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Transform Your Tiny Oasis: Creative Small Backyard Ideas for Big Impact

If you’ve got a small backyard and are wondering how to give it some ‘pizazz’ to transform your smaller outdoor spaces into your own mini outdoor retreats, you’ve landed on the right spot.

Hey, Melbourne outdoor living enthusiasts! If you’re taking advantage of Melbourne city living or live in the suburbs or developments with small backyard spaces, you’re not alone. With housing prices what they are today and the convenience of living closer to the hustle and bustle, many are trading in large properties for the ultra convenience of being close to all the action.

But the good news is that you can still enjoy the very best of outdoor living, even with a small backyard. All you need is the right small backyard landscaping ideas — and we’ve got plenty ready to go.

As a Victorian family business that has been transforming backyards in greater Melbourne for more than 25 years, we have seen plenty of stunning transformations of small backyard spaces first-hand.

So, we’ve put together a list of small backyard landscaping ideas for Australian backyards to give you the inspiration you need.

Here are some easy and practical small backyard ideas that will make a big impact on smaller backyard spaces.

1. Pocket gardens

Short on space but love greenery? Go for pocket gardens. Pocket gardens are compact gardens designed to utilise small spaces efficiently. This is one of our favourite small backyard landscaping ideas for Australian small backyards, as they can work with whatever outdoor structure takes your fancy and can add something extra special to your outdoor living spaces. 

You can add pocket gardens to any small nooks and unused corners in your backyard space, and can even be added vertically. Filling all of your little pockets of unused space can really tie your space together, and create the appearance of more space by connecting your patio or verandah to your backyard garden.

To keep your pocket garden looking great, you’ll just need to make sure that you manage it regularly, cutting back and pruning the plants within it as you need to.

In Melbourne, great plant ideas for your pocket garden are drought-resistant plants like succulents (that also need minimal upkeep) and Australian natives, designed to last in our tough Aussie conditions. Consider planting local Australian beauties like kangaroo paws or banksias in small patches or pots. They look gorgeous and are easy to care for.

2. Go vertical with a vertical garden

When the ground’s all used up, the only way is up! Set up a vertical garden on your fence or walls. You can plant herbs, ferns, or even some colourful flowers. It’s garden art for your backyard. This is a small backyard landscaping idea that works with almost any Australian backyard.

3. Go vertical in general

If you can find a way to go vertical in general, this is an excellent way to save on space and get the most functionality from your small backyard — without it looking too big. For example:

Outdoor privacy screen green wall
  • Use tiered stands to display ornaments or style pisces and pot plants.
  • Install wall-mounted shelves on your fences or walls. These can hold anything you can think of, whether it’s plants, decorative items, or something functional (like kids toys). 
  • Use vertical storage — you might not instantly think of a set of vertical drawers when you think ‘outdoors’ but adding these to your verandah storage or garden shed will help you maximise your space in your small backyard. White shelves can look quite lovely outdoors, particularly if they are decorated with strategically placed potted plants. 
  • Ladder stands look great in the backyard, and maximise space for small backyards in Australia. Again, these can be used for display items, storage, or to hold potted plants. 
  • Consider vertical tool storage in a protected spot that’s out of the way. Hooks or magnetic strips work well for this and free up ground space. Just keep it out of sight of the main relaxation and entertaining areas in your backyard and out of the reach of little ones. 

4. Add green walls or living walls as art pieces

Beyond the usual vertical garden, create a living mural with a mix of foliage and flowering plants. These green walls can also act as natural insulation, keeping the area cooler.

5. Maximise your small outdoor space with multi-use furniture

Here’s a small backyard idea you might not have considered: invest in furniture that does double-duty. What do we mean here? There are several outdoor furniture options these days that are designed for small spaces and multi use functions. 

For example, there are benches that have storage inside, foldable furniture you can stash away when not needed, and table and chair settings that allow the chair to be neatly tucked under the table and out of sight when the chair is not in use. There are also extendable outdoor tables that can be extended when you have more guests and kept small during your day-to-day. There are even coffee tables that lift up with hidden storage underneath. 

All of these multi-use furniture inventions can be great space-savers in small backyards.

6. Light it up

A string of fairy lights or some lanterns can instantly increase the magic of your outdoor spaces. Drape them across your pergola, around your patio, wrap them around your trees, or even along your fence. Your garden landscape will be transformed in the evenings and you’ll get maximum enjoyment.

7. Consider wall-mounted water features

Instead of ground-based fountains, consider wall-mounted water features. They can provide the soothing sounds of water without taking up valuable floor space. 

If a wall-mounted water feature is a little too new-wave for you however, you can also opt for a water feature that is taller than it is wide and deep. There are plenty of stunning water features that don’t take up much space at all. Pop it in a corner, or feature it in the middle of your garden, and you’ll have a big impact that takes up little space.

 

8. Elevated fire pits or fireplaces

If space allows, a raised fire pit or fireplace can become a dramatic focal point. This elevates the flames to eye level when seated, enhancing the ambiance.

9. Think layers, and heights

When you have a small backyard and are looking for creative small backyard landscaping ideas that you can use, think vertically, but also think in layers. 

The key to using vertical space effectively is to think in terms of layers and heights, ensuring each level has both a functional and aesthetic purpose. 

The best use of vertical space incorporates different heights and layers of vertical, so no one height becomes overcrowded.

