8 Backyard Projects for Small Spaces

A vertical garden behind some patio furniture.

You can improve the look of your backyard without undertaking a major project or spending a lot of money. Even in the smallest of spaces, some extra decor and design can really transform a backyard into an oasis. From custom benches to space-saving gardening ideas, here are eight backyard projects for small spaces.

1. Tiered Planters

When you don’t have a lot of space to work with but still want beautiful flowers, tiered planters are the way to go. Build a rectangle box using five boards of your choice (recycled lumber works great) and use wood glue or screws to hold into place. Build as many boxes as you’d like, increasing the size by a few inches for each tier. Once the boxes are complete, stack them in a tiered structure with the front of each box resting on the box below. Place large posts in the rear bottom of each box to hold up the layers.

2. Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens are a great way to grow plants while taking up as little space as possible. You can use a variety of different materials for a vertical garden, including old mason jars, wood boxes, tin cans, or other recycled materials. Whatever you use to hold the plants, you can hang them using hooks and a wood trellis or even suspend them with a hook and wire, depending on your need.

3. Seating

Backyard furniture isn’t cheap and finding the right fit can take time. To cut down on expenses and make the perfect fit for your space, build a custom bench for your backyard. Simply stack some concrete blocks to a desired height and place a foam pad on top. You can decorate the pad and blocks with any color you like and add throw pillows for extra style.

4. Bug Off

Tiki torch bottles in a yard.

There’s little else that ruins a backyard party like a few insect bites. To rid yourself of unwanted pests, install a series of bug repellent candles. Place a tiki replacement wick into an old wine bottle and soak with some torch fuel. You can attach the bottle to your house with a copper cupping, thread rod, and a few bolts and screws. Add a copper cap to help hold up the wick as it burns.

5. Add Depth

There’s little you can do to change the size of your backyard, but you can make it look larger. Just hang a few old mirrors on your fence to reflect the surrounding area. The reflection will make the yard look bigger and you can use the mirrors to infuse a little color into the scenery. You can also add depth by installing a prominent walkway around your patio or deck. The walkway can be constructed with rocks, stones, or other materials, and will help take attention away from the rest of the yard.

6. Lighting

Outdoor lighting.

Incorporating lights into your backyard is a great way to keep the party going—even late into the night. The key is to avoid adding so much light that it becomes distracting. With that in mind, you can add overhead lights to just about any space, including draping them around a tree or using them as a centerpiece on a porch or table.

7. Mobile Gardens

Take a raised garden to the next level by adding some wheels. Not only is this project doable in a small space, but you can always move it around whenever needed. You can make this project using a few 2x4s, corner posts, and some screws. Build according to the specs in your space and decorate to fit existing furniture.

8. Outdoor Canopy

A canopy over a patio with a dog.

You can construct a nice outdoor canopy as a weather shield with as little as four poles and a dropcloth. Further, you can build the canopy for whatever size space is available and it won’t break your budget. Drive the poles into the ground and suspend a waterproof drop cloth on each corner. This might not protect you against a windy storm, but it will keep your guests dry if the weather starts to turn.