6 Small Yard Designs: Our Favorite Layouts for Your Tiny Space
Here at Yardzen, we design yards of ALL sizes. From large estates to tiny atriums, your Yardzen team will help you make the most out of your yard!
One common misconception about small yards is that you can’t do much with the space. Think again! With smart design tips, like drawing the eye through the yard with plants, and styling tips, like choosing chairs over sofas, our design team has come up with six ways to make the most out of a small space. Make your tiny yard your favorite room in the house!
In small spaces, like this simple square lot, adding texture and levels will make the space feel larger and will create the feeling of multiple “rooms.” Here, we added a small deck off the back of the house, big enough for a couple chairs. The deck creates a transitional space between the home and yard, and cascading steps make it all flow. Below the deck are several functional areas carved out by different ground covers, from gravel under the dining table to pavers under the chairs and fire pit. And, since we always love to include pollinator-supporting plants and edibles, we added a raised bed toward the back of the yard.
The challenge with small, oddly shaped yards is creating a flow that encourages use of the whole space. One of our top recommendations: use the corner, or the “in between space”,” to bridge the gap. In this setting, two disparate outdoor “rooms,” both a fire pit and a dining table, are connected by an expanse of lawn (turf and gravel would also work well). As with many of these configurations, we added a row of climate-adapted, habitat-supporting plants, which helps add beauty and texture and moves the eye throughout the yard.
We work with many clients who live in townhouses and want to be able to create a functional space out of their very small yard. In spaces like this, we recommend creating one focal point, like a fire pit with a chairs. In these hard-to-maneuver spaces, we always recommend sticking with chairs over a sofa, even if a sofa will fit. This will allow you to easily reorganize, clean, and remove the furniture. A long row of plants, positioned well for the sun, helps move the eye through the space and gives it texture.
We see a lot of “short and wide” yards, especially in urban areas where home additions encroach on already limited backyard space. The key to this type of yard is to create multiple rooms, differentiating them by ground cover and furniture. Where possible, we do recommend leaving a little bit of “free space,” such as gravel, lawn, or turf, for unstructured play, craft projects, or picnics. And, of course, we love to add climate-adapted, habitat-supporting plants wherever possible. A thin row of plants or trees at the back of the yard is a great solution for creating privacy, adding foliage, and drawing the eye toward the rear of the yard—creating the illusion of a bigger space.
For our clients in row houses in cities across the country, it’s always a challenge to think about how to organize their long and narrow yard. In these spaces, we recommend placing the focal point, generally a gathering space, toward the back of the yard, this helps move the eye through the space. We also recommend planting climate-adapted plants along the border of the yard, which makes the whole space feel cohesive, and help support the local habitat!
Many of our clients have sloped or terraced properties with small, disparate spaces to actually make use of. As with many of these small yards, thinking about the area in terms of distinct “rooms” helps make the most out of a small or disjointed space. We recommend getting creative with split spaces—give each area its own function and personality with distinct furniture and styling.