Small Backyard Design Ideas

Small backyard design ideas

5 min read


With block sizes getting smaller across Australia, for many of us, gone are the days of big backyards, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor area can’t feel spacious and appealing. Small backyards can still be a functional and inviting space, and we’re here to show you how!

Learn how to make the most of your space with the 4 tips below…

1. Think layered landscaping and vertical spaces

Layered landscaping can create the illusion of a bigger yard.

To open the space, select a variety of plants that contain different textures and colours. This will create an eye-catching effect.

In addition to layered landscaping, utilising vertical space can also make the most of your backyard. We recommend installing a vertical box garden. This can create a stunning backdrop for your outdoor entertaining area or a striking water feature. Fill the vertical garden with pops of colour and with flowers such as Begonias and Ivy Geraniums.

A vertical veggie garden is also an option—and one that has recently risen in popularity. Make sure to choose an optimal area in your backyard that gets sunlight regularly to promote growth.

2. Keep your spaces open and airy

In a small backyard, less is more. Keep your outdoor space feeling open by limiting clutter and bulky overhead structures.

Try, where possible, to minimise outdoor furniture. If you have an outdoor dining set, use benches that can be tucked under the table when not use, rather than individual seats. Alternatively, you could consider installing seating into your retaining area or other parts of your yard’s architecture.

Keep your foliage and plants at the sides of your backyard. For instance, line your fence with a side garden and keep the centre of your backyard free of clutter.

Consider a neutral colour palette. Opting for mostly whites, greys, and muted beige tones will help give your backyard the illusion of more space. Darker tones can close off an area and make it appear smaller than it is.

Think about portable and moveable features. Rather than built-in appliances, like a built-in BBQ or kitchen, opt for a weber and other portable appliances. You could even opt for a portable bar using a utility table on wheels.

3. Create space with zoning

Creating zones with different flooring materials will add interest to your backyard and create an illusion of a bigger area.

Develop individual nooks that give your garden plenty more mystery and call for exploration.

Break up your backyard into different areas using planters, or even just alternative ground surfaces (pavers, decking, gravel and artificial grass, to name just a few).

This customer’s property sat on a small block of around 433 square metres, but they still managed to create a luxurious zoned backyard that felt so much bigger than it was. To make the most of the small space, three distinct zones were created: a verandah off the back of the home with a BBQ and table to allow for entertaining and outdoor dining in warmer months; a pool area with plenty of room for sun lounging, and a distinct and separate relaxation space at the rear of the yard which consisted of a hardwood Merbau Deck and freestanding timber pergola. By creating these areas, the homeowner ensured no space was wasted and achieved the ideal flow and a spacious feel, due to the consistent, neutral colour scheme throughout.

4. Prioritise your needs

Lastly—and most importantly—prioritise your needs. Allow your lifestyle to inform how you should use the space.

If you love outdoor entertaining, prioritise a functional space that allows you to have your friends and family over through rain, wind and shine. You need to think about what will make your guests feel comfortable. A decked area with outdoor blinds that provide optimum shelter and warm lighting are a must. You may also want to consider a fire pit for extra warmth throughout the colder months.

Alternatively, if you have kids, prioritise an area that allows them to run and play. Flat, soft areas such as artificial grass are ideal as it is soft beneath their feet, allergy free and contains no harsh chemicals or heavy metals.

Whatever your needs, the first step to any renovation should be to think about your main priorities.

So—there you have it! These are our top 4 top tips to make the most of your small backyard.

Australian Outdoor Living is passionate about helping people love their life outdoors. We offer a range of products, including:

Have you been thinking about renovating your small backyard? Fill out the free measure and quote form at the top of this article. A member of our dedicated sales team will be in touch.


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