Small Backyard Design Ideas


Small backyards can be just as attractive as large lawns if you apply a few appropriate design concepts. Multi-level structures, water features and strategically planted shrubs or vines will all help give your small backyard the illusion of space.

Multiple Levels

  • Incorporating a variety of levels in a small backyard provides multiple visual dimensions, which make the backyard appear larger. Multiple levels also give you two platforms of outdoor living space. You can construct a multi-level section in your backyard by building up the soil in one place and implementing a retaining wall around it.


  • Building a deck is another way to add multi-level platforms to a small backyard. Decks also provide a solid, flat surface for housing patio furniture. You have a couple of options for adding a deck to your backyard; you can create a platform deck in any section of your yard, or you can construct the deck as an extension of your home. If you build the deck high enough, you can create a multi-level deck and attach a lower level.

Water Features

  • Water features can break up a small backyard and give the illusion of space. Adding a water fountain to the back portion of the lawn draws your eye to the deepest portion of the yard, which can make it appear larger. Water elements also create a sense of tranquility, allowing you and your guests to relax in the backyard no matter how small it is.


  • Hide fences and walls with plants to help make the lawn depth appear indefinite. Thick foliage such as bushes and short trees form a natural fence line around your yard. Vines are an expedient choice for hiding backyard enclosures because they attach to the walls and expand as they grow. Choose vines that grow a lot of leaves so you cannot see any of the fencing through the vines. Encircling a small lawn enclosure with leaves will make you feel as if you are relaxing in a large, lush garden.

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  • Photo Credit vine leaves image by Artyom Yefimov from
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