Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas on a Budget

Plan a yard makeover the neighbors will envy with these small backyard landscaping ideas on a budget and DIY landscaping tutorials to make it happen.

You’ll also want to read 5 Front Yard Landscaping Ideas You Can Totally Do Yourself and 5 Easy Ways to Update Your Backyard on a Budget — and don’t miss the reader-favorite 27 Beautiful Garden Edging Ideas, and 20+ Easy & Creative Flower Beds and Planters (including our Disney style flower bed planter!)

Landscaping can make the difference between having an overgrown, unused outdoor space and a private retreat for entertaining friends and enjoying family. With a few simple home improvement ideas, you can be on your way to having the backyard and outdoor area you’ve always wanted. Sit down with a sketchpad and start making plans today. Many of these ideas are DIY friendly for homeowners, or there are many qualified contractors in your area, too.

Planning Is A Great Idea

Begin your backyard landscape design by brainstorming ideas with your family. Think about how you want to use the green space, what features you would enjoy most and what things are most important to you. Don’t rule out any ideas during this step. Even if you don’t end up using them, they’ll help you think outside the box.

Once you have some good ideas on paper, sketch several possible plans for your own backyard. Regardless of the size of your dream backyard, divide it into sections according to how you want to use it. A few examples include garden, recreation, and entertaining.

canyon house backyard design
our sketched plan for the Canyon House backyard

Consider what you want the focal points of the backyard space to be. Do you want an outdoor kitchen area for barbecuing and entertaining? Is a living space more important, with outdoor rooms that enhance the surroundings and landscaping? Once you decide on a final plan for your backyard makeover and garden ideas, begin dividing the work into manageable tasks.

Deck Or Patio Area On A Tight Budget

A deck often serves as an entranceway into the backyard. More than likely, you’ll do most of your cooking and entertaining on the deck, so give it the attention it deserves.

If you don’t have a deck, consider taking on a simple design as a do-it-yourself project. Or, pour a concrete slab and frame it with a pergola.

Already have a concrete patio? Use one of these DIYs to give it a makeover!

Create a patio or deck the cost-effective way that suits your needs and your budget range. This will naturally become a focal point and a highly used part of your small backyard.

Make your deck or patio comfortable with patio furniture or other outdoor furniture and a sturdy outdoor rug — and don’t forget the outdoor string lights to create ambiance after the sun goes down! (Many of these can be found at garage sales in great shape and at great savings for your budget.)

You can also use our woodworking plans and tutorials to build your own outdoor furniture!

Recreation And Cheap Landscaping Ideas

Space to play is one of the most important factors in any backyard. Choose some activities your family enjoys doing together, and plan a room to accommodate them.

Make space for a swimming pool, swingset, badminton net, horseshoe court, yardzee and yard games or whatever else you need to help make the backyard a haven for the whole family. Keep an eye out for a good spot for a hammock, as no backyard is quite complete without one.

Gardens Are So Much Fun

A container garden for vegetables can be an enjoyable and practical way to take advantage of space in your backyard. Or, if you have plenty of small trees, a quiet shade vegetable garden may suit your style better. Even on small patio, a DIY raised garden bed can grow a lot in a few square feet!

Include a water feature fountain and a stone bench for outdoor seating and you’ll have a perfect place to relax after a long day. If nothing else, plan to work with garden beds and flowers to give your landscape some color.

Flowers and perennial plants that attract butterflies are especially nice around a deck or kitchen window. Remember, the best way to keep out weeds in the long run is to have other plants growing!

Dividers For Smaller Projects

Once you have the basics laid out for your backyard, use trees, shrubs, or other landscaping features to keep spaces separate. For example, if you have a green thumb, a few strategically placed flowering young trees and native plants can help keep the trampoline out of the plain view of the small garden, creating a better atmosphere for both with natural elements.

