Exterior Deck, Patio & Porch

7 Ideas to Steal from Real People’s Tiny Backyards

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a sizable backyard, but here's some good news for those of us who lack square footage: Even the smallest outdoor space can be transformed into an inviting destination for entertaining and relaxing. Learn how to take advantage of every inch of your yard from those who know best—other homeowners who share your plight. Here are 7 ingenious ideas worth replicating in your own space.

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Bring the Indoors Out


Steal this trick from your always-inviting living room: Transform a pergola-covered patio into an extension of your home by incorporating rich textiles and furniture. Make the space feel more cozy than small by purchasing outdoor lounge chairs with thick cushions and topping them with large, fluffy pillows.

Related: 10 Doable Designs for DIY Outdoor Furniture

Set the Mood

flickr.com via olp_sanantonio

Lighting is just as important outdoors as it is in, so brighten up your yard with a variety of different light sources. Walkway lights are ideal because they will not only cast a warm glow throughout your backyard, but also help guests find their way back to the house. You might also consider boosting the intimate lighting with a few hanging lanterns or flameless tabletop lights.

Related: 14 Bright Ideas for Lighting Your Backyard

Give It a Contemporary Touch


Modernize your patio by using concrete pavers to define your dining area. While the pavers provide a level surface for a table, they also form a visual boundary that separates the patio from the rest of the space. To complement the contemporary vibe, opt for simple, even boxy, furniture in a subtle color scheme, then soften the look by incorporating potted plants around the perimeter and floating a set of string lights above your seating area.

Related: Buy or DIY: 10 Room Dividers to Remake Your Space

Get in the Zone


Create distinct zones by using backyard structures to designate certain areas for particular functions. Here, a pergola distinguishes a lounge space and visually separates it from the dining area. Other materials you might consider using to delineate ground space are outdoor rugs, stone slabs, wood edging, or decking tiles.

Related: 10 Ideas to Steal from Picture-Perfect Patios

Go Green


A teeny-tiny outdoor space can hold just as much lush greenery as one twice its size, if you know how to fill it out. Potted plants are the obvious choice, but you might also consider adding tall grasses—which work especially well to soften a privacy wall—or growing moss
between pavers.

Related: Living Fences: 11 Boundary-Setting Solutions

The More the Merrier


Backyards of any size lend themselves to social gatherings, so be sure to save room for entertaining. Here, a large dining table takes center stage, while a long work surface against the side of the house provides space to prepare and serve food. Set the mood for a high-energy evening outdoors by selecting brightly colored furniture and filling a vase (or mason jar) with flowers before guests arrive.

Related: 8 DIY Pick-Me-Ups for a Plain Patio

A Maze of Plants


Lay a curving pathway that meanders through the space. The winding trail will give some definition to your yard and trick the eye into believing that the area is much larger than its actual size. Now, instead of walking straight to the lounge chairs, you and your guests will be able to enjoy every detail of your backyard as you stroll past your selection of shrubs and plants.

Related: 7 Thrifty Designs for a DIY Walkway

Backyard Bliss


These ideas prove that you can still live big, even if you have a tiny yard.