Best 05 Cheap Backyard Ideas for Small Yards


Best 05 Cheap Backyard Ideas for Small Yards

Best 05 Cheap Backyard Ideas for Small Yards

Are you looking for ways to transform your small backyard without breaking the bank? With a bit of creativity, you can create a beautiful outdoor space that you and your family can enjoy without spending a fortune. In this article, we’ll share some cheap backyard ideas for small yards that can help you turn your backyard into a beautiful oasis.

Landscaping small yards is a challenge for house owners as they have to come up with unique ideas and designs. Having a small yard does not mean that you cannot have a beautiful one.

You may not fit an Olympic-sized pool in your backyard, but there are hundreds of other landscaping ideas for small yards that can be used to revitalize your yard and accentuate its focal points.

Best Small Yard Landscaping Ideas

Best Small Yard Landscaping Ideas

Numerous landscaping companies can design your small yard landscaping for you. However, you can follow some simple backyard landscaping ideas for small yards and save a lot of this expense.

The trick in small landscaping ideas is to create a unique yard without cluttering it up with things. Here are some simple ideas that can help people make their garden different from others in the neighborhood.

Option 1: Build Up

When dealing with small yards, people should opt for building up rather than building out. The charm of small yards remains in building up and it offers people more room to apply different landscaping ideas. Besides, it is also less costly as it saves not only money but time as well and at the same time enhances the look of the yard.

In the replacement of garden beds, container gardening can be used to minimize space. With containers, you can swap plants depending on the seasons as well.

You can also move around outdoor plants to create a new and different look every time. In a limited environment, it is better to avoid boulders and large rocks as they take up too much outdoor space. The trick is to a landscape in a manner that looks designed instead of stuffed.

I think you might be misunderstanding something. Landscaping a small yard doesn’t necessarily mean building up. In fact, in many cases, it’s better to focus on utilizing the space you have horizontally rather than vertically. Here are some tips for landscaping a small yard without building up:

  • Think strategically about your space

Consider the shape and size of your yard, as well as any existing features like fences, patios, or trees.

Image de Small yard landscaping layout
  • Use vertical space wisely

While you shouldn’t build up walls, you can use vertical space for things like hanging plants, trellises for climbing vines, or wall-mounted planters.

Image de Wallmounted planters for small yard
  • Create different levels

 This can be done with things like raised garden beds, stepping stones, or even minor changes in the grade of the land.

Image de Raised garden beds for small yard
  • Choose the right plants

Opt for plants that are compact and don’t take up too much space. You can also use plants with different heights and textures to create visual interest.

Image de Compact plants for small yard
  • Use hardscaping elements sparingly

Things like patios, walkways, and decks can be helpful in defining spaces, but too much hardscaping can make a small yard feel even smaller.

Image de Small yard with hardscaping elements
  • Incorporate lighting

Good lighting can make a small yard feel more inviting and spacious. String lights, lanterns, or even solar-powered path lights can all be effective.

  • Accessorize

Add personality to your space with things like furniture, sculptures, or water features. Just be sure to keep the scale in mind and avoid anything that’s too big or bulky.

Image de Small yard with water features

By following these landscaping tips, you can create a beautiful and functional landscape that makes the most of your small yard without resorting to building up.

Option 2: Select Colors Wisely

One important point to remember about landscaping ideas for small yards is the use of colors. Choosing the right color is essential, as colors form impressions on people. Colors can also add varied depth perceptions and some can make the garden appear larger and roomier. This is also a great landscaping idea for front yards.

Choosing the right colors for your landscaping can make a vast difference in the overall look and feel of your outdoor space. Here are some tips to help you select wisely:

Consider the overall style of your home and garden:

  • Traditional:

For a classic and timeless look, stick to a muted color palette of greens, blues, and yellows. You can add pops of color with red or purple flowers.

Image de Traditional landscaping color palette
  • Modern:

If you prefer a sleeker and more contemporary vibe, go for bolder colors, like black, white, and gray. You can soften the look with pops of green or blue.

Image de Modern landscaping color palette
  • Cottage:

Create a charming atmosphere with a mix of pastels and bright colors. Think pinks, blues, yellows, and lavenders.

Think about the size of your space:

  • Small yards:

Lighter colors can make a small space feel larger and more open. Avoid using too many dark colors, as they can make the space feel even smaller.

  • Large yards:

You have more freedom to play with color in a large space. You can use dark colors to create drama and contrast, or light colors to create a sense of peace and tranquility.

Use color to create different moods:

  • Warm colors:

Reds, oranges, and yellows create a feeling of warmth and energy. They’re perfect for areas where you want to relax and socialize.

