Most homeowners know that buying a property often comes along with certain amount of compromise. For some, this means making peace with a cozy yard rather than sprawling grounds. We’ve compiled 15 small backyard ideas to help turn that compromise into a favorite feature.

With just a little forethought and planning, your postage stamp yard can be transformed into an charming hideaway that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Additionally, though it may be further down the road, if you’re planning on selling your home in the future, the right design could potentially turn a once-negative selling feature into an appreciating asset.

As for how to go about re-imaging the space, while personal style will undoubtedly play a pivotal role, there a few tips that will help ensure success. Our small backyard ideas will have you relaxing in a space that is so equally functional and aesthetically pleasing that you won’t even be thinking about the square footage.

Give Your Space Function

One of the ways make a space look cohesive is by defining its function. Start by thinking about the ways in which you’d ideally like to use your exterior. Maybe a large dining table is key for al fresco summer dining. Perhaps you’d prefer a plush seating area that’s perfect for relaxation or even a fire pit. Depending on how much space is available, you can consider sticking with one main function or breaking your yard up into a few distinct areas.

Create Focal Points With Pathways

When people first glance at a space, they tend to scan the area as a whole, which is one of the quickest ways to realize how little square footage is actually available. You can change that perception by giving the eyes a strong focal point to land on instead.

Consider making a pathway through your backyard with pavers or stones that will define a clear sense of movement throughout the area. If you’ve chosen to divide your yard up for a few separate uses, make sure that you include a pathway to each.

Cheat Height With Vertical Landscaping

Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to add more width to your small backyard, your only choice for creating the illusion of having more space is to go upwards. Vertical landscaping will encourage the eye to take height into account when viewing the yard and will make it feel more spacious.

Make sure to use a variety of plants at varying heights to capitalize on the amount of visual interest you’re bringing to the space. Include tall plants like shady trees, stoic perennials, and sprawling ivy, but you can also throw shorter plants into the mix by stacking them up in graduated planters or flower beds.

Add Bold Colors To Your Small Backyard

Small backyards naturally offer fewer opportunities to add pops of visual interest than their more spacious counterparts, but using bold colors is one of the easiest ways to make each one count. Just the same as your would with your interiors, you can bring color through the cushions and throw pillows that adorn your seating sets, but don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from nature as well.

Flowers in bloom are an excellent way to add a strong pop of color to any outdoor space. For a truly pulled together look, focus on sticking to 2-3 colors and designing your entire yard with the same cohesive color scheme.

Keep It Simple

Whoever first said “less is more” may very well have been brainstorming small backyard ideas. When there is only a small amount of space available, it becomes very easy for the eye to get overwhelmed and your yard to appear cluttered. Streamline your design by keeping decor items on the minimal side. Additionally, make sure that your lawn stays well-maintained with regular cuttings and proper plant care. If you have little ones who are prone to leaving out toys and sporting equipment, do your best to encourage cleaning up as a priority.