26 Clever Ideas to Make Your Small Backyard Feel Bigger

When you imagine your dream home, what does the outside look like? For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind is space: space to run, space to relax, space for the kids to play, and enough left over to entertain, install a pool, plant a garden, or enjoy any of our other outdoor interests. Those dreams are great, but when most of us wake up, it’s to a yard far smaller than our ideal. That’s why it’s so good to be reminded that small is beautiful, too, as this post from WooHome recently did for us. If you’re creative and clever, even the narrowest of outdoor spaces can feel like an oasis. So we decided to round up our favorite tips, ideas, and inspiration for ways to make small backyards have big personalities. Check out what we found and see which ones YOU should try today!

  1. Stone Patio Pool
    Pool PatioBO3 HXZE 420

    Everybody’s dream backyard involves a pool, but few of us have enough room for both a pool and for just sitting and enjoying fresh air— unless we combine them! This stone version has three different depths to be a splash pool, a wading pool, and a full-depth pool . . .

  2. Wood Deck Pool
    poolAgor Engineering

    . . . while this wood one gives you several different depths all at once.

  3. Outdoor Lounge
    OutdoorLoungeforListHGTV Ultimate Outdoor Design Guide

    Small backyards are often found in cities where it can be difficult to get healthy grass growing, and the lack of lush lawn makes the tiny space even sadder. Make it better by treating your yard more as another room, making an outdoor lounge using budget-friendly products.

  4. Multifunctional Furniture
    MultifunctionalFurnitureforListHGTV

    If it works indoors, it’ll work outdoors, too! Multifunction pieces like tables with storage or adjustable seating lets you use your outdoor spaces however you like without having to fill them with accessories.

  5. Vertical Gardens
    VerticalGardenforListHGTV

    Of course we all want to grow things in our yards – it’s what they’re for, after all! – but the amount of space gardens take up can be overwhelming. Go UP instead with a vertical garden, and make your fence or privacy wall green and lush at the same time. Hint: mason jars will be a big help here.

  6. Tiered Planters
    TieredPlantersforListDecor And The Dog via Country Living

    Prefer more traditional planters? Make sure you’re still maximizing your ground space by arranging them in tiers!

  7. Minimized Dirt And Other Mess
    MinimalDirtforListHouzz

    While we’re on the subject of plants, in general, planters are better for a small yard than ground-cover soil. You still get the green, but you don’t end up with mud or other debris that can quickly take over when there’s such little space. Even more generally, embrace minimalism to keep your yard feeling spacious!

  8. Plant Particulars
    PlantsSmallYardListHGTV

    If you’re going the more traditional planting route and growing things directly in the ground, be particular about the plants you choose. Lean more toward dwarf plants, conifers, and other plants and shrubs that are smaller and less prone to spreading out and taking over your yard.

  9. Murphy Bar
    MurphyBarForListeHow

    Want to entertain but don’t have the space for a full outdoor bar? Make a Murphy bar! This DIY foldable bar is fun to build and to have, and the perfect size for mixing summertime cocktails.

  10. Murphy Picnic Table
    MurphyPicnicTableForListSortra

    Don’t stop with the bar! A foldable Murphy-style picnic table gives you the option of huge outdoor suppers without having to commit to a permanent table taking up valuable space.

  11. Faux Grass Rug
    FauxGrassRugforListLiz Marie Blog via Country Living

    Not enough green in your yard or space to grow it? Fake it! A faux grass rug will make your patio seem bigger, and add some life to brick or concrete.

  12. Reflected Green
    MirrorsOutdoorForListThe Brambleberry Cottage via Country Living

    If hanging mirrors in small rooms makes them feel bigger, why wouldn’t we try it outside?! Hang some vintage or older mirrors to make the green grass and blue skies feel like they’re going on forever.

  13. Tiny Garden Shed
    TinyGardenShedForListA Cultivated Nest via Country Living

    You don’t need acres of land or a huge garden to justify a gardening shed. A tiny one adds whimsy and decoration to your small yard, and keeps your gardening tools organized!

