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17 Small Backyard Ideas to Make Your Yard Feel More Spacious

When you have a tiny outside space, it can be hard to visualize it turning into your personal outdoor oasis. We created this guide on small backyard ideas to prove that you don’t need a ton of acreage to landscape the lawn of your dreams.

Below, you’ll learn all sorts of tips and tricks to make your backyard feel bigger. Whether gardening vertically, installing cozy lighting, or investing in modular patio furniture, there are many ways to add value to your outdoor space.

Are you ready to transform your tiny plot of land into an oasis? Keep reading this guide to small backyard ideas to get the wheels turning.

Small Backyard Ideas

1. Add an Outdoor Mirror

Mirrors are indispensable when decorating a small area. It’s no secret that they can open up a space and make it seem larger than it actually is.

So, apply that logic to your small backyard by adding a mirror to your landscaping. Not only will it help your space seem larger, but it also adds a lovely rustic look to your garden. We especially love this vintage metal arch mirror with a distressed finish.

2. Garden Vertically

The first tip on this list of small backyard ideas is to garden vertically. Much like in cities where the skyscrapers keep getting taller, building up can help you save on valuable real estate in your backyard.

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Why not build a living wall to help capitalize on square footage in your backyard? Gardening vertically is one of the best small backyard ideas out there since it enables you to increase the greenery without taking up a lot of space.

Consider constructing a trellis along that empty wall or fence, and have plants like the Goldflame Honeysuckle vine climbing up the netting.

3. Use Pots and Containers for Growing Plants

Rather than using up your backyard for garden beds, opt for pots and containers to add some floral flair to your space.

Digging up garden beds is time-consuming and uses up a lot of space. Why not plant your vegetation in multiple pots and containers instead? You can achieve the same amount of greenery with more control over the square footage.

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If space permits, try adding this raised garden to your patio as a unique design choice. Or, using vessels like the Smart Pot is an affordable way to nurture your green thumb and add some foliage to your outdoor oasis.

If space isn’t in your favor, gardening with pots is one of the more thoughtful small backyard ideas.

4. Include a Small Fountain

Fountains and other water features instantly give your outdoor space a feeling of calm and zen. Imagine relaxing in your hammock while hearing the soothing sound of trickling water.

If you think fountains can only fit in large yards, think again. There are many small water features to help add some peace and tranquility to your outdoor space.

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This Two-Tier Galvanized Barrel Fountain only weighs 5 lbs, and its short 32-inch stature can easily fit in a tiny garden. Similarly, this Four-Tier Sacked Stone Waterfall Fountain only measures 33 inches in height and has LED lights that emanate a warm glow.

5. Build a Tiny Deck

Constructing a tiny deck can help you divide your backyard and give you the ideal lounging or entertaining space. Plus, building a deck is cheaper than pouring a concrete slab, and it’s simple enough to DIY with the right tools.

Small Deck

If you don’t want to construct a permanent deck, you can purchase interlocking deck tiles to make your life a little easier.

6. Install Cozy Lighting

A tight space deserves some warm, glowing lighting to enhance the coziness, so installing some cozy lighting is a genius small backyard idea.

Choose dim lighting that can add a comforting charm to your patio. These hanging Edison bulb lights are perfect for completing a cozy outdoor space.

7. Make Use of Dwarf Plants

Dwarf plants and tiny backyards go together like two peas in a pod. They’re easy to maintain, and you can find many beautiful varieties to grace your garden.

Between the Dwarf Yaupon HollyDwarf Gardenia Radicans Shrub, and the Petite Kock Out Rose, just to name a few, you can easily decorate your small garden with many of these tiny plant varieties.

8. Ditch the Grass

Getting rid of the grass in your tiny backyard will make your life easier (goodbye lawn mowing!) and make your space look larger.

Small Backyard Idea - Replace Grass With Stone

This small backyard idea might be a bit more work up front, but the results are worth it. You can turn that empty plot of grass into an elevated entertaining space complete with decorative stones, ornamental grasses, and rustic gravel.

9. Use the Front Yard

This guide to small backyard ideas wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that most homes have valuable real estate in the front yard.

