20 Ways to Make Your Tiny Backyard Super Awesome for Summer

Tiny backyard with decorated seating, gray table and wicker chairs

The Spruce / Almar Creative

Wait, what? Your tiny backyard isn’t exactly warm weather ready? No matter how small, outdoor space is an awful thing to waste. Stealing a few of these summery ideas will transform your itty-bitty slice of nature into an inviting retreat.

  • 01 of 20

    DIY Hot Tub

    backyard patio hot tub

    @herzenstimme / Instagram

    This gorgeous DIY spa corner from @herzenstimme looks like an absolute dream. They constructed the surrounding deck and then lowered an inflatable whirlpool hot tub into the structure. Add some decadent string lights and decor, and this corner is the perfect space to relax and unwind—without taking up your whole yard.

  • 02 of 20

    Stock Tank Pool

    stock tank pool backyard

    @sunwoven / Instagram

    No self-respecting adult should spend the summer wading in a plastic kiddie pool. When the heat is on, you should be cooling off in a plunge pool instead. You can hack one for cheap using a galvanized steel stock tank. 

    If you're not in the know, stock tanks are giant water bowls for cattle and horses. Most farm and ranch stores sell them in a variety of shapes and sizes. Arguably, round 8-foot wide tanks make the best plunge pools—one that measures 2 feet tall holds more than 500 gallons of water.

    This gorgeous tank from @sunwoven shows that a stock tank pool doesn't have to be basic silver or bland option. Add a bright coat of paint and position it near your outdoor dining or lounge chairs to create the perfect oasis.

  • 03 of 20

    Create Separate Spaces

    small backyard with border of plants along fence

    Photo by Lane Ditto / Design by Mindy Gayer

    When dealing with a smaller backyard space, it can be easy for things to feel cramped and chaotic. By creating separate areas for different activities, you can give the impression of a larger space. This backyard has a clear divide for dining, the firepit, and lounge chairs facing towards the sun. The borders are small, but the distinct places are apparent rather than blending into each other.

  • 04 of 20

    Create DIY Furniture

    wood palettes creating cozy seating

    @s.u.s.a.p / Instagram

    Trying to find furniture that fits your preferences and space for your backyard can have its challenges. Constructing your own out of wood palettes can be a unique solution. Choose the dimensions based on your available area and build benches out of the palettes, then add pillows and cushions on top to create a seating area.

    Continue to 5 of 20 below.
  • 05 of 20

    Opt for Easily Moveable Seating

    wicker furniture by the pool

    @jcdesign1.1 / Instagram

    A small backyard requires some flexibility in making things work. Choosing seating options that can be easily moved and rearranged in different positions can help create more space when you need it.

  • 06 of 20

    Opt for a Hammock

    hammock setup in a backyard with pebble gravel

    The Home Consultant

    Trying to relax in your backyard with limited space can feel like a challenge, but it doesn't have to be. A hammock is a classic addition to any outdoor space—all that is required is two posts, trees, or even walls to hang the hammock from. This space from The Home Consultant takes this empty space in the backyard and uses the walls of the privacy fence to hold the hammock—creating the perfect relaxation corner.

  • 07 of 20

    Large Outdoor Umbrella

    backyard patio with large umbrella

    @jcdesign1.1 / Instagram

    When the sun is beating down, a backyard umbrella will keep you protected from harsh daylight. A recent study revealed umbrellas can block at least 77 percent of harmful UV rays. This patio space from @jcdesign1.1 displays an umbrella that is as stylish as it is functional. Rather than the umbrella being mounted into the table, this free-standing option can allow the umbrella to be moved into different spots depending on where the sun's rays are beaming down.

  • 08 of 20

    Create a Corner

    small backyard corner

    @homebypolly / Instagram

    It's surprising what you can do with unused space. Creating a specific corner dedicated to a particular concept—sitting with guests, reading and relaxing alone, etc.—can help give a lift to your standard backyard. This space from @homebypolly has a small seating area accented by candles, string lights, and tons of plants, creating the perfect cozy environment to escape to.

    Continue to 9 of 20 below.
  • 09 of 20

    Add Tile to the Patio

    backyard with tile patio

    Photo by Tessa Neustadt / Design by Emily Henderson

    This gorgeous patio setup from Emily Henderson Design shows how a simple tile pattern can liven up any outdoor space with ease. The patio creates a fresh, streamlined appearance that is the perfect backdrop to entertain guests.

