Lawn & Garden Outdoor Living

20 Tiny Backyards We Love

From woodland wonderlands to no-mow lawns, these 20 small backyard ideas showcase the countless fun and functional possibilities that lie on your home turf—no matter its size.

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Mulch Matters

Zillow Digs home on Bainbridge Island, WA

While concrete pavers are often used to visually separate outdoor zones, all-natural alternatives can achieve the same look. Here, pea gravel forms a striking walkway to the patio, while a carpet of mulch provides the perfect foundation for a lounge area.

Related: The Invincible Yard: 12 Ideas for Lazy Landscaping

Split Personality

Zillow Digs home in San Diego, CA

Reimagine spare square footage by transforming one undefined space into two distinct zones. Decked out in furniture and wall sconces, this deck and patio acts as a luxury lounge or sunbathing station by day, and by night, it seamlessly transitions into a wining and dining nook.

Related: 7 Remedies to Rescue a Dying Lawn

Pool Your Resources

Zillow Digs home in Key West, FL

Has your answer to the kids’ request for a pool always been “No,” because of a thumbprint-sized backyard? Open your mind and yard to a new alternative. This petite pool, tucked in a corner beneath a lush canopy of trees, transforms a yawn-inducing yard into a tropical paradise.

Related: 7 Ideas to Steal from Real People’s Tiny Backyards

Corner Case

Zillow Digs home in Laguna Niguel, CA

With the clever placement of garden accents, even characterless corners of the backyard can offer style without subtracting additional space. Take a cue from this small backyard idea, and reserve forgotten corners for potted plants or a casual dining area sheltered by a trellis to efficiently and economically put small spaces to work.

Related: 9 Lessons Learned from Tiny Backyards

No Mow Yard Work

The grass always seems greener on the neighbor’s side of the fence, unless you’re the owner of this no-grass, no-mow backyard and entertainment arena complete with a fire pit. The elegant enclosure happily trades the traditional lawn for gravel bounded by a modern black fence.

Related: 11 Low-Cost Buys to Boost a Boring Backyard

Take the High Ground

All hands—and eyes—will be on deck when you install this raised deck in your backyard. The elevation not only creates striking visual distinction from its surrounding green space, but the ample room below it offers the perfect sanctuary for homegrown plants to flourish.

8 Ways to Make Your Small Yard Look Bigger

Snug Sanctuary

Your yard is never too small to fit the comforts of home. Petite though this patio may be, it still boasts a regal and restful atmosphere thanks to the placement of space-minimizing raised garden beds and au-natural wooden chairs topped with plush cushions.

Related: 8 Ways to Upgrade Your Backyard with Pavers

Off the Beaten Path

Installing a stone pathway along the home perimeter is a low-maintenance way to cut through the visual monotony of grass and create a cottage-style back entryway. Lined with sparse vegetation and bounded by a well-kept lawn, this pretty pathway steals the spotlight in this charming backyard.

Related: 7 Thrifty Designs for a DIY Walkway

Good-Natured Neighbors

To add pattern and color to a styleless outdoor space, opt for nature’s paintbrush: plants. This rainbow-colored small backyard idea employs a menagerie of flora, from potted plants to climbing vines, whose playful appeal is only boosted by a winning walkway of circular pavers.

Related: 14 Totally Free Ways to Grow a Garden from Scratch

Open-Air Oasis

If your dream destination is a quiet, contemplative, sun-filled sanctuary, look no further than the yard. Accented from top to bottom in wood and pavers, and then lined with cooling greenery and sparse furniture, a blah backyard morphs into a chic courtyard before your eyes.

Related: 11 Ideas for Better Backyard Privacy

Color Theory

Even the lushest yard needs a splash of color, otherwise a home’s best features can disappear into a visual morass of green. Here, color was achieved by the strategic placement of red pillows on outdoor furniture, and clusters of brightly-colored blooms that command attention.

Related: 9 Insanely Easy 1-Hour Backyard Projects

Screen Talent

It doesn’t take much to maintain this secluded sanctuary. Attractive gravel and pavers mean there’s no need to mow or weed, while colorful pots of plants add vibrancy to the space without sacrificing square footage. The combination of a patterned privacy screen and wooden slat fence keeps out unwanted eyes, while providing an elegant backdrop for long summer nights.

Related: 9 Double-Duty Favorites for Tiny Outdoor Spaces

Make a Splash

An outdoor tub nestled in an underutilized corner of a small backyard provides a sunny spot for relaxation. Wreathed in a semi-circle of stone pavers and vibrant greenery, the backyard wash station provides the a sense of woodsy privacy.

Related: 7 Smart Ways to Save Water in the Yard

Go On a Limb

Creating a sense of privacy in the backyard can be as simple as covering a bare pergola with climbing vines. Even better? Hanging a hammock from the pergola makes this structure pull double duty in a tight space.

Related: 9 DIY Ideas for a Summery Backyard

Fountain of Youth

Good for more than reviving an aging bathroom or kitchen backsplash, tile can also breathe life into a narrow outdoor space. Here, blue and white tile lines a rustic fountain, bringing a sense of tranquility to a yard crowded with ferns and palms.

Related: 10 Inventive Designs for a DIY Garden Fountain

Think Big

You can steal the look and feel of a big backyard without altering its dimensions by installing a raised deck outfitted with lengthy wooden planks. Here, horizontal planks create the illusion of wider space, while clusters of container plants provide scenery that can be quickly transplanted to a different corner in order to make room for big crowds.

Related: The 10 Biggest Outdoor Living Trends Set to Dominate 2016

New Heights

The visual variety in this verdant landscaping scheme can match that of any local botanical garden thanks to the selection of both tall and short plants, from bright blooms to hardy cacti. Carefully selected perennials ensure that the neighbors will be green with envy over this garden for years to come.

Related: 11 Age-Old Gardening Tips to Ignore Completely

Light Work

While eclectic furniture and decor can delineate distinct zones in a small backyard, a smart selection of lighting can unify the space. Here, string lights are employed as an end-to-end outdoor lighting scheme to make the different outdoor “rooms” look and feel like they belong under one roof.

Related: 19 “Zero Dollar” Upgrades for Your Outdoor Living Area

Ordered Chaos

Zillow Digs home in Wenatchee, WA

There’s a fine line between lush greenery and obstructive overgrowth, and this yard strikes the perfect balance. The homeowner designated a corridor of well-manicured grass as the centerline, around which the neat rows shrubbery are arranged. Set above the neat landscaping, a jungle of colorful plants turns the tiny yard into a private paradise.

Related: 7 Ideas to Steal from Real People’s Tiny Backyards

Living on the Hedge

Zillow Digs home in San Francisco, CA

Here’s a small backyard idea that’s as charming as it is practical. Strategically planted hedgerows provide an effective escort to guests who may otherwise stumble off the path. The versatile plant even allows you to create a secluded lounge or dining area just steps from the walkway—but away from its hustle and bustle.

Related: Refresh Your Home with 8 Easy Outdoor Paint Projects

Embrace Your Space

Make the most out of the space that you have!