applied to stepping tiers. Having multiple levels to step on gives the illusion of added space.

Adding furniture and decorum to create a feeling of privacy can lead to a lot of wasted space, so use what’s there. You can find stunning wicker patio furniture specifically designed for small backyards.

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

Smart Zoning

If your backyard is long and narrow, or short and wide, extra space can be created by creating zones to give your backyard a more domestic vibe. There are many ways to do this, but one of the most effective concepts in zoning is using bench seating to create hard angles that make “rooms.”

Placement of a table naturally creates a “room” around the table as well. By strategically placing furniture, you can create zones that allow for privacy of conversation when outdoors.

Last summer, we repaved the entire patio floor. We had two sets of shrubs on both sides and we found it really limited our outdoor space so we removed all the shrubs and adding patio blocks to extend the space. It made a huge difference. Now, we can entertain three times as many people as we did in the past. 

I have to get “my green on” – we’ve had really cold nights so far this Spring, and I didn’t want to start planting until it at least got warmer outside. Once I add some green, I know it’s going to brighten up my backyard and make this space inviting and add some pops of color

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

One of the reasons I liked this patio set was it gave the option to add a footstool as opposed to a full recliner. This was a definite space saver for an already tight space.

More so, when you have a smaller space to work in, you have to think of alternative ways to get the look you want without having to sacrifice too much. Always look for chic and stunning smaller patio sets to add sass to your small backyard.

And of course, I have a lot of lighting going on back there too. I have string lights on both sides of the fence as well as some spotlighting too. 

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard


The ability to recalibrate your backyard by utilizing moveable furniture creates endless design options for your backyard. Gardens can be constructed in movable planters, folding chairs make for great temporary seating during events, and propane grills come in small sizes that can be stored indoors when not being used. 

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

Create a Focal Point

Creating a focal point takes your guests’ attention away from the size of your backyard. A beautiful statue, or a grouping of plants like the vertical planters mentioned earlier, can create an elegant distraction that takes attention away from the physical properties of your space. Positioning the focal point is dependant on the layout of your backyard, but generally, there should be a natural path to the focal point from the threshold.

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard

A small backyard doesn’t have to feel small. Smart planning and a little ingenuity go a long way in the quest to create an efficient backyard space. Your small backyard will always have the advantage of feeling cozy, so start from there and follow our tips for making the most of a small backyard.

Making The Most Of A Small Backyard_Sassy Townhouse Living

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  1. These are all great tips. We spend a lot of time outside in the warmer months so our yard had to be comfortable and functional all at the same time.

  2. We are just in the planning stages of a re-do of our back yard. You haven given my some great ideas. Thank you.

  3. We’ve lived in many townhouses and rowhouses over the years. It ever stopped me from making the outside space lovely and useable. Now we have a fenced in yard with beautiful gardens but, our gathering place is still the focal point. Loved your designs.

  4. I agree, small back yards are great. They are easier to take care of and easier to make feel welcoming.

  5. I have the opposite problem. I have a HUGE backyard. Trying to tame it and make space feel intimate is kind of the same challenge. So thanks for the tips, some of them are useful in a big back yard too!

  6. I love this. We have a small backyard with a teeny tiny patio. Love the idea of creating zones. Great post and suggestions. Also loved your tiered planters for herbs!

  7. Hi Carolann! I love all of your suggestions. We live in an apartment so some of your ideas, like the vertical garden could still work. I love a space to retreat to and you have shown some beautiful images for us to re-create. Have a great week!

  8. I love what you’ve done and the ideas you put forth, especially like having a statue for a focal point. Backyards are so important and where I spend most of my time in summer.

  9. I love the idea of creating a focal point. And the lights on the plants! When we lived in an apartment I got very familiar with the whole idea of vertical gardens. Love this post!

  10. Wow! You have definitely maximized and beautified your space! So lovely! Bring on summer!

  11. Carolann, These are such great ideas. And such a timely topic for me. I’ve been staring out at my backyard for weeks now wondering what to do with the space. I love the use of string lights and to think of creating “rooms” to divide up the space. Thanks for the tips.

  12. Thanks much Carol, the backyard is such an important space. I love it when the kids come over and we eat and relax back there. Thanks much for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend!

  13. Hi mary, Oh how exciting! I’m glad you got some ideas. I’d love to see a post on it when you are done. I love getting inspiring ideas too! Thanks much for stopping by and I hope you have a great weekend!

  14. Hi Barbara, Your backyard space sounds lovely. I agree, the outside space is the focal point for family fun for sure. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  15. Gorgeous backyard! I am getting ready to do so gardening this afternoon, so I was happy to see this post. We moved from a huge country place to a small city house. We have been looking at adding another small patio under an existing pergola to add to the space fro dining and entertaining. I love that table and chairs set off in the yard!

  16. Oh wow, yes, I can see how a huge backyard can present issues as well. I’m glad you found some of the ideas inspiring. I love decorating outdoor space just as much as indoor. Thanks much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.

  17. Hi Cathy, Yes, zones are a great way to utilize a small space. I’m so glad you liked the post. I love decorating outdoor space just as much as indoor. Thanks much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.

  18. Hi Sue, thanks so much! I’m glad you found the post useful. I love decorating outdoor space just as much as indoor. Thanks much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend.

  19. Hi Ruth, Oh wow that’s cool that you knew about vertical gardens. They are a stunning way to make the best of planting for sure. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  20. Hi Angela, I adore string lights. People must think I’m nuts I have so many sets out back lol. Glad you like the post. I hope you got some good ideas for your outdoor space. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  21. Hi Michele, I’m so glad you were able to get some inspiration for your outdoor space. How exciting to move to the city! Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  22. Thank you Michelle. Yes, I love using low maintenance plants outdoors too. I rely on getting inspiration from so many wonderful sites out there. Thanks so much for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

  23. This is a lovely post, Carolann. Your ideas and examples are practical and inviting. I don’t have a backyard right now but I used to have one that was cosy. We loved it because it was small enough to be creative without feeling overwhelmed. I made a faux gate with an archway in front of it, then I painted a mountain scene on the fence to give a feeling of space. Your post has brought back nice memories of that backyard.

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  24. Hi Kathleen, thanks so much! Yes, exactly. That’s how I like my backyards too – no overwhelming! You said it perfectly. That gate sounds beautiful and so very creative with the mountain scene. I would have loved to see that! Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks again for the love and sharing. xo

  25. All great tips and ideas. I guess I’m using your vertical tip in my pallet garden idea. Thanks so much for sharing.

  26. Great tips and backyard ideas. Lovely samples of backyards, and garden foliage!! Thanks for this lovley post!

  27. Thanks a ton for sharing this :)

    Such beautiful spaces I must say. Our yard and back patio needs much love. I need to find the time to put some low maintenance plants out. I’ll surely use the idea of string lights as it highlights the path beautifully. Now I know how I can use the space of my small backyard.

    My small backyard is not boring anymore and all because of you, Thank you so much Carolann!!


  28. HI Ruben, so glad you enjoyed the post. I love my light in my backyard. They make a beautiful atmosphere and is such a joy to relax in that space. Hope to see you again soon. Have a fab week!

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