20 great ideas for small backyard

20 great ideas for small backyard

When it comes to our backyards, I think we all want to feel like we’re always on vacation, especially in the summer. From cozy places to enjoy afternoons on weekends to the perfect spot for happy hours at sunset, a backyard retreat that feels like traveling shouldn’t be considered out of reach, no matter how big (or small) the space you have. However, small backyard ideas require a little more creativity, and you may need to think outside the box to fit whatever your heart desires into your space. To help you get started on your journey to backyard bliss, we’ve curated 20 of the most creative, creative, and inspiring small backyard ideas from professional designers, bloggers, and style experts. Get ready to make this summer really enjoy your little outdoor space.

Bring your entertainment outside

Design/Photography by Whitney Lee Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage

The summer months are practically begging to stream under the stars, but fear not, you don’t need to make some kind of elaborate preparation before inviting friends over for a movie night. Case in point: this cozy backyard scene from Whitney Leigh Morris of The Tiny Canal Cottage. She made the most of her small backyard with a comfy sofa, ambient lighting, and a cozy but casual TV “screen” made from a computer monitor placed atop an outdoor table. In your small backyard, consider borrowing this idea or using a white bed sheet and a projector to create an outdoor theater at home.

Build in dining seat

Design/Photography by Laura Sima of Sima Spaces

If your family is the type that eats every meal outside once the warm weather arrives, you’ll need a sturdy, spacious place to do so. the problem? When it comes to a small backyard, every inch should do double (or even triple) duty. To make the most of your dining nook for dinner — and make it functional the rest of the time — consider adding a built-in bench like Laura Sima did (see her DIY here). The table can be moved away when not in use – replace it with a small wood-burning fire pit – while a bench provides additional seating and a natural screen to the patio.

Draw a patterned courtyard

Styling/Photography by Jenna LeBlanc of Jenna Sue Designs

The stylish design is always a welcome addition to backyards large and small. There aren’t many opportunities to add a personal touch to your personal style outdoors, so it’s important to take advantage of them where you can. Take this stunning backyard from Jenna Sue Designs as an example. Homeowner Jenna LeBlanc painted this medallion pattern on her stone patio for a big upgrade that also saved big money.

Add the comforts of home

Design/Photography by Sarah Tovali of Black & Blooms

One surefire way to make life outside as comfortable as life inside? Incorporate some creature comforts. Designing your patio space with decor reminiscent of your home decor style—like Sara Toufali of Black & Blooms did in this charming and cozy space—is a great way to ensure your backyard feels layered and dynamic. There are many great places online to purchase stylish and durable patio furniture. Plus, with so many brands now creating adorable blankets, rugs, and accessories from outdoor-friendly materials, you’ll be able to find stylish decor that can stand up to the elements. For added ambiance, install some outdoor solar lights.

Create a place to comment

Styling/Photography by Amanda Walker of Dwell Aware

Even the most simple yard corner can become extraordinary with the right additions. Take, for example, this gorgeous reading chair from DIY designer and influencer Amanda Walker. She made the most of an unused corner of her patio by hanging a rattan egg chair (and painting the ceiling a statement black shade!). With the addition of some pillows and a cozy blanket, this forgotten spot is now a reading area that the whole family can enjoy.

Shed conversion

Design/Photography by Amanda Nadeau of The Ever Hopeful Gardener

Many rely on a shed to house unsightly necessities like gardening tools, lawnmowers, and extra outdoor furniture, but what if it could be something more? Amanda Nadeau, of Ever Hopeful Gardener, thought so, choosing to build a charming shed next to her garden, where she and her daughter could hang out. Complete with comfortable seating, cushions and ample shade, it’s a great alternative to a traditional patio space, especially if your garden gets full sun. Store gardening tools elsewhere, such as under a raised garden bed. Also, store your garden hose neatly in a space-saving vertical hanger hose reel instead.

Replace your grill with a pizza oven

Design/Photography by Claire Wainwright of The Green Eyed Girl

If your cooking style veers more from the kitchen than a steakhouse, don’t feel beholden to deploying a grill in your backyard. Instead, make like Clair Wainwright from Green Eyed Girl and let your wood-fired pizza oven take center stage instead. Part entertaining, part outdoor kitchen, it’s a piece worth every square foot—even in a small backyard.

A party-ready bar launch

Design/Photography by Alicia Lund

Make sure your small backyard space is ready for fun at a moment’s notice by rolling out a bar cart filled with all kinds of entertaining essentials. Influencer Alicia Lund did just that, outfitting her with all the necessary accoutrements for an epic cocktail bar. Not your vibe? Decorate it with essentials meant to make outdoor life more enjoyable, like light blankets, bug spray, water bottles, and more.

Stick to a color palette

Design/Photography by Hayley Stewart

When working in a small space—and surrounded by the beauty of nature—sometimes simple decor is essential. Take this neutral-but-better patio designed by DIY blogger Hayley Stuart, for example. She married terracotta and white flooring with accents of emerald green and rich doses of leather and wood for the ultimate escape that blends in with and stands out from its surroundings.