  • 10 of 20

    Make the Most of Your Architecture

    pergola on back porch

    The Home Consultant

    Sometimes we neglect what our homes and outdoor spaces already offer to us. With some creative thinking, you can use what you already have to create something unique and unexpected. The pergola attached to this home designed by The Home Consultant is stunning on its own, but attaching a wicker hanging chair to one of the posts gives the space a delightful upgrade.

  • 11 of 20

    Bohemian Patio Furniture

    boho style patio furniture

    @jcdesign1.1 / Instagram

    What's the secret to creating an outdoor living room you'll enjoy using? Make it just as comfy and stylish as your indoor living room. 

    This Bohemian-style patio by @jcdesign1.1 is a beautiful mash-up of different textures and styles. The key is to use pieces appropriate for outdoor use like weather-resistant fabrics, resin wicker, rustproof aluminum, or wood like teak that stands up to extreme weather conditions.

  • 12 of 20

    Dining Area

    small pergola used to section a dining area

    The Home Consultant

    Add an extra element to your backyard by creating a space to dine al fresco. This gorgeous space from The Home Consultant has a dining area positioned underneath the constructed pergola—which can provide much-needed shade during those hot summer days.

    Continue to 13 of 20 below.
  • 13 of 20

    Paint Your Chairs

    colorful outdoor chairs

    Dazey Den

    Do you already have a patio set that is still in good shape but a little outdated? Try adding a fresh coat of paint to liven things up. Whether you choose a subtle hue or something bright and bold like this set from Dazey Den, you may be surprised by how far a little paint refresh can go.

  • 14 of 20

    Opt for Smaller Patio Furniture

    planters used to help with privacy

    The Home Consultant

    You don't need a ton of seating or an oversized table on your patio to make an impression. Choosing a smaller table and chairs that appropriately fit the space can give the appearance of a more spacious atmosphere rather than a cramped one.

  • 15 of 20

    Build a Custom Deck

    custom built wood deck

    The Home Consultant

    Just because you're working with a smaller backyard doesn't mean you have to miss out on certain things. Construct a customized deck that attaches to the back of your home, and customize it to suit the amount of space you have. The small deck on the back of this home was constructed to add an extra lift to the space. A few potted plants, a firepit, and geometric chairs create the ideal minimalist space.

  • 16 of 20

    Modernize the Patio

    modern style patio setup in backyard

    The Home Consultant

    Rather than traditional, why not try and add a modern touch to your outdoor space? This backyard from The Home Consultant has a decidedly modern feel with laid gravel and white cement tiles stretching across the length of the area. Wooden furniture with crisp white cushions and square flower boxes with greenery gives a sophisticated vibe.

    Continue to 17 of 20 below.
  • 17 of 20

    Add a Bar Cart

    lounge chairs with golden bar cart

    Michelle Boudreau Design

    Entertaining in a small space certainly has its challenges. While you may not have room for a giant dining area, you can still work with smaller options—like a moveable bar cart. Adding a few drink options with glassware can be perfect for entertaining and be used for additional storage when guests aren't around. Choosing an option on wheels allows you to tuck it out of the way when not in use.

  • 18 of 20

    Embrace Shade Options

    shaded area in backyard with driftwood table

    @milkandhoneylife / Instagram

    There are plenty of possible shade options you can invite into your backyard to keep the sun from beaming down on you too harshly. With a smaller space, you can even opt for a more prominent shade choice knowing it will cover more ground than a standard umbrella. This triangle sail shade creates plenty of coverage for a picnic or a lazy evening spent outdoors.

  • 19 of 20

    Outdoor Rug

    backyard with outdoor rug

    @modernhousevibes / Instagram

    Sometimes the smallest changes can really transform a space. While switching out or adding a new rug indoors is a no-brainer, the same concept can be applied outdoors as well. Adding a durable yet stylish outdoor rug in your space can help create a cohesive theme if you have a specific preference for your patio furniture and color scheme.

  • 20 of 20

    Small Round Table

    backyard with small round table and planters

    @modernhousevibes / Instagram

    Opting for smaller, rounder furniture can free up more space in a smaller setting. Without rough edges to avoid, the illusion of more space is created. Modern House Vibes showcases an ideal example here—the round plant potholders and lanterns, and armrests on the seating repeat a similar pattern.

Article Sources
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  1. McMichael, Josette R., et al. UV Radiation Protection by Handheld UmbrellasJAMA Dermatology, vol. 149, no. 6, 2013, p. 757. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.2519

  2. Teak furniture is the best furniture. Florida Atlantic University