Minimalist outdoor dip pool concept image for maximizing your outdoor space

Small outdoor spaces have big landscape design potential. Just because you’re limited in size does not minimize your scope — or the creative potential for features including waterfalls, ponds, gardens, patio areas, and pools. Even with a small backyard, you can still have it all. The key is scaling landscape features to suit a petite footprint. Maximizing your outdoor space can transform your home into a personal oasis, providing a relaxing and functional retreat from the stresses of daily life.

At Land of ELITE, we view small backyards as an invitation to explore fresh ways of outfitting outdoor spaces with the amenities you want without crowding the area. You might be surprised how design strategies can make a small yard look roomy, and you won’t have to sacrifice the dining, entertaining, gardening, and play you can enjoy at home.

Are you looking for ideas for small yards? We say, think big! Here are some great landscape concepts for compact outdoor spaces.


Multi-purpose courtyard with vibrant plants


Create a Multi-Purpose Courtyard

Just because you call it a back “yard” does not mean turf is required. Small outdoor spaces can function well with a courtyard patio that acts as a “floor,” with a range of materials that can be used, including sleek bluestone, pavers laid out in various designs, or natural stone that offers an organic look. The courtyard can be divided into “rooms” to define spaces for cooking, dining, or gathering with a right-sized fire feature. Container plantings can serve as natural walls that are unobtrusive and easy to move while adding color and texture.


Vertical plantings creating beautiful accent to your outdoor space


Grow Up with Vertical Plantings

Add privacy to your small backyard with a fence or trellis treatment, and use the walls as a canvas for growing annuals, herbs, and wispy grasses that might fill the gap for green if your yard is not large enough to grow a lawn. Custom walls can incorporate planter boxes or fixtures to hold attractive containers.


Well maintained wood deck for your outdoor activities


Decked Out for Outdoor Enjoyment

Our advice: Rethink the deck. It is a base for building all the outdoor living features you want to enjoy. Far beyond a place to put patio furniture, a custom deck crafted from high-quality materials can be enhanced with handmade planter boxes, privacy screens that support climbing plants, lighting to extend the time you spend outdoors, and a dedicated grilling area with amenities like built-in refrigeration, storage and plumbing for a sink.


Specialty garden with vibrant and colorful plants


Specialty Gardens for Small Spaces

Set a theme for your small backyard, and then go all out. Specialty gardens can speak to your hobbies, such as a chef’s garden with linear raised beds and pebble walkways — and a seating area, of course, so you can be surrounded by the sights and smells of homegrown bounty while plucking ingredients. Attract birds and butterflies with pollinator plantings. Whatever your goals for spending time outdoors, we can tailor an outdoor living environment that makes the most of your space.


Versatile container with beautiful flowers


Versatile Containers with Mix-and-Match Potential

We love how flexible containers are for any space, whether an entry area or patio, along pathways, or as a focal point. By treating containers as moveable garden beds, you can pack a lot of plants into compact spaces. Selecting different container sizes and heights allows for groupings that deliver an attractive layered landscape look without digging out beds. Within containers, we plant in tiers, beginning with trailing plants we call “spillers,” then “fillers” that can include colorful perennials with lush foliage, and finally, a “thriller” tall plant that draws the eye up.


Waterfall and pond concept image for outdoor water features


Small-Space Water Features

The peaceful sound of water makes any backyard space feel like a relaxing retreat. You don’t need a whole lot of room to incorporate a custom water feature. Pondless water features incorporated into natural stone can be a focal point or tucked into a corner space. A waterfall can cascade into a quaint pond with surrounding plantings.


Well maintained outdoor pool


Take the Plunge – Spool Pools and Cocktail Pools

Multifunctional pools that fit into tight spaces include the plunge pool that is large enough for exercise, and you can add swim jets that provide resistance to get a great workout in a small pool. Spool pools usually measure 10 to 16 feet long and 6 to 8 feet wide, and they include jets, so it functions as a spa — or a wading pool when the jets are off. Cocktail pools are smaller and might include built-in stools and a bar area. These petite pools significantly impact and can fit into a backyard corner for other living spaces. Or, they can be staged as the focal point with surrounding pool decking and container plantings to add color.

An ELITE Approach to Small Backyard Landscape Design

Think big. When you enlist in a professional landscape design and installation firm with experience creating luxury outdoor living spaces of all sizes, you can maximize your backyard square footage while increasing property value and your time at home.

How can we help? Our design and build landscape professionals bring inspiration, expertise, and professionalism to every project. Let’s talk. Reach out by calling (845) 849-2953 or filling out this simple contact form, and we’ll contact you.

10 Steps to the Perfect Pool

Figure out what you need to do to build your dream pool by downloading our guide today!

10 Steps to the Perfect Pool Report ELI