Getting Creative with a Small Backyard: What to Consider

A small but well-used backyard
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Having a comfortable outdoor space is essential for homeowners. According to the National Association of Home Builders, nearly 90% of homeowners say they would like an outdoor living space. Spending time outdoors has been linked with better physical and mental health. Outdoor living spaces can provide a place to relax, entertain guests, or breathe fresh air.

Unfortunately, you might only have limited space to work with for your backyard. Most modern homes are expensive, and developers are building smaller lots to accommodate this. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average size of a new home in America is now around 2,600 square feet, down from nearly 2,700 square feet in 2007. This means that many homeowners have to make better use of their space.

A smaller backyard can be frustrating if you have big plans for your outdoor living space. But don’t despair – there are still plenty of ways to make the most of a small backyard. You have to get creative, especially in these elements.

Develop a Foundation

The plan will always be the starting point for an excellent backyard design, regardless of size. You need to consider how you want to use your backyard and what features you would like to include. If you’re hoping to entertain guests, you might want to consider adding a patio or deck area. If you’d like a space for gardening, make sure you leave enough room for raised beds or containers.

Try to gather all the amenities you’d want to install in your backyard. Some might have the flexibility to perform multiple purposes for homeowners. For example, the garden can be a hosting area for guests and a playtime spot for kids. The same goes for the patio or wooden deck.

You can start sketching out a plan when you have a clearer vision of how you want your backyard to function. You don’t need to be a master artist – a simple bird’s eye view will do. Once you have your foundation, you can start thinking about what materials and features you want to include in your design.

Consider Vertical Elements

If the backyard size is insufficient, you can start considering the height. Adding vertical elements is one way to make a small backyard feel bigger. This will also give you more space to work with when planning your design.

One way to add verticality is by installing planters or raised garden beds. This will create more depth and dimension in the backyard while freeing up ground space. You can also use hanging baskets, which are perfect for plants that don’t need a lot of root space, such as ferns, ivy, and impatiens. Another way to add verticality is by trellising, which is growing climbing plants up a frame. This can turn an empty wall into a living canvas of greenery.

Verticality also works for outdoor amenities. You can have a retractable deck, which is perfect for small backyards. This will give you more space to work with and make your backyard feel bigger.

Customize Amenities

A pool properly fitted for small backyard

Amenities like swimming pools and hot tubs are welcome additions to the backyard, but they can take up a lot of space. If you have a small backyard, you might consider customizing your amenities to fit your space.

One way to do this is by installing a plunge pool. Plunge pools are small, shallow pools perfect for cooling off hot days. They don’t take up as much space as a traditional pool and can be customized to fit any backyard size. Another option is an inflatable hot tub, which can be easily stored when not in use.

If you want to install a full-sized amenity, like a swimming pool or hot tub, you can always consider building it into the deck. This will save space, and it will also give you more design options. If you plan on installing a weirdly-shaped swimming area, you can contact custom outdoor pool builders to get a quote.


Lighting is essential in any backyard design, but it’s especially crucial in small backyards. The proper lighting can make a small space feel more extensive and create a warm and inviting atmosphere.

There are many ways to light up a backyard, but string lights are the most popular option. String lights are easy to install, and they’re very versatile. You can use them to accentuate certain features, or you can use them to light up the entire backyard. Another option is solar-powered lights, which are perfect for eco-friendly homeowners. Solar lights are easy to install and don’t require an external power source.

Final Thoughts

Even if you have a small backyard, there are still plenty of ways to get creative with your design. With a little bit of planning and some out-of-the-box thinking, you can transform your small space into a stylish and functional oasis. Consider vertical elements, customize your amenities, and don’t forget to add some lighting to make your backyard shine.

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