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Small yard with multiple textures of rock and mulch with small shrubs throughout.

17 Ways to Landscape a Small Yard

Landscaping a small yard? Just because you don’t have a lot of space doesn’t mean you can’t design an amazing yard and improve your home’s value! Check out these 17 small yard landscaping ideas to get started.

Plan Out Your Space

New to landscaping? Spending time mapping out how you’ll utilize your space is especially important when landscaping a small yard. Before you start yard work, you’ll want to decide what features you want to include and if you have the space and the budget for them. Map out your outdoor living space design with specific areas for vegetables, flower gardens, lounging, playing, or whatever other features you want to prioritize. When working with a small lawn, dividing up areas for entertainment and greenery can help make the lawn feel larger without overcrowding it!

Go Vertical with Plants

Looking for small garden ideas? When landscaping a small yard, it’s important to take advantage of vertical space. Vertical gardens open up the ground area and leave room for seating or other backyard features. They can come in many shapes and sizes—whether you want to incorporate a living plant wall, wall herb garden, hanging baskets, or vertical planters. Create a space-saving garden by planting flowers, greenery, and more up a fence, the side of your home or shed, on your pergola, or on another vertical structure! Petunias, morning glory, Begonias, and pansies are great flowers for vertical gardens as they can provide lots of color and life to your small space.

Try Container Gardening

If you want to add more plants to your small yard but don’t have the space for intricate landscaping, consider container gardening! Almost any plant can grow in a pot or raised planter, allowing you endless opportunities for your limited landscape. Try using a planter box garden along the side of your home or as a divider between separate sections of your yard space. Or arrange large pots and planters on your patio or deck. Experiment with different kinds of plants and container sizes to make the space your own. Flower pots and portable raised garden beds can help a small yard seem lush and bring an element of flexibility into the space, as they can be relocated, repurposed, or tucked away when not in use. This backyard landscaping idea is also great for renters, since it doesn’t require permanent changes to the yard itself.

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Plant Trees

If you think there’s not enough space in your yard to plant trees, think again! The right types of trees can be great for small yard landscaping, providing shade, natural beauty, and increased property value. When choosing small trees for small yards, you’ll want to opt for ones that grow up instead of out, like ornamental or dwarf tree species. Prairiefire Crabapples and Royal Star Magnolias are some of the best trees for small yards as they stay relatively small while adding a beautiful accent to your landscape.

Skip the Fence

Looking for some backyard privacy? You may want to stray away from a privacy fence or traditional backyard fencing to allow your small yard to feel more open. Instead, opt for a more organic fence, like flower beds, raised planter boxes, bushes and hedges, or a tree fence! These can create a sense of privacy while making your small yard feel larger.

Incorporate a Variety of Textures

Multiple textures of mulch and rock placed in small yard.

Photo via @brodyplants

Using different textures while landscaping a small yard can help break up the space. Not only do different textures create visual depth—which can help make your small yard seem bigger—but they also allow you to play with a wide range of landscape styles throughout your yard. Mix and match stone, gravel, wood mulch, grass, and other greenery to create a unique outdoor space!

Choose a Low-Maintenance Lawn Replacement

Having a low-maintenance yard makes small yard upkeep extremely convenient. Replace grass with more eco-friendly, no-grass lawn ideas like concrete, wood, or groundcovers like moss and clover to keep your landscape looking sleek and make upkeep easier. If you live in a dry climate, consider xeriscaping so you no longer have to use lots of water maintaining a green lawn. Whatever lawn replacement you choose, there are still plenty of ways to add pops of greenery, such as succulent gardens, hedges, and potted plants! Or add artificial turf for a modern green space without the hassle of having to keep your lawn cut, watered, and fertilized every year.

Take Advantage of the Side Yard

One commonly overlooked space in small yard landscaping is the side yard. But just because it’s not as visible as the front or backyard doesn’t mean you should ignore it. With the right side yard design, you can transform your narrow lawn into usable space. Some side yard ideas include planting flower beds around your house or as edging around existing plants. Try making your narrow yard a destination by creating a pathway or building a small seating area with benches, stools, and more!

Lay Down Path

Looking for DIY landscaping ideas for your small yard? Think about building a stone path! Yard pathways can be used to highlight some of your favorite elements in your landscape. Limestone, slate, granite, and sandstone are popular options for backyard stone pathways and are available in lots of different shapes and sizes, so you can make your backyard your own. Not only that, but stone yard pavers are often anti-slip, making it safer to walk about the yard. Or consider using an alternative material like wood, brick, bark chips, or gravel.

Incorporate Curved Landscaping

Curved landscaping can make a big difference in small yards! This design element is a great way to create a more natural feel in your small yard landscaping design. Curved paths can help a small garden feel continuous as they can be tucked behind plants rather than revealing a sharp end. By adding rounded edges to your flower beds, stone pathways, or patios, you can help all the elements of your yard flow together better.

Install a Small Patio

Small patio installed into the backyard.

Photo via @alliancegator

Consider adding a backyard patio if you want a small landscape idea that’s easy to care for. Patios are perfect for small backyards because they create space for grilling, seating, and entertaining! They also provide a spot to store potted plants. Whether you choose to pour a concrete patio or install a DIY patio with bricks, pavers, or flagstones, this feature can give you the perfect place to relax in your small yard.

Try a Sunken Patio

Sunken patio added to small backyard with gray furniture.

Photo via @phillipsgarden

Thinking a traditional patio isn’t your best bet for landscaping your small yard? Go for a sunken patio instead! A sunken patio can create visual depth in your overall landscape design, helping your yard feel larger than it is. In addition, you can add plants and shrubs around it to give it a more private feel.

Build a Backyard Shade Structure

Building a pergola, arbor, or gazebo can be beneficial to your small landscape. Patio shade structures offer both privacy and protection from the sun, while also creating a point of visual interest in your yard. You can use these structures to frame a view of your yard or home. They offer a great spot for vertical gardening—and if you want additional cozy seating, you can hang a swing from the roof!

Construct Your Own Fire Pit

Want a simple way to add flair to your small yard? Incorporate a small fire pit! This landscape idea adds a source of light and warmth to your backyard space and can potentially be used year-round, depending on where you live. DIY fire pits can be customized to your landscape and unique outdoor living space needs. Or you can opt for a portable outdoor fireplace and store it away when you’re not using it.

Add a Water Feature

You don’t need a huge yard to add a water feature to your landscape design. The best part about a water feature—whether it’s a wall fountain, waterfall, or even a small pond—is that you can build them as big or small as you need for your space! Looking for small backyard pool ideas? A plunge pool is small and can be easily incorporated on a deck or patio, making it a great pool for a small backyard!

Clear Clutter with a Small Shed

If you need a place to store gardening equipment or items for outdoor recreation, consider building a small storage shed for your small yard! While it may sound counterintuitive to devote some of your limited space to an outdoor storage shed, they provide functionality for your lawn, giving you more room in the long run. As a designated place to store outdoor furniture, tools, and recreation equipment, sheds help you free your lawn from any clutter!

Brighten Up with Yard Lights

Highlight your landscape design with outdoor lighting! Setting up yard lights can draw attention to your flower beds, stone pathways, and other lawn work. Layered lighting can add depth and make your small lawn feel larger. And adding string lights or outdoor lamps to your outdoor seating area makes your space usable in the dark, so you have a cozy hang-out spot for both day and night!


Need to store your furniture, tools, or pots while landscaping your small lawn? Extra Space Storage has storage facilities across the nation. Find a self storage facility near you!