10. Pergola hangout spot

In fact, pergolas are great for small garden spaces… Here’s why… 

Imagine this: a stunning pergola, (an outdoor structure made of vertical posts that support an open roof of beams or latticework) standing in the middle of luscious green lawn or placed next to a water feature, covered with climbing vines like Wisteria or Hardenbergia. 

Throw in a hammock, a swing, or an outdoor recliner, and you’ve got a perfect spot for your weekend reads or evening wines.

A pergola isn’t just a fancy structure; it’s your future hangout spot and a way to integrate your garden and your rest and relaxation into one zone for maximum space efficiency and aesthetic impact.

Pergolas can be attached to your main house structure or freestanding structures in your backyard area and look absolutely stunning. These can come in a range of sizes, and go perfectly in even the smallest of outdoor spaces.

Louvre pergola on a modern single-storey home.

The best thing is that your imagination is the only limit here; you can add hanging pot plants, run fairy lights, and add plenty of greenery and floral bursts of colour to your pergola to completely transform your space.

 

Over time, any climbers that you have can be integrated into the latticework, providing a natural canopy overhead. At Discounted Patios, we also have a number of roofing options available for you to get the aesthetic and functionality you need.

 

For visual inspiration, check out our Pergolas page, or, for advice from the experts, get in touch with our team today.

11. Garden archways

Narrow but tall garden archway features or beams can be installed in your small garden, not only to support plants but also to add height to bring your space up visually (by drawing the eye up). Garden archways can also be a great use of space, as they allow you to grow more things vertically in your main garden area.

12. Think outside the box: carport magic

Who said carports are only for cars? On days you aren’t parking, throw down some rugs, get some cushions, and you’ve got an open-air lounge. And for those special movie nights? A projector and a white sheet will do the trick! While this isn’t technically an Australian landscaping ideas suggestion, it is a great idea for maximising your enjoyment of your outdoor living structures in a small backyard.

Using your carport as a multi-use space is also the perfect solution for outdoor dining if you’re hosting a party or some guests — hang some lanterns or fairylights, add some portable seating and relaxation areas, place some cushions and rugs around the place, and you’ve got a cute space for people to sit, relax, and catch up.

13. Add a verandah or patio

If you’re looking for small backyard landscaping ideas designed for the outdoor Australian lifestyle, you may just need a patio or verandah with personality.

These outdoor areas are usually used for outdoor dining and relaxation and effectively extend your living spaces dramatically, creating a sense of space and openness. 

We’ve found, through helping many families in Melbourne transform their small outdoor spaces, that verandahs and patios make a huge difference to the lifestyle that a small backyard can give you.

Verandahs and patios maximise the enjoyment of your outdoor spaces while adding a stunning visual appeal. 

Not only do these outdoor living structures provide protection against the elements, shade, and allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces in comfort, but they also look fantastic aesthetically, creating a lovely atmosphere to relax in, and extend your living areas into your outdoor space. 

Verandahs and patios are both roofed platform structures that usually run along the outside of your house. They act as an extension of your living space, and connect your main house and living areas to your outdoor spaces and backyard. These structures create an outdoor living space, and a well designed outdoor living structure can really enhance the enjoyment of your backyard — from a more comfortable place to relax to introducing the perfect space for outdoor dining and entertaining guests. 

For visual inspiration, be sure to check out our patios page, or reach out to our friendly team — with over 25 years experience in transforming Melbourne backyards with the very best outdoor living solutions, we’ve got plenty of ideas, and have perfected many backyards, tiny and large alike.

Need help with your verandah, patio, pergola or other outdoor living structure?

As a quick side note, we’d like to say that if you’re looking to add an outdoor living structure to your Melbourne backyard, our experts at Discounted Patios are here to help. 

With options like overhead patio fans and so many customisation options, the outdoor living specialists at Discounted Patios are able to help you create something truly special. If you start with a patio that ticks all the boxes for spacious relaxation, the rest of your small backyard landscaping really just needs to focus on nailing your garden. 

14. Create comfy relaxation spaces within your patio or verandah

Once you have a great or patio verandah, all you need to do is add the furniture and design elements that will make this space extra comfy and inviting. 

Think outdoor couches, recliners or day beds, coffee tables and plush outdoor cushions. If you have the space, you could also add an outdoor setting. If you don’t have much space, consider adding an outdoor rug to anchor the space. 

You can add features like flower beds, herb gardens or potted plants to frame them, fun outdoor kitchen extras like a BBQ or stone pizza oven, and complete the look with an outdoor dining set that is minimalist in design but ultra-comfortable and inviting. 

Don’t forget to add plenty of greenery — whether that’s in potted plants, or interwoven among the verandah’s support beams, or making use of your vertical space.

Your backyard transformation specialists

Remember Melbourne, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to backyards. 

Even with a small backyard, the possibilities are endless. It’s all about creativity and making the space truly yours. So get out there and transform that backyard! 

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our compilations of small backyard landscaping ideas for Australian backyards in Melbourne. 

If you’d like help with the outdoor living solutions that are going to transform your outdoor space and tie in perfectly with the rest of your backyard landscaping, our team is here to help. With over 25 years transforming Meelbourne backyards big and small, we have more than a few ideas up our sleeves. Not to mention, our custom patios can be completely tailored to your small backyard space, home aesthetic, lifestyle, and so much more. 

Get in touch with us today to get started on making your outdoor living dreams a reality with the very best patio, verandah, pergola and carport solutions. 

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