How to Decorate a Small Backyard

Living in a small suburban community or in the inner city usually means you sacrifice space for location; and if you have a backyard at all, it is most likely very small. While some people dream of installing a large deck or an olympic-size swimming pool in their backyard, sometimes not every homeowner is blessed with acres of outdoor space to work with.

You may not be able to change the size of your backyard, but there are ways you can decorate the space to make it more comfortable and appealing. If you have a small backyard every centimetre counts, so we're sharing some tips and tricks on how to make the most of the little space you may have out the back. Here are some small backyard decorating ideas that can help you maximise your outdoor area for both entertaining and leisure.

Focus on lighting

Focus on Lighting

Whether you're blessed with immense natural light or your little patio doesn’t get much sun, lighting is still incredibly important, especially when you are dealing with an outdoor space. Like lighting inside, incorporating a layered look when choosing outdoor illumination is an absolute must. By layering your lighting you can easily change the mood from dinner with your husband to party with you with your girlfriends with just the flick of a switch.

Ambient lighting can help to brighten up the entire space, especially when nighttime hits. To achieve this brightness, you will need a central light that can get quite bright. Light up your backyard with an aesthetic garden lamp post. Suitable for snowy winter days or hot summer nights, this traditional style lighting goes a long way and can be placed in a small garden surrounded by plants on stand on its own next to your back door. 

Task lighting can be used to illuminate areas where you are performing specific tasks, such as cooking on the BBQ or to light up a table during meals. Consider hanging wall lights on the outside of your home to better illuminate these tasks when utilising your backyard when the sun goes down. 

Accent lights or feature lights make a space feel warm and inviting. These lights are the finishing touch and serve more as decoration to set the mood, then as a bright light source. Try hanging a few fairy lights or Japanese lanterns around your backyard to add a little whimsical fun to your outdoor space.

Purchase a garden arch

Garden Arch

Whatever look you are trying to achieve, a garden arch can make a real difference in a small backyard. Not only can it highlight the entrance area and add height and dimension to the space, but you can use it to decorate and determine the overall ambience of the space. Adding a grand feel to a small yard, a garden arch can provide support for greenery and a structured entry way at the same time. 

Because of its tall and lean stature, setting up a garden arch eliminates the fear that space could be wasted. Easy to erect, one way you can make the most of your garden arch is by planting some vines around the base. Water and watch the vines grow and wrap around the iron, adding a natural but decorative element to your small backyard space. 

Divide the space and create a grassy nook

Grassy Nook

If your backyard is small, make use of the space by incorporating some grass. Grass can not only make your yard appear larger, but it also gives space for your children to play and pets to run around. Grass can also serve as a nice place to set up a picnic or just lay down and relax on a beach towel and catch some rays. Whether you use sod or turf, a little bit of green can make your backyard look like a magical oasis.

A grassy nook wouldn't be complete without a comfortable outdoor hammock chair. Snuggle up with a good book or just relax and enjoy the sun in a comfortable hammock chair. Woven from delicate materials, outdoor hammocks make the perfect addition to a small backyard. Not taking up too much space, these hammocks can be tucked away in a corner or installed out in the open. 

Decorate with plants

Outdoor plants are a fun way to jazz up your small backyard. They can make it feel more inviting and comfortable, and if you’re creative with wall hangings, potting and planting, they don’t take up much space at all. Be conscious of how much sun your backyard gets. If it’s extremely sunny, choose plants that do well in the heat and sun. If your yard gets considerable shade, think about planting foliage that doesn’t require much light to survive. 

Plants also allow you to play with colour and height in your backyard. With thousands of plant types to choose from, you can create a desert oasis with cactuses and succulents or build the garden of your dream with vibrant sunflowers and lucious ferns. But be careful and remember less is more. Too many plants can make the space feel crowded and at the end of the day, it’s a backyard, not a jungle. 

Dress up the walls

Get creative! Wall art isn’t reserved just for the inside of your house. Spice up the bland walls of your home's exterior with some decorations. From photographic prints to woven wall hangings and shelves for plants and herbs, choose something that goes with your decor to make the walls surrounding your small backyard a little more interesting.

For more backyard inspiration, shop Ivory & Deene. As a family run business, Ivory & Deene has been providing families across Australia with on trend and affordable accessories for almost 20 years. If you are looking for specific accessories to use in your backyard or if you just want to speak to one of our friendly team members, send us an email at or give our office a call at (+61) 03 6776 1674. Someone will be in touch shortly regarding your enquiry.