13 Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas You Need to Try

small backyard arrangement

If you are one of the people who love gardening, not having enough space can become a real challenge. But just as some people can make their own garden on a small balcony, you can do it with a small backyard as well. There are even special designers that know how to make use of the smallest space. Today we are going to have a look at the main principles behind this type of landscape. After that, we will show you some small backyard landscaping ideas.

Tips for Designing a Small Backyard

1. Have Various Focal Points

The major problem with a small space design is the fact that you have no grand views. You can’t create a grand focal point either, which means it won’t look too attractive. The solution? Create many smaller focal points in these spaces. A pathway can be a strong focal point that attracts people’s view instantly. Dividing the garden will create the illusion of more space. And you can combine it with various things hidden throughout the garden: statues, tall plants, fountains etc. Remember not to crowd them randomly!

Pathway design in backyard
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2. Think in Inches

If with a bigger garden you can afford the luxury of overlooking certain spaces, in a smaller one you have to consider every inch. People would notice each omission and every wrong detail about it, so be careful. Before starting to design and to plant, you should have a very precise layout of the entire space. Make a detailed plan beforehand, whether you work alone or with a specialist. You should also check out the concept of square foot gardening.

3. Use High-Quality Materials

You can take advantage of the variety of materials that are available on the market nowadays. Find exotic stones and innovative ceramics that can make your garden unique. The fact that you have a small garden means that you can pay less for some high-quality materials, even if they are a little bit expensive.

4. Make the Space Functional

Just as we said, you can’t afford to waste not one inch of your space. Because of this, make sure you set a purpose for the garden. If you’re into outdoor dining, choose a large dining table for your space. If you intend to relax there, include a fire pit or a relaxation area. Depending on the space that is available, choose one main purpose or focus on various areas around.

Backyard greenery and chairs
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5. Vertical Landscaping

Another useful key concept when it comes to small backyard landscape ideas is vertical landscaping. There are lots of vertical garden DIY ideas out there, so you just have to choose the right one for you. Use various plants for this purpose so that the eye doesn’t get bored. You can have some suspended pots, so use plant hooks and hangers.

6. Get Colorful

A small backyard makes it easier to take advantage of a splash of color. Go for a bold color, which you can use to liven up the area. Use cushions or throw pillows for your seating sets. Alternatively, choose to plant flowers that have a strong color when they bloom. However, it’s important to stick to one color scheme, otherwise, the design will be quite tiring for your eyes.

Now that you’ve seen what are the basic rules when arranging a small space, let’s have a look at some small backyard landscaping ideas.

Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas to Inspire You

1. Oversized Pots

Using oversized pots is a great idea for a small backyard landscape, even it may not seem so. Grow your plants in these pots and create a lush lineup. If you need, you can also use a line of pots to create a privacy wall or simply one that splits up various areas of the garden. Opt for terra cotta if you want a more sophisticated look or plastic for a common one.

Backyard flowers selection
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2. Mix Various Herbs

Use an old table to group together various herbs. Not only they will be useful for cooking, but they will also look good in your garden. If you’re going for a more fancy and old aspect, you can use a metal tub to plant colorful flowers or random herbs.

3. Install a Birdbath

…but not for the birds. You can also keep it for the birds, but it’s better to fill it up with hardy succulents. They store water in the stems and leaves, which is why a shallow birdbath is good for them. Use pebbles to keep moisture in the soil for a longer time. Moreover, you will also create a desert landscape.

4. Go for Climbers

One of the best small backyard landscaping ideas is to use climbers. Just as we explained in the concepts part of the article, vertical placing is useful. A bougainvillea is a great option, and you don’t even need to use a complicated trellis (just choose a simple DIY garden trellis one). However, there are lots of other plants that offer vertical vines as well.

5. Play with the Textures

It’s important to create a contrast and an aesthetic vibrancy in your small garden. To this purpose, place some curved containers on your stairs. Plant things that have various shapes, for instance, agave and geranium next to each other. Vertical foliage can also be combined with another one that spills over the sides. In this way, you will have a nice texture play in your garden.

Evening lights in backyard
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6. Go for Pocket Plants

When you think of small backyard landscaping ideas, you can’t overlook pocket plants. Use an old canvas or a typical show organizer that can be hung on a wall or fence. Place dirt in each of the compartments and place your plants there. Go for ferns or vines for a special effect. You can even use your creativity and plant herbs, but the visual aspect may not be just as satisfying.

7. Use Shutters

Also from the going vertical concept, you can also use shutters for plants. Take a pair of old louvers, whether they’re old or new, and place them on an exterior wall. Place your plants in the slots. Succulents or mosses are great for this since they can spill over and create a nice effect. If you’re going for succulents, keep in mind that direct sunlight is not good for them. As such, it’s better to place them on the shady side.

8. Take Advantage of Pallets

The most flexible one of the small backyard landscaping ideas is to use a pallet. Place it vertically and attach clay pots to it. You can attach the pots with some nails and stainless-steel cables to secure them into place. However, try not to place them too close together, since this may suffocate the plants. Leave enough space for them to grow.

9. Go for Mini Things

Looking for some stylish small backyard landscaping ideas? How about a terrarium? It looks really high-end, but it’s really easy to make, in fact. You can include almost any plant, but the most popular ones are mosses, ferns, Peperomia or African violets. Here you have a short tutorial to help you out:

10. Curved Ivy Fence

The logic behind this idea is particularly interesting. By curving an ivy fence, you will hide a part of the garden. This will trick the eye and make it think that the space is larger than it actually is. The reason for this is that you can never see all the garden from one place.

11. Raised Beds

DIY raised garden beds are a great solution for planting in a small garden. Especially if you have poor soil (or none at all), you can use beds you made for planting flowers or herbs. You can raise them as much as you want, which will create a special effect in your backyard landscape. Moreover, it will be useful since you won’t bend as much when you tend to the plants.

Aerial view of a backyard design
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12. Plant Trees

It may seem one of the worst small backyard landscaping ideas, but in fact, it’s really useful. Choose a dwarf tree and plant it in a huge pot. Usually, they don’t grow more than 5-10 feet tall, which is perfect for your space. However, if you plan to move or repot it, make sure it resists the conditions.

13. Use Trays and Tables

There’s no reason to throw away old furniture items when you have a garden to decorate. Repurpose a metal table that was meant to serve drinks, for instance, old pots or even metal tubs. You will obtain a classy vintage style that can contrast nicely with your terra cotta pots, for example.


Now that you’ve seen some interesting small backyard landscaping ideas and concepts, it’s easy to put them into practice. Remember to be resourceful and reuse what you have lying around the house, such as old furniture, pots or tubs. An eclectic style may look better than you think. Moreover, use the space to the maximum and don’t forget any inch of it. Lastly, include some color in your design for an exquisite final result.

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