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Small backyard with landscaping, fire pit and outdoor seating.
Outdoor Living

Big Landscaping Ideas for Small Backyards

By 2 minute read

Last updated on July 25th, 2019

Outdoor living areas are growing in popularity, but you don’t need a large backyard to create an inviting space. A small yard can be equally as enjoyable, plus it is easier to mow and maintain, less expensive to fence, and more intimate. Focus on the space you do have and apply some of the below landscaping ideas for small backyards.

Keep it simple

It is always best to keep your backyard organized and free of clutter. Not only does it make your space feel bigger, it helps the eye from feeling overwhelmed. Make a habit of putting all lawn equipment away and purchase an outdoor storage bin for kids’ toys and other small items.

Maintain your yard

Remember, everything in a small backyard is easier to see and therefore it is important to keep the lawn well-manicured with regular cuttings. You’ll want to keep weeds under control and properly care for your plants to keep them looking their best.

Create a focal feature

A focal feature helps distract from the size of your space by drawing attention to an interesting area of your yard. Colorful plants can be used to create your focal point, or you can opt for a more functional feature. Some favorites include:

Fire pit

As the weather becomes a little cooler, a fire pit keeps the outdoor fun going and provides a great area for conversation. There are many options when it comes to selecting the perfect fire pit for your yard, from DIY versions to ready-made wood burning, propane, gel fuel, and natural gas pits. Custom fire pits with built-in seating are another option that brings function and style to your backyard.


In addition to adding beauty to your backyard, a pond provides a place of sanctuary where you can go to relax and recharge. It is also a fun project to build yourself. This Old House shares some great tips for planning and building a pond that will bring you years of joy.

Water fountain

A water fountain adds movement, sound, and texture to your backyard, creating a more enjoyable natural environment. It also improves air quality by acting as a humidifier. If you enjoy bird watching, you’ll love the fact that water fountains attract a wide variety of bird species.

Go vertical

Vertical planting is a great way to increase the scale of your space, while making your backyard more private. All you need to get started is a blank wall or a bare fence. From there, you can hang planters at different levels to cover all or a portion of the area. Keep in mind that plants in containers require more water and a little more maintenance than typical plantings, but with proper care and some basic vertical garden tips, you can have a lush wall of greenery in no time.

Add a lap pool

If you have a narrow lot, a lap pool is an ideal solution. Not only does it maximize the square footage of your space, it provides a great way to stay in shape. It can be built in the sun or shade and can be turned horizontally or vertically to fit tight spaces. Lighting your lap pool at night highlights its beauty and magically turns your small backyard into an oasis.

Even though your backyard may be limited in space, there are unlimited ways to make it cozy, inviting, and unique. In addition to the above tips, a tour around Pinterest is sure to get your creative juices flowing and inspire additional landscaping ideas for small backyards.

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Toll Brothers Content Team

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