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small backyard

(image: Tom Maloney)

Tiny backyards are perplexing, but filled with potential. Here are a few small backyard ideas to help you make good use of shrinking outdoor space.

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Naturally, your dream house (ahem, manor) will have a vast backyard that stretches for miles, with lush, sweeping grass and a water feature as beautiful as the iconic Trevi Fountain in Rome. But, of course, you need more time to turn that dream into reality. (Soon. Soon.)

Luckily, with a little imagination and elbow grease, you can transform your tiny backyard into something equally as magical. Here are a few small backyard ideas to help you make the best use of your space:

1. Wall planters

When you’re short on square footage, a traditional backyard garden planters may not be in the cards. (Cue the tiny violin.) But who needs all that back-breaking horticultural hoopla anyways? For your tiny backyard, you have much bigger (well, smaller) plans. First order of business? Making prime use of that precious vertical space.

wicket wall planters

Deluxe Wicker Planter Box with 4 Compartments

To house lush greenery and fragrant florals, without scrounging for garden space with standard garden planters, create a planter wall instead. You could use a few cinder blocks or section off planting cells in a rectangular plastic tray hung vertically. Some folks even affix mason jar planters to their fence. (And we all know how much I love mason jars.)

2. Hanging baskets

hanging flower baskets

(image: Lachlan Hardy)

If you’re looking for something a bit more basic than a wall planter, install a few hooks to house hanging baskets instead. Hanging baskets are dead-easy, inexpensive, and add that fresh pop of color in an otherwise drab backyard. You could furnish each pot with spices, herbs, or seasonal blooms.

It really is as easy as heading down to your local greenery, and picking out your favorite plants and flowers. And no, hanging baskets aren’t reserved for warm spring and summer months only.

In the winter, you can choose from compact species of conifers, evergreen shrubs, and winter-flowering bedding plants.  In warmer months, you’ll have plenty of flowering plants to choose from, like geraniums, begonias, and petunias.

3. Tabletop fountains

Until you acquire your dream manor set on a serene and majestic hilltop? (Any day now.) It’s safe to say that an ornate marble fountain will take up far too much square footage in your quaint-and-cozy backyard.

To make do when you’re tight on backyard space, opt for a decorative tabletop fountain instead. (Here are a few styles for inspiration.) Portable, stylish, and soothing, a tabletop fountain can easily be tucked away or moved, if and when you choose to redecorate.

petite wood garden shed4. Shrunken sheds

In an itsy-bitsy backyard, a traditional shed would take up too much space. But you could still use a place to house garden tools and other backyard accouterments. If your heart’s set on a shed, and your backyard doesn’t leave much room for interpretation, choose a petite shed instead.

If you’re in the market for a tiny shed, you could make something yourself or buy a preassembled model.

Ready to overhaul your tiny backyard? Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Plan your space around your lifestyle—Will your backyard serve as a place to entertain or a restful retreat to unwind? Narrowing it down will help you prioritize your options.
  • Toss clutter—A lot of backyards, both big and small, are teeming with random junk and clutter that serves no real purpose. Take a long, hard look at your backyard belongings, and start tossing like an Olympic shot-put champion. (Feels good, doesn’t it?)
  • Divide and conquer—With the slate wiped clean, now’s the time to go shopping for a tiny shed, your own tabletop fountain, and plants to tuck into hanging baskets and wall planters.

What’s your take?

Do you have a tiny backyard? Any plans to spruce it up? Tell us about it below!

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Tanya Roberts

Tanya Roberts is a writer and marketer who loves to spin stories about interior design and home decor. She is principle strategist at Bluefinch.ca