20 Small Backyard Ideas That Pack a Lot of Punch

It's not the size that counts.

small backyard fire pit
Bon Traveler

Not all of us can have a sweeping rose garden or Olympic-sized swimming pool in our own backyard—but a small backyard is a still a backyard (and even rooftop terraces and modest balconies count in our book). Indeed, you don't need acres on acres to create a charming space conducive to al fresco entertaining, gardening, romance, and pensive solo hangs in the great outdoors. We gathered a plethora of beautiful and small backyards to prove it. So keep reading for small backyard decorating and landscape design ideas that'll help you get the most out of yours.

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fire pit in small backyard
Alexander DB
Embrace the Coziness

The best part about a tiny backyard is that its inherently cozy. One well-designed sitting area is all you need for a dream backyard situation. Get inspired by this fire pit area in a property designed by Alexander DB.

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small garden ideas
Studio Ashby
Make It Multi-Purpose

If you can't fit a separate garden, greenhouse, and dining space into your outdoor area, design your backyard in a way that makes all of them possible in one contained spot. Take notes from this patio designed by Studio Ashby. This terrace is a dining space, a romantic hang out spot (hello, swing chair), and a garden all at once.

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simple small backyard landscaping ideas
2LG Studio
Break Things Up With Levels

A multi-level landscape design can create the illusion of a larger backyard. It breaks things up visually and allows you to designate each level to a different purpose. In this 2LG studio-designed yard, the bottom level is a dining patio with eye-catching sculptures, while the shrubbery helps transition to the upper yard.

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deck designs with hot tub
Regan Baker Design
Compromise, Compromise, Compromise

So you would love a swimming pool, but there's not enough room... You'd love a big green garden, but simply don't have the space... A well-designed deck and tasteful freestanding hot tub can be just as covetable, as proven by this outdoor area by Regan Baker Design.

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small balcony decorating ideas
Fantastic Frank
Be Resourceful and Get Scrappy

When your backyard is actually a small balcony, you'll need to get crafty. Turn it into a small garden with plenty of plants, but leave space for a coffee table (or bistro table if that won't fit) and a small settee or stool with throws to warm things up.

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small backyard furniture
PHOTO: Tom Ferguson; DESIGN: Arent & Pyke
Don't Overdo It

In this backyard designed by Arent & Pyke, a sleek garden bench under the trees is enough to complete the look. If you have a nice shady spot, simply pull up a bench, add a colorful throw pillow, and call it a day.

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small backyard decorating ideas
Bon Traveler
Hang String Lights

It doesn't take much to make a backyard feel magical, no matter the size. Even a small city patio can transport you elsewhere if you hang romantic string lights. Rustic wooden furniture becomes cozy when surrounding a fire pit and layered with pillows and sheepskin throws.

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small backyard fountain ideas
Amber Interiors
Build a Small Fountain

Consider building a small fountain that beautifies the area without taking up a ton of room, like this one designed by Amber Interiors. As you can see in the patio in the distance, the small concrete fountain introduces style and has a calming effect despite its modest size.

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small backyard garden ideas
ANNIE SCHLECHTER
Incorporate Greenery

Transform every little space that isn't being used on your back patio into a gardening opportunity. It won't take up much space, but it makes a big difference. Case in point? These flower beds on the stair ledges. This also helps break up the sea of bricks.

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outdoor dining ideas
Nicole Franzen
Opt for Gravel

When you have a small backyard, it's better to create an outdoor area you'll actually use, which may mean forgoing grass. Consider setting up an al fresco dining room on a bed of gravel instead. This space is edgy, sleek, and sophisticated while still being approachable—better yet, it fits into a petite space.

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outdoor bar cart ideas
Cheetah Is the New Black
Make It Party-Ready

Blogger Alicia Lund spruces up her backyard with a well-styled bar cart. Extra perk: Since it's on wheels, you can easily roll it back into the kitchen for refills. The brick ground also adds an English garden feel.

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backyard hammock ideas no trees
Bon Traveler
Hang a Hammock, Trees or No Trees

If you have a tiny outdoor space, you can still take advantage of the fresh air in style. Hang a slim hammock and then make it pop with a jute area rug, fun throw pillows, and floor cushions for extra seating—no trees necessary. That DIY fence addition contributes to the island vibes while also enhancing privacy.

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image
Lauren Stephanie Wells
Add Some Statement-Making Chairs

This patio is both approachable and design-forward, laid-back and put together. For a similar vibe, opt for sling chairs that make a statement. Or, if you have some affordable sling chairs like this, get crafty and paint the canvas yourself.

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small greenhouse ideas
Bon Traveler
Indulge Your Hobbies

If you love taking care of plants, build a tiny greenhouse in your backyard. This will make sure you actually spend a lot of time out here, which makes it worth it, even if it takes up the entire yard.

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modern small backyard 
PHOTO: Anson Smart; DESIGN: Arent & Pyke
Keep Architecture In Mind

Use the architectural elements of your home to your advantage. For example, in this house designed by Arent & Pyke, an indoor bench extends outside, thanks to the large windows. This opens up more room for tiles and greenery instead of taking up space with patio furniture. It's also a great way to create flow.

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small backyard ideas no grass
Fantastic Frank
Make the Most of It

Though this backyard is tiny, it feels like a practical and stylish space the homeowners will actually be able to spend time in. The heat lamp promises warmth on chilly nights and the floor cushions are great for extra lounge seating. The whitewashed wood deck keeps the tonal color story alive and well.

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image
Bon Traveler
Focus On Landscaping

The backyard is your space to reconnect with nature and unwind in the fresh air. So instead of saturating it with furniture and décor, focus on landscaping and florals.

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small patio ideas
Nicole Franzen
Lay Colorful Tiles

An eye-catching tile on the patio can make all the difference in tiny backyard. Choose a whimsical pattern with bright colors and then use more timeless and neutral furniture that won't overwhelm the eye or take up any valuable real estate.

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brooklyn backyard ideas
PHOTO: Dustin Askland; DESIGN: Elizabeth Roberts
Create a Pathway

In a small or narrow city yard, introduce greenery with a pathway surrounded by planting beds. Then use your vertical space by bringing in slim and tall trees, like in this Brooklyn home designed by Elizabeth Roberts Architecture and Design. A neat will keeps our eyes focused on the architectural details of the townhouse ahead and makes it feel like a little green oasis in the middle of the city.

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small backyard patio ideas
Arent & Pyke
Treat It Like a Living Room

Consider a small back patio another fun design opportunity, not an annoying challenge. Treat it like a small porch and hang a swing bench, then set it up like an outside living room with stylish accent seating, a carpet, and side table.

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small garden ideas on a budget
Fantastic Frank
Cultivate a Garden

Use your precious outdoor space to cultivate your very own garden if the climate allows. Grow flowers, herbs, and produce to beautify the yard. Plus, a garden will give you a reason to get outdoors more often.

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landscaping plans for small backyard
Arent & Pyke
Don't Leave It Empty

A small patch of grass can look awkward if it's empty, and if it's too tiny to play games on or you don't want to hire a landscaper, just use it as an extra lounging area. As seen in this Arent & Pyke-designed yard, all it takes is the right sofa, chair, and coffee tables. And the tall hedge functions as a makeshift fence while also adding a whole lot of greenery.

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image
PHOTO: Dustin Askland; DESIGN: Elizabeth Roberts

Coordinate your throw pillows to the florals and hang a timeless pendant light to polish things off. Plus, swapping out your pillows is the easy (and cost-effective) way to upgrade your patio each season.

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