  • Cool colors:

Blues, greens, and purples create a feeling of calm and serenity. They’re ideal for areas where you want to relax and unwind.

Image de Cool colors landscapingDon’t forget about the natural elements:

  • Take into account the colors of your existing plants, trees, and hardscaping materials. You want to choose colors that complement each other, not clash.

Here are some additional tips for using color in your landscaping:

  • Use repetition to create a sense of unity and flow. For example, you could plant the same type of flower in different areas of your yard.
  • Use contrast to add visual interest. For example, you could plant a red flower next to a blue flower.
  • Use edging plants to define borders and create clean lines.
  • Use mulch to add color and texture to your planting beds.

Option 3: Create a Rock Garden

Amongst the creative ideas for small yard landscaping, creating a rock garden is one of the unique. Although they may not suit every garden, they can complement the structure and style of some yards when designed properly. Rock gardens make great conversation pieces and can be considered interesting focal points.

Choose rocks for your outdoor area in a way that not only complements each other but also suits the surrounding plants and flowers. Nonetheless, rocks should be chosen in a manner that not only suits each other but also the plants and flowers surrounding them. The rock garden doesn’t need to be large. Instead, the rocks should be closely aligned and yet look natural.

Building Your Dream Rock Garden

Creating a rock garden can add a touch of natural beauty and low-maintenance charm to your landscape. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you bring your vision to life:

1. Plan Your Design:

  • Location: Choose a sunny spot with well-draining soil. Partial shade can work for specific plants, but avoid full shade.
  • Style: Decide on a natural, Japanese, Zen, or contemporary style. This will guide your rock selection and plant choices.
  • Size and Shape: Measure your space and sketch a basic outline of your rock garden. Consider incorporating slopes, terraces, or pathways for added interest.

2. Prepare the Ground:

  • Remove any existing turf or vegetation.
  • Dig down at least 6 inches to loosen the soil and create space for drainage.
  • Install a weed barrier fabric if desired, especially in sunny areas prone to weeds.

3. Choose Your Rocks:

  • Variety: Use a mix of sizes and textures, from boulders as focal points to smaller stones and gravel for filling.
  • Color and Texture: Consider the overall color scheme of your garden and opt for rocks that complement your chosen style. Angular rocks add drama, while rounded ones create a softer feel.
  • Source: Look for local landscaping suppliers or natural rock formations around your property. Recycled concrete or bricks can also be incorporated for a unique touch.

4. Place Your Rocks:

  • Start with the largest rocks, positioning them strategically as anchor points.
  • Tilt larger rocks slightly back for stability and visual interest.
  • Create pockets and crevices between rocks for planting.
  • Fill in with smaller rocks and gravel, leaving space for plants to breathe.

5. Choose Your Plants:

  • Drought-tolerant: Opt for rock garden staples like succulents, cacti, ornamental grasses, sedums, and alpine plants.
  • Variety: Select plants with diverse heights, textures, and blooming times to add visual interest throughout the year.
  • Consider Sun and Shade: Match your plant choices to the available light conditions in your rock garden.

6. Plant Your Garden:

  • Dig planting holes according to the individual plant requirements.
  • Add well-draining potting mix or a blend of garden soil and sand to improve drainage.
  • Plant your chosen varieties, ensuring proper spacing and depth.
  • Water thoroughly and continue to water regularly until established.

7. Finishing Touches:

  • Add mulch around the plants to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
  • Consider incorporating decorative elements like stepping stones, sculptures, or water features.
  • Sit back and admire your vibrant rock garden creation!

rock garden creation

Bonus Tips:

  • Don’t overcrowd your rock garden. Let the rocks play a starring role and allow space for plants to grow naturally.
  • Experiment with different colors and textures of rocks and plants to create a unique and personalized space.
  • Attract pollinators like butterflies and bees by planting flowering varieties.
  • Maintain your rock garden by weeding, trimming, and replenishing mulch as needed.

Option 4: Add Water Features

Incorporating water features like pond fountains can give a cool look to your landscaping small yard. You can include these in several ways, such as a birdbath, a water fountain, or even a smaller plastic garden pond.

These seem more elegant in a small space as compared to putting in a larger pond or an expensive waterfall and are also low maintenance.

Just make sure that you install them with a pond UV light so you don’t have them get clogged with algae!

Choosing the Right Water Feature

Before diving into the design process, it’s essential to consider the various types of water features available and select the right one for your space. Some popular options include:

1. Ponds and Water Gardens

Ponds and water gardens are versatile features that can range from small, intimate ponds to expansive water landscapes. They provide a habitat for aquatic plants and wildlife while creating a serene focal point in your landscape.