  14. Triangle Shed
    TriangleShedforListHome Decor Ideas

    Another way to get that shed without sacrificing too much space? Turn it on an angle!

  15. Mini Water Feature
    MiniWaterFeatureThe Garden Glove via Country Living

    Just like with that gardening shed, don’t let a lack of space kill your landscaping dreams of a water fountain. This water feature is the perfect size for a small space AND you can make it yourself for around just $30!

  16. Decorative Focal Points
    FocalPointforListHouzz

    So what’s the POINT of a water feature, you may ask? It creates a focal point! When people are noticing the conversation piece in your yard, they’re not noticing the lack of space. Even better, a focal point draws the eye and pushes the surround walls out of focus, helping to make a space FEEL bigger, too. Use a fountain, art, or a very large potted plant.

  17. Forced Perspective
    PergolaPerspectiveGardenforListHGTV

    Another thing a focal point can do? Create perspective! You might remember the concept from art class, but in general, we’re talking here about how parallel lines seem to converge in the distance at a vanishing point, and the basic fact that faraway objects look smaller. Use both concepts to your advantage to create the illusion of space, like with a pergola and some strategically-placed potted plants. This method’s a good excuse to let your maximalist gardening tendencies run wild!

  18. Diagonal Paths and Planting
    DiaganolPathforListHGTV

    Another way to trick the eye is to plant and plan paths along a diagonal or a zigzag, which makes a space feel bigger than it is because you travel along a longer path. Want a prime example? Then check out . . .

  19. Triangular Planting Pockets
    TrianglePlantingProjectsForListBotanical Decorators via WooHome

    . . . this design, which is all about triangles. Just because most small backyards are rectangles, you don’t have to keep it that way! Try turning everything 45 degrees, as the designers of this backyard did, to create “triangle planting pockets” for lush greenery and an interesting patio design.

  20. Framed View
    FramedViewforListBob Vila

    Don’t want guests to notice how small your yard is? Make them look somewhere else by literally framing a view! Pergolas, arbors, and even swings are perfect for this task.

  21. Snap-Together Deck
    SnapTogetherDeckTilesforListApartment Therapy via Country Living

    Planning a deck or a patio in a small space can be intimidating. What if it doesn’t turn out like you imagined? What if you overshoot and make it so big it swallows the yard? What if if doesn’t fit? Alleviate all those concerns and make building it a cinch with these deck tiles that snap together, don’t require any special tools, and can be reuseed and rearranged until you find the right shape and size for your small backyard.

  22. Colorful Accents
    MonochromeGardenForListStyle At Home via WooHome

    Tall walls and fences are a great way of creating privacy in a small yard, but they can also make us feel claustrophobic. Draw the eye and keep things streamlined by using monochrome accents, like this design in a Toronto home.

  23. Partially-Walled
    PartiallyWalledForListMark Tessier via WooHome

    Small backyards are most common in areas where houses are close together and property lines bleed together. Delineate your space and create some privacy without feeling closed in by putting up some tall, lovely partial walls that’ll actually make you feel like you have more space— and give you vertical areas to decorate!

  24. Completely-Planned
    PlannedYardforListBob Vila

    You’ll have noticed by now that most of the ideas on this list involve yards that are meticulously planned. That’s for a reason! A yard feels more spacious when it’s organized instead of left to run wild. Counter-intuitive, but true!

  25. Postage Stamp Design
    PostageStampBackyardforListCarson Arthur via WooHome

    This “postage stamp” design not only makes the most of a small space by creating mini-areas surrounded by lush foliage, but creates a yard that can easily adapt as a family grows up and grows bigger.

  26. Multilevel Design
    SmallBackyardsHeaderInListTrulia via WooHome

    A city backyard feels like an island oasis when you use different levels to create distinct areas and an interesting, dynamic landscape.

So many good ideas and things to consider! A lot of these tips would be helpful even to those lucky homeowners with large yards, too. For more information and even more tricks, check out the post on WooHome and these guides from Country Living, Houzz and HGTV. Do YOU have a small yard? How do you make yours work for your family?