You can also use hardscape and DIY options to divide up the spaces in your yard, such as a stone retaining wall or a garden arbor along a walkway. Build a trellis or privacy screen to hide unsightly outdoor fixtures such as utility meters, electrical boxes, and AC units. You can also add a wood slat wall for planters to hide an unsightly cinder block fence or cement wall.

Shrub Fences Are The Best Ideas

The white picket fence look is nice but a wooden fence requires a lot of maintenance. Make a fence out of shrubs or bushes. Choose bushes that reach a height between 4 and 6 feet tall. Plant them between 3 and 4 feet from each other in a row so they create a solid hedge for privacy and curb appeal of your tiny backyard.

For an even narrower privacy fence, use a trellis and vines to create a fence or privacy screen.

Stone Wall Seating With Inexpensive Materials

There are several landscaping products available for retaining walls. Make a seating area on the edge of your patio with retaining wall blocks stacked straight up. Glue the blocks together with PL 400 adhesive to keep them sturdy and voila–a unique seating simple DIY project for friends and family.

If you can find a few stumps, these also make great seating or footrest options in an outdoor seating area.

Dyeing Concrete Is The Best Part

Give your plain concrete patio an elegant look with a concrete dye kit. The patio must be pressure washed before beginning this project to get the surface completely clean. A spray coat then is applied to the surface of the concrete before the dye goes down to allow the dye to soak in. The dye comes in powder form and you spread it in random patterns and rub it in. Use a separately purchased concrete sealer to finish the dye project with little effort.

Glass Fire Pit

Make a backyard fire pit with natural stones or manufactured blocks and fill the middle with colored glass. This will give the fire pit a bit of a wow effect when you have guests over. This type of accent is good for use with gel fire pits and natural gas or propane fire pits. You can add colored glass around the edge of a wood-burning fire pit for a dramatic effect as well. The glass comes in bags at your local building supply store.

Garden Containers and Planters

Even though your backyard may seem small, plenty of nooks and crannies lend themselves well to flower beds and containers. Vertical planters and trellis blend in well against a wall of a small patio providing the lighting is adequate for vertical gardens. Check with your local greenhouse for trailing plants or climbing plants that are zoned for your area.

Flowering trees planted next to a patio provide shade on sunny days and add another source of color to your plan. When adding pots or other containers, choose vibrant colors that blend well together to bring a tropical look to spice up the area. Flowers in shades of red and pink come in numerous varieties and blooming seasons and add a splash of color against the green of the lawn. For all-year color, plant a mixture of perennials and annuals, and add ornamental grasses for easy greenery and height in your plant beds. Read more about how to pick a thriller, a spiller, and a filler.

Small Backyard Additions

A small pond with prefab rock or stone waterfalls within the yard itself offer a soothing atmosphere and are ideal for small spaces, according to the Backyard Living website. An outdoor brick fireplace or firepit makes a great gathering space on summer evenings.

Walkways created in “wandering” patterns, brightened up with flowering border plants or ground cover blend well with the dark green of the lawn. You can create a walkway with natural stone, gravel or bark mulch, or use inexpensive concrete pavers. Add a magical feeling to the path by adding lanterns or string globe light bulbs along the trail or around a key gather spot like a fire pit.

Diy Concrete Steps Using Reclaimed Cement By Remodelaholic
DIY reclaimed concrete steps and path by my sister

Raised circular flower beds incorporated into areas around the walkway and planted with a variety of wildflowers provide a multitude of colors that accentuate the green lawn. Even adding a hammock for pure relaxation is an enhancement hard to beat as part of your landscaped backyard.

Great landscaping can add to a home’s beauty, while bad landscaping can give a house an unwelcome feeling. But coming up with original ideas can be difficult. The experts on home-improvement channels like HGTV and the DIY Network seem to have no problem coming up with original ideas for their shows.

Even their ideas, however, usually involve common concepts and materials used in an uncommon way. Cool ideas for backyard landscaping can range from very involved projects to quick fixes that improve your living area.

More backyard ideas:

Small Backyard Landscaping Ideas Remodelaholic
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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