Landscaping for small backyards

Deck and outdoor furniture

While Auckland Central offers so many wonderful things, spacious property plots aren’t one of them. In fact, the average section size has dipped well below 500m2, some as small as 250m2, putting the dated “Kiwi quarter-acre dream” to bed. 

But not to worry. It’s not about the size of your yard; it’s what you make of it! And we’re here to help you take advantage of every corner and crevice with small garden ideas to make the most of your outdoor area. 

Pergola with side shade blinds

Benefits of a small backyard


If weekends spent weeding, watering, and worrying about whether your shrubs will make it through the season don’t have appeal, then hiring a professional to take care of your landscaping is typically less expensive with a smaller section. Win-win!

Design flexibility 

Creating an upmarket design may have been out of your budget for a large-scale landscape, but with a decreased scope, your vision could be more achievable in a smaller footprint.

Deck outdoor area framed by planting

Five tips to make the most of your small landscape

  1. Try a terraced vertical garden bed

When ground space is limited, work up! Get creative with your space and select climbing plants that can safely grow up fences, walls, and other vertical surfaces. Look for underutilised areas of your yard and build a vertical garden using hanging plant boxes or tall plant stands. 

  1. Focus on indoor-outdoor flow

Connecting your lounge to an outdoor living space through bi-fold doors or something similar will make both spaces feel bigger with an effortless flow that improves functionality too.

  1. Choose multipurpose furniture

In small spaces, anything that serves more than one purpose is helpful. Outside, be discerning with your furniture choices and opt for something like a convertible bench or a space-saving fold-and-store dining set. 

  1. Add Moveable Planter Boxes

This is a great solution for homeowners and renters alike. Mobile planters help keep your space flexible. One day you may need space to entertain guests. Simply move your plants to the side of your section or tuck them away in a corner. They also allow you to adjust your plants’ location throughout the year to get optimal sunlight as it changes with the seasons. 

  1. Work with what you have

Don’t focus on what you’re lacking, work with what you’ve got. For example, if all you have is a sliver of space near the fence, select tall plants for narrow beds or plant an array of eye-catching border plants! A little goes a long way. 

Tropical planting beside spa pool

Small backyard ideas and inspiration

Ask any real estate agent why they stage a property, and they’ll tell you it’s because people perceive empty spaces to be smaller than they actually are. Would you believe us if we told you an empty section under 100m2 could fit a spa pool, seating area, and a deck that could accommodate not one, but two barbecue grills? If not, check out this lush spa retreat in St. Heliers, which was brought to life in only 62m2. And, only a bit larger, this beautiful entertainer’s backyard in Point Chev comes in at just 120m2!

For those homeowners who want something low-maintenance but also need a lawn for their fur babies, this one's for you: this Remuera landscaping project utilised the dead space under the second-storey deck to house some small plants and their beloved Bird of Paradise, leaving the rest of their section open to lay fresh turf for their new pup to play on. 

Corner of the backyard with chairs

Ready to discuss some small garden ideas? 

Our team has helped dozens of Auckland Central homeowners create landscape design plans for small yards, and we’d love to discuss your ideas too! Just get in touch with a local Auckland Central Landscaping Consultant to arrange a free initial consultation.

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