While this part of your land is often overlooked (and often victim to local building bylaws), you can still get away with landscaping a garden and entertaining area.

If your backyard isn’t big enough to fit all your ideas, consider transferring some of those plans to the front yard of your home.

10. Use a Storage Bench

storage bench can offer valuable holding space while providing a comfy resting spot for entertaining or relaxing. It’s an ideal piece of furniture to add to your patio set that helps you declutter your backyard.

Storage Bench - A Great Small Backyard Idea

Whether you position it on your porch, deck, or under a tree outside, you can’t go wrong with the multi-purpose storage bench. This simple piece of furniture has to be one of the best small backyard ideas out there.

11. Add a Focal Point

Adding a focal point creates visual interest to capture your eyes. When used in design, it directs your attention to the accent piece and helps draw you into the space.

Consider this logic when landscaping your tiny backyard. Having a focal point makes your space seem larger since it steals your gaze from the surroundings and tricks your brain into dismissing the small size.

A focal point can be as simple as a pot of brilliant lavender roses or a geometric-trimmed tree. Or consider adding a unique water feature to your patio to help steal the spotlight.

No matter your choice, including a focal point in your outdoor space is one of the best small backyard ideas.

12. Divide the Space

Dividing your outdoor living space can help create different “rooms” in your backyard, making it seem larger and more spacious.

You can even accomplish this in the smallest backyards. Consider what elements you’d like to include in your space. Perhaps you’d like a lounging area, bistro nook, garden, and an orange tree.

Now divide up your yard to accommodate these wishes, and think about different ways to separate each space.

Consider your home and how each room is separated, then take that logic to your backyard. You can change the floor’s texture in each space, adding mulch under your potted garden and patio stones under your lounging area.

Think about using dividers between each “room,” such as low hedges or lattices. Also, decide on whether to include ceiling elements like pergolas, awnings, tree canopies, or lawn umbrellas.

While divvying up your lawn, try to keep some cohesive theme or color throughout to maintain the flow of space.

13. Include a Hammock

Hammocks can be a cheap addition to your tiny backyard and add valuable lounging space. Who wouldn’t want to laze around on a comfy fabric swing on a summer afternoon?

Avoid purchasing a hammock with a stand since those can be bulky and expensive. Instead, opt for a hammock you can tie to a tree or hang from a strong point on your patio. This way, you include the optimal napping spot on your patio without giving away too much space.

14. Remodel Your Shed

If you have a shed taking up a lot of backyard real estate, why not remodel it into something new? You can transform that dusty hut into a greenhouse, work-from-home space, gym, or even a guest house.

This is one of the loftier small backyard ideas, but with the right time and money, you can revamp your shed into the room of your dreams.

15. Buy a Chiminea

Some small yards don’t have the luxury of including a firepit, but purchasing a chimenea can solve this debacle.


A chimenea is a small, freestanding fireplace that easily fits into small patio designs. It emanates heat and also just looks plain cool.

16. Add Pops of Color

Did you know you can use color to make a small space feel larger?

Using lighter colors can create a more airy feeling with better visual flow. Include soft tones like off-white, blues, and greens when choosing plants and patio furniture.

If you add darker colors in your backyard, keep it minimal to act as a focal point.

17. Include Bonsai Trees

Bonsai trees have been the go-to tiny houseplants for decorating indoor spaces, but did you know that they can also be grown outdoors during summer?

As long as you remember to bring these tiny trees inside when the first frost occurs, you can adorn your backyard with Bonsai.

This zen variety is known to be a little challenging to grow since the small pots have minimal space for water and nutrient reserves. Equip yourself with a good Bonsai fertilizer to ensure success.

Try One of These Small Backyard Ideas Today!

We hope you’ve found this guide on small backyard ideas useful as you embark on your landscaping journey.

Whether adding an outdoor mirror, dividing the space, or just using the front yard, there are many small backyard ideas to make your tiny outdoor space seem bigger.

Looking to upgrade your outdoor spaces at home? Then find inspiration for your Minnesota backyard with our landscaping ideas, outdoor furniture suggestions, gardening recommendations, and more!