Follow These 7+ Tips to Make Your Small Back Garden Look Fabulous

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
Minimalist Garden, Landscaper in London Landscaper in London Modern garden
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Some call it a curse, others a blessing. We are, of course, talking about small back gardens, but other tiny outdoor spaces (like small terraces, miniature balconies and petite patios) also fall in this category. 

But who’d call small back gardens a blessing? Well, for starters, the one who’s in charge of keeping it clean and tidy! Small back garden ideas are wonderfully low-maintenance, yet they can also provide an opportunity to be creative – one just has to know where to look! After all, don’t they say that good things come in small packages? 

Fortunately, we are chock-a-block with good ideas and stylish tips here on homify (courtesy of our top-notch design- and construction professionals, including expert Architects, Gardeners, and more), regardless of whether it’s for exterior spaces or interior rooms. And today we keep it fresh with ideas to make the most of small back gardens (and petite patios… ) in terms of functionality and visual aesthetics.


1. Ideas for small back gardens: Plan before you plant

First of all, plan before you buy so much as a garden chair. Know what your garden’s size is and what you want to achieve with it. Must it become a relaxing outdoor spot for reading or meditating? A space where you can entertain a few friends? An intimate little gathering zone for romantic evenings? 

Measure your garden, get your plan in place, calculate your budget, and then proceed with these ideals to turn your small outdoor space into a stylish garden. 

2. Ideas for small back gardens: Build low walls for seating

A Contemporary garden in Wales homify Modern garden

A Contemporary garden in Wales


Got barely enough room for a chair or two in your tiny yard? What’s going to happen when a few friends drop by and you want to indulge in a cup of tea (or a glass of wine) outdoors? 

By adding raised beds surrounded by walls, your small garden immediately becomes much neater. This also makes it easier for your plants to be looked after, plus you’ll have extra places for people to perch. You could even place a potted plant or three on those low walls for added freshness and appeal. 

And of course we fully recommend adding some cushions for comfort!

3. Ideas for small back gardens: Create a living wall

Privacy in a small London Garden GreenlinesDesign Ltd Classic style garden Espaliered Trees,Hydrangena,Romantic Garden,English Garden,White Flowers,Wall Water Feature,Retaining Walls,Bespoke Trellis
GreenlinesDesign Ltd

Privacy in a small London Garden

GreenlinesDesign Ltd

There was a time when green/living walls were used purely for designer installations and commercial sites. Those days are gone, as this unique fresh design has made its way into countless residential homes and gardens worldwide. Especially the smaller ones. 

These fascinating textured plantings make great use of limited space, seeing as they take up no legroom at all. To create these vertical gardens, plants are rooted into a structure that is attached to a wall. And there’s a world of options for which plants one can use on a living wall: herbaceous perennials, grasses, small shrubs, herbs, fruit and vegetables, scented flowers, etc.

homify hint: Don’t want to fully commit to an entire green wall? Simply put up some shelves on a garden wall, creating extra precious surface areas for numerous potted plants. Much easier to re-arrange and/or take down once you change your mind!

4. Ideas for small back gardens: Potted pretties

Open-Plan Kitchen/Living Room, Ladbroke Walk, London , Cue & Co of London Cue & Co of London Modern garden
Cue & Co of London

Open-Plan Kitchen/Living Room, Ladbroke Walk, London

Cue & Co of London

And speaking of potted plants, who says you require a lawn in order to enjoy a lush garden? A little bit of legroom, a low-maintenance flooring material (like gravel), lots of pots filled with everything from teeny flowers to tall and bushy trees, and you’re done! 

Just ensure that you have adequate space for moving about!

5. Ideas for small back gardens: Colours

Rural House, Lancashire, Barnes Walker Ltd Barnes Walker Ltd
Barnes Walker Ltd

Rural House, Lancashire

Barnes Walker Ltd

The dullest balcony and the most underused back garden can still be transformed into something special. Short on square footage? How about a planted terrace to combine elegance with low maintenance? You’ll need a simple paving, like travertine or traditional stone, for a sleek or rustic look. The plants and flowers will soften up the space while also providing some privacy. 

But here’s the game changer: garden furniture. They make any outdoor space all the more unique and practical. And did you know that your seating colours don’t have to match? By all means, throw some bright orange and bubblegum pink cushions into that fresh green garden – the visuals will be most exciting!

6. Ideas for small back gardens: Strong landscaped lines

Maxwell, M Squared M Squared Modern garden
M Squared


M Squared

Although we do enjoy a layout with some good curves, we feel that, when it comes to small back gardens, crisp and contemporary lines are best. It makes the best use of all available space, ensuring nothing goes to waste. This can be achieved by creating interesting interlocking zones with distinctive materials like wood-stained decking or decorative stones. The end result? A stylish look in even the tiniest of gardens. 

homify hint: Diagonal paving can be just as effective in smaller gardens. Lay slabs on the point so they make up a diamond shape, giving the optical illusion of a bigger garden.

7. Ideas for small back gardens: Focus on furniture placement

Garden design and build courtyard, Bicester, Oxfordshire Decorum . London Classic style garden Wood-Plastic Composite Grey
Decorum . London

Garden design and build courtyard, Bicester, Oxfordshire

Decorum . London

For a practical yard, one requires furniture. And placing objects of interest at the end of your small garden can create the illusion that your space is bigger than it is. 

Try this: choose a white garden bench and place it towards the back of your garden. Strategically plant large shrubs to partially obstruct the view – this will lead your mind into thinking there is more to see, plus ensure privacy for your little seating corner. 

But keep it visually interesting with plants of various heights in all areas – we’re talking climbers and ramblers, evergreen shrubs, sculptural grasses and ground cover.

Bonus idea for small back gardens: Adding levels

An exceptional approach to tiered spaces Kate Eyre Garden Design Mediterranean style garden Kate Eyre Garden Design, Kate Eyre, Balau, Decking, Outdoor Seating, Cedar Cladding, Lawn, Grass, Garden Design, Contemporary, Modern, Raised Bed, Porcelain, Patio, South Facing, Planting, Decking Design, Stepping Stones, Pathway, Garden Storage, Jasmin, Plants, Private, Garden Furniture, Heuchera, Clematis, Phormium
Kate Eyre Garden Design

An exceptional approach to tiered spaces

Kate Eyre Garden Design

Turn your entire modern back garden into a spectacular design feature via different levels. This adds interest, help open the space up, plus can provide new spots for your potted plants and/or outdoor furniture. 

Bonus idea for small back gardens: Plant vertically

It’s certainly not uncommon for small back gardens to start branching out upwards when there’s no more room sideways. And by opting for a vertical wall (which can even be accomplished via potted plants on floating shelves), you really do make the most of your vertical space without wasting precious floor space. 

And remember that a green wall can also make a profound difference to a stretch of bare wall/fence, and even on a small balcony or terrace. 

Still not enough outdoor ideas for you? Then try these 19 delightful decking ideas (to improve any size garden).  

Got any other tips to make the most of small back gardens? Share with us!

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