7+ Decor Ideas to Make a Small Yard Look Bigger

You are excited, but frustrated.

You finally have your own backyard. Now you have a place to turn those unrealized gardening plans into reality.

But your backyard is so small. Too small.

Just enough space for a patio set and a narrow garden bed beside the fence.

How will you ever be able to execute even a fraction of the plans you have swirling around in your brain?

There is not enough room.

Or is there?

A small backyard is not a obstacle to creativity, but rather an opportunity.

To get you started, here are seven ways that you can turn your small outdoor space into a gorgeous and welcoming retreat.

1. Ditch the Lawn

Small postage-stamp lawns make small yards look even smaller.

Removing some, or all of the grass allows you to be creative and use that space to build a more functional and beautiful space.

The front lawn of our city garden was approximately 12’x12′, a useless, wasted space. So we removed all the grass, added a path down the middle, three golden cedars at the back, and a perennial garden with a large burning bush near the sidewalk. In autumn, our flaming red burning bush could be seen half a block away!

small front lawn garden
small front lawn with burning bush

Although we were the first on our block to replace our front lawn with a garden, our neighbors must have thought it was a good idea, because after a few years at least half a dozen more did the same!

2. Create Rooms to Explore

Although intuitively it would seem that dividing up a small space makes it appear smaller, if done well it creates the illusion of more space.

For over 25 years we lived in a small house, with a small yard, in a big city. It was under 18 feet wide. Over the years our garden evolved into a multi-roomed space with three patios, a deck, and a pergola.

Gardens structures, like arbors, trellises, and pergolas, are ideal for creating rooms and also support climbing plants.

On our pergola, we hung Kitras Art Glass ornaments and tealight lanterns, and we decorated our trellises with recycled metal garden art, adding color, light, and charm—more diversions for the eye and beauty for the yard.

flagstone patio and deck
flagstone patio and pergola in small city garden

3. Grow Up, Up and Away

Growing climbing vines on fences or garden structures, is another way to make your yard look larger. Your eyes follow these beautiful plants as they reach for the sky, extending your garden, and making it appear more spacious.

Trellises, arbors and pergolas are the perfect structures for supporting climbing vines. Strong and sturdy they are both functional and ornamental. If you have a wooden fence you can attach small flower pots to it to draw attention upwards.

purple clematis growing up a pergola

Individually, or in groups, arbors and pergolas can be used to create archways, seating areas, or covered walkways. They are beautiful on their own or covered with flowering vines. For special occasions they can be decorated, or wrapped with garden lights, or hung with solar lanterns.

4. Go Monochrome

I have always been attracted to monochrome gardens, especially all-white, red, or purple gardens. Many different flowers or flowering shrubs, in multiple shades of the same color, with different textures and blooming times. They are not only a delight to the senses, but they make your garden seem more spacious.

small white city garden
white flowers in a city garden

5. Create Small Seating Area

Setting up many small seating areas allows you to enjoy the beauty of your garden from different vantage points. These different viewing spots have the benefit of making your space seem larger.

A couple of years ago I went on a local garden tour which included several small gardens. They were unique and creative and had multiple seating areas at strategic spots around their yards. Of course, I took advantage of these benches, stools and chairs to savour the beauty that surrounded me.

small garden seating area with benches
green garden bench
3 black and white stools in a garden
seating area with four red chairs

6. Built Garden Paths

Paths welcome visitors and invite them to explore your garden. Adding lights along your path gives your small garden a warm and welcoming glow at night. Stepping stone paths create another layer of interest to your small garden.

7. Add Depth and Texture

For years I avoided added bushes, thinking they would be taking up valuable flower space. When I finally did I realized how instead they created a rich, textured backdrop for my annuals and perennials. They provide structure and add depth, and as an added bonus bushes provide year-round interest.

Can you see it now?

Instead of a flat patch of ground surround by plants, you will have a rich, multi-textured oasis.

Flowering vines growing up and over your trellis or pergola, creating a peaceful and colorful resting spot. Benches scattered around giving you multiple spots to enjoy the beauty you have so lovingly created.

So harness your excitement, take a shovel to your lawn, and kick your frustration to the curb. 

You got this! 

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