2. Waterfalls and Streams

Waterfalls and streams add movement and sound to your landscape, creating a dynamic and soothing atmosphere. Whether cascading over rocks or meandering through lush vegetation, waterfalls and streams can transform any space into a tranquil oasis.

3. Fountains

Fountains come in a variety of styles and sizes, from traditional tiered fountains to modern sculptural designs. They provide a striking visual element and the soothing sound of flowing water, making them ideal for both residential and commercial settings.

4. Water Walls

Water walls offer a sleek and contemporary aesthetic, with water cascading down vertical surfaces. They can serve as focal points or space dividers, adding a touch of sophistication to any outdoor environment.

Option 5: Use Some Other Designs For Small Yard Landscaping Ideas

In small yard landscaping, you can also implement other designs such as fences, metal trellises, training vines up walls, planting fruit trees, etc. Like a small room, a small yard should not be overwhelmed with outdoor furniture. A better alternative to this would be to make use of a small picnic table which could be inviting as well as charming.

All these landscaping ideas for small yards can create a relaxing and comfortable environment and make your small yard professional and welcoming.

Here are some ideas for small yard landscaping that go beyond the usual suspects:

Embrace Verticality:

  • Living walls: Transform a blank wall into a lush vertical garden using climbing plants, pocket planters, or pre-made green walls.
  • Hanging gardens: Suspend baskets, planters, or macrame creations from fences, pergolas, or even tree branches.
  • Trellis towers: Build or buy trellises for climbing vegetables, flowers, or fragrant vines like honeysuckle.

Create Multi-Function Zones:

  • Deck with built-in planters: Combine seating and greenery by incorporating planters into your deck design.
  • Folding furniture: Use furniture that can be tucked away when not in use to maximize space.
  • Hidden storage benches: Build benches with storage compartments for tools, cushions, or toys.

Play with Light and Illusion:

  • Mirrors: Strategically placed mirrors can reflect light and make your yard appear larger.
  • Curved pathways: Winding paths create a sense of mystery and depth in small spaces.
  • Light fixtures: String lights, lanterns, and solar-powered lamps add ambiance and extend your usable space into the evening.

Incorporate Unique Touches:

  • Water feature: A small fountain, birdbath, or even a pebble pond can add tranquil sounds and attract wildlife.
  • Fire pit: Create a cozy gathering spot with a portable fire pit or built-in fireplace.
  • Sculptures or art installations: Add personality and a focal point with unique pieces that reflect your style.


  • Native plants: Choose plants that thrive in your climate and require minimal maintenance.
  • Diverse heights and textures: Play with layering and scale to create visual interest.
  • Year-round appeal: Select plants that offer seasonal blooms, foliage changes, or winter interest.

Creating A Side Yard Garden

Homeowners and gardeners normally overlook side yards. You will easily spot the “side yards” with their tall fences or dense-growing evergreen screens between homes as some of the most underutilized areas in the landscape.

Side yards are those dubious territories between a house and its property line. Most of us use these areas merely as passageways between the front and back yards, a place for the air-conditioning unit, or the storage of trash and recycling containers.

For the most part, grass doesn’t develop well there, and the scraggly bits that do are a disturbance to cut.

Many homeowners simply put their blinders on and resignedly tolerate the area. But one must understand that every square foot of outdoor space property is horticulturally valuable.

Small, narrow side yard landscaping can be astounding to cultivators who don’t realize which plants and trees work in a tightened space. The good news is that not only can you find appropriate plants for these small garden areas, but you can also design a narrow yard to look and feel much larger than it is.

With the addition of structures such as arbors and gates and wisely chosen plants that complement, but won’t overtake, the already limited outdoor space, that little corridor can become more than only a trampled way between the front and terraces; it can turn into a garden nursery.

The beautifully landscaped front and back yard could carve out a gorgeous side yard, linking perfectly with an attractive side yard garden. You may also explore the possibilities for an alternative to grass, opting for a mixture of crushed gravel and stone, which is easy on the eye, a breeze to keep up, and contrasts nicely with the plants without competing for attention.

A winding path, rather than a straight one, makes this narrow space feel less like a bowling alley and more like a secret garden. And since the area slopes toward the back, flat top boulders act as gradual stepping stones.

Adding height and textures to the side yards is important. You may also prefer going for vertical gardening techniques. A fence coating the walkway gives vines a spot to climb and a romantic trellis at the front includes tallness, drawing the eye upward.

Too many colors would make a small space look rather messy, so better to keep the side yard primarily in green tones, concentrating on interesting leaf shapes and textures, which are simple and clean, yet quite lovely.

You should also layer the small space with a few well-chosen, upright garden trees, bulbs, and ground covers that play up the bit of contrasting foliage.

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