Add stock tank pool

Styling/Photography by Bri Moysa of Emerson Gray Designs

Want all the benefits of relaxing poolside, without the hefty price tag? Look no further than the stock tank trough – yes, we mean those oversized galvanized bowls commonly used for livestock to drink from. Smaller backyards could be the answer Surprisingly Chic, as Bri Moysa of Emerson Gray Designs proves here. She painted her pool a rich black and surrounded it with a custom “pool deck” that makes the entire setup look like a miniature version of some of the hotel’s chic pools.

Create some subtle privacy

Design/Photography by Rachel Hoback of Sprucing Up Mamahood

If you live up close and personal with your neighbors, you may feel like your out-of-reach dream area is just a dream. The good news: privacy is completely Possibility, and it can be elegant too. For her deck, blogger Rachel Hoback of Sprucing Up Mamahood made a cedar wall, half-wall, and pergola to help isolate her family’s chill zone from the rest of the neighborhood. The result is a space that feels private and intimate, but the design doesn’t block out too much sunlight or a gentle summer breeze.

Hang luxurious fixtures

Design/Photography by Brit Arnesen of Brit Dot Design

There’s something about having a traditional lighting fixture in your backyard that feels like an instant upgrade — it’s fun, a little whimsical, and will help light up the night. Next time you feel like your porch is missing a little something, try on a pendant light for size. We love the way it complements Brit Arnesen’s space. The DIY blogger behind Brit Dot Design chose a summer-ready rattan style to complement her simple but stunning outdoor living room, which also hosts a coffee table she designed and made herself. When choosing a light fixture, look for one designed for outdoor use, or place it in a location protected from rain and wind.

Install swing

Design/Photography by Brittany Goldwyn Mirth

A small backyard doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice places to play, you just have to be creative about where you sneak it. Take a page out of blogger Brittany Goldwyn Merth’s book and place a hammock under your deck so that the patio below doubles in size. stadium.

Fake outdoor kitchen

Design/Photography by Jennifer O’Brien of City Farmhouse

A completed outdoor kitchen may seem like the ultimate luxury — but the truth of the matter is that many of us don’t boast the outdoor space needed to pull it off. Instead, why not fake out the look with strategic preparation, like Jennifer O’Brien did in her backyard? The blogger behind City Farmhouse placed sturdy shelving near her grill, giving the illusion of a built-in setup and providing whoever is on grilling duty that evening ample space to prepare, store, and serve the night’s delicacies.

Skip the awning (and keep getting shade!)

Styling/Photography by Kelly and Jeff Mindel of Studio DIY

When it comes to life in the sun, California-based design influencer Kelly Mindel of Studio DIY knows a thing or two. When it came time to transform her family’s small backyard, she chose to skip the awning—which can take up a lot of floor space and only cover a small portion of the yard—and instead decided to make a solar pergola herself. The result is a refreshing “roof” that protects from the afternoon heat, while leaving the floor open for entertaining.

Add a mirror

Photography by Sophie Elkos by Sophie Allegra

By now, you’ve probably heard the design trick that a mirror can make a small room look bigger and brighter, right? Well, the same goes for small outdoor spaces. Mirrors may be an unexpected addition to your backyard, but they can definitely do wonders in making your space more airy and open. Hang one on your fence near a small table, or lean it against an outdoor wall, like influencer Sophie Elkos spotted in Tulum. Look for mirrors designed for outdoor use, or place one under an overhang away from the rain.

Build the garden of your dreams

Getty Images/Flux Factory

If gardening is your favorite way to spend time outdoors, let your backyard reflect that. Fill your backyard with a plot of land that can be accessed from multiple angles so you can easily take care of your plants and crops. Adding a curved walkway through the space will increase the glam factor. Bonus points if you throw in an attractive garden bench.

Division of space

John Cable

A backyard with multiple different sections for different purposes may seem like a luxury that can only be achieved with sprawling grounds. However, the same method of dividing the space into separate “rooms” can be effective in smaller squares as well. Even if you only have room for two separate sections, try dedicating one side to dining and another side to relaxing or playing games. This will add more excitement to the yard and allow more people to spend time in the space at one time, without feeling like everyone is on top of each other.

Add a multi-purpose greenhouse

Getty Images/Ross Helen

Greenhouses aren’t just for growing things. These structures can also double as an additional hangout spot in your backyard, giving you more possibilities to spend time in your garden even when the weather isn’t exactly perfect. Add a table, chairs and some mood lighting for a romantic dinner spot, or outfit your outdoor room with a comfortable bench to create the perfect reading nook. (Greenhouse styles also make a great sunroom when you don’t have room for a full patio.) And of course, you can throw in some plants to spruce up the space.

Play with lighting

Getty Images/Roslanshramko

Lighting can dramatically transform any space – indoor and outdoor. Therefore, do not skip this step when designing your backyard. String lights are a tried-and-true option for adding magic (and of course light) and lanterns can heighten the whimsical element even further.

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