How can I turn my tiny backyard into something special?

modern outdoor area with pergola in a small backyard

Do you have a small outdoor space and aren’t sure what to do with it? If you’re looking for inspiration, Zones is here to help. Here’s our curated collection of tiny backyards that prove great things can come in small packages:

Vertical Gardens

Vertical gardens, also known as green walls or living walls, are a versatile and imaginative way to adorn your small backyard with lush foliage and colorful blooms. By utilizing vertical surfaces such as walls, fences, or trellises, you can introduce a stunning array of plant life that might otherwise be elusive due to space constraints. The upward growth of plants not only adds an enchanting visual element to your backyard but also helps with privacy, block unsightly views, or even dampen noise levels, enhancing your overall outdoor experience.

See the full garden project here

The Outdoor Room

This cosy space has just about everything you could need in an outdoor room and, because it incorporates a fire as well as shade, can be used almost all year round. The landscape architect says it makes sense to stick to a simple palette of natural materials in a smaller space like this one. ‘While there’s a lot of hard landscaping and man-made materials here, the use of natural materials, such as timber and stone, help soften and warm it up,’ she says. Contained bamboo planting is a low maintenance option, which means less time spent gardening and more time enjoying the outdoor room.

outdoor kitchen area with a fireplace, barbeque and an umbrella

Vertical Screens and Privacy Panels

Vertical screens and privacy panels are a favored choice for maximising small backyards by clearly defining spaces and helping with privacy. These panels also double as support for climbing plants, transforming into living art pieces with changing seasonal appeal. With various styles and materials available, they allow for personalization and enhance the overall aesthetics of your outdoor space.

See how a timber privacy screen was used in this landscaping project

The Colourful Deck

This simple Asian-inspired garden layers lush planting, graphic shapes and vibrant colours to create a high-impact, low maintenance outdoor space. Notice the tropical planting in the background, which helps keep it cool, while the domed frame of the seating area is both functional and decorative, drawing the eye outwards and upwards and making the area seem larger than it is.

deck with a colourful sofa that has a cover on top of it

The Outdoor Bathroom

The ultimate in luxury, an outdoor bath can be a stunning feature for a home in a mild climate. The sculptural lines of the tub contrast beautifully with the timber landscaping and dense foliage of the space. Alternatively, outdoor showers can be a fun – and functional – addition to a tiny outdoor area, particularly if you live near the beach and want to avoid bringing sand into your home.

bathtub in the backyard next to a fence

The Cafe at Home

This compact and contemporary outdoor space is simple, but very inviting. The timber decking, wrought iron detailing of the furniture, beachy seat cushions and simple planting, help soften the stark lines of the rooftop. The vintage-looking vessel adds character, according to the landscape architect. ‘Add interest to a smaller outdoor area with a statement piece such as a water feature, sculpture or feature plant,’ she says.

coffee table and chairs on a deck

The Outdoor Pool  

 A heated pool, spa or plunge pool can really add to a small space and provides an enticing reason to spend more time in the backyard. Atmospheric lighting, carefully-designed hardscaping and a low-maintenance planting plan is all you'll need to complete this look.  If you’d like to find out more about how Zones can help you transform your outdoor space from tiny to terrific, why not contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our friendly representatives in your area.

The Cottage Garden

This tiny garden is the perfect setting for a country cottage. The generous planting of traditional cottage garden favourites, including hydrangea and roses, creates a verdant effect in the relatively compact space. Our Zones Landscape Architect in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty, says the rose covered arbor is a simple, but smart, addition to the garden. ‘Vertical features draw the eye upwards and create an illusion of space. This arbor also frames the view of the cottage and the scent of the roses would be wonderful. Jasmine or even honeysuckle would work well here too‘.

Entrance to a rose garden by a brick building

You might be interested in reading this: How to create a resort-style backyard at home?

This article by Persephone Nicholas featured on page 108 in Issue 026 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

Get in touch with Zones to discuss your landscaping project

If you would like to discuss options and ideas for your outdoor renovation project, please use the enquiry form on this page to provide us with your contact details. We will get in touch with you at a time that suits you to discuss your landscaping design and build. If you would like to provide us with more information about your project, we have a more comprehensive enquiry form on our "Get in touch" page too.

*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.ARTICLE Persephone Nicholas

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