Ideas For Making Your Small Backyard Look Bigger

Real Estate Broker/Owner

There are many people who don’t enjoy their backyard due to the fact it’s too small. If you’re among them, you should look at things the other way - its small size offers you the opportunity to be creative.

The closed off look can easily be turned into a spacious oasis - all it takes is some smart design ideas and a good strategy.

Architecture visualization has already shown us that our perception can be tricked, and some smart gardening techniques can just as easily alter it and make your small backyard look much bigger than it is in reality. So let’s take a look at some ideas that will create that spacious feeling.

Don’t go Straight
Besides the fact that straight walkaways in small backyards are much shorter, making them cut the yard diagonally will create the illusion that space is much larger.

If your space permits it, allowing them to wind around will additionally boost this illusion of spaciousness.

Another way to elongate the space is to use this diagonal pattern approach when laying pavers on the walkway or patio.

You can use the same approach for decking - if you have a square deck don’t lay planks vertically or horizontally. The point is to break the symmetry, so you can also incorporate some creative stepping stones.

You can also trick the eye if you decrease the width of your walkaways as they progress toward the back of the yard. This way their end will seem more distant since they’ll draw the eye through space and therefore create the illusion that there is more of it.

This approach works for grass, too - don’t use your lawn to cover up the whole place. It’s better to mix it with other materials and try to stay away from straight edges.

Tiny lawns also require proper maintenance but resist opting for synthetic turf. If it's looking yellow and it’s getting enough water there can be other causes and solutions that go with them.


Add Levels
A great way to interrupt small square footage and make it more visually interesting is to add levels. It doesn’t have to be much - you can simply add a patio that is slightly sunken or elevated. You can also break up areas of your backyard with a deck which will separate the entertaining area from the greens space.

If you don’t have time or space for construction, you can simply go for large raised planters or you can place regular ones on stairways.

Since the point is to create levels of dynamic visuals, you can also experiment with furniture and plants of different heights.


Go Up
Your acreage may be limited, but don’t forget the air space where only the sky is the limit. Your backyard can easily claim that space with vertical elements and enhance the feeling of spaciousness. In order to add this dimension, you can create a vertical garden, using trees, pergolas, or arbors.

When it comes to trees, the best choice could be the Leyland Cypress which grows up to four feet per year. Just keep in mind that these trees are susceptible to disease and require regular maintenance and pruning, so make sure you have the time to care for them. Other tall choices could be banana plants or birds of paradise.

If you have a boring fence you can simply cover it with a vertical garden, adding interest and boosting the feeling of spaciousness at the same time.

One of the greatest covers for fencing is tall bamboo, and there’s no need to limit its growth to the top of the fence - you can go as tall as it is possible or permitted by the local council.


Utilize Smaller and Bigger Leaves
Spaciousness can also be achieved by the simple organization of your plants. The ones with smaller leaves are less visually demanding and seem distant since they reflect a lot of light. That’s why they can easily blend into a background, so keep them around the edges of your backyard.

On the other hand, bigger leaves create more visual interest and give the illusion of depth with the shadows they cast. This is why they’ll make the space seem larger if you place them around entrances or preferred areas of focus.


Borrow Space From The Surroundings
In the end, you can borrow additional space. If there’s a scenic view beyond the borders of your backyard containing native plants, you can easily take advantage of it.

All you need to do is to incorporate similar plants into your design and achieve a cohesive look. Another way to borrow space is from the inside - with the implementation of wide doors or floor-to-ceiling windows you’ll be able to blur the boundaries.

As you can see, there are many optical tricks at your disposal to make your small backyard look bigger - diagonal line and patterns, slightly sunken or elevated levels, plant size, textures, etc. Since only the sky and the horizon are the limits, it all depends on your creativity.

Comments (6)

John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Welcome to the ActiveRain community. Congratulations on your first post.

Jul 08, 2019 03:33 PM
Grace Saunders
Autaugaville, AL

Hi John, thanks for the kind welcome!!

Jul 09, 2019 05:02 AM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Hi Grace, welcome to Active Rain! I always love to see ideas about small back yards and patios. Lovely photo you have used - it shows the levels. I am working on achieving that in our back yard patio.

Jul 09, 2019 08:25 AM
The Woodland Team of Texas
The Woodland Companies - Austin, TX
Land Specialists

Interesting first post
Welcome to ActiveRain, I hope that your participation here helps your business to grow.
Btw, I followed your blog, and would be honored if you followed mine.
Thank You!

Jul 12, 2019 11:36 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Grace Saunders  welcome to ActiveRain and congratulations on successfully posting your first blog on this site.

Jul 13, 2019 02:53 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Welcome to Active Rain, looking forward to reading many more of your posts, let me know if there is anything that I can do to help as you get started here.
All the best of success to you.

Sep 03, 2019 09:19 PM