Small Backyard Landscape

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I know I’ve been a little absent lately due to the move. Today I want to update you on the plan for our Small Backyard Landscape. This will be number one of about a million posts since it will take about forever for this plan to be completed.

For starters, we chose to not have any grass installed in our new backyard. I am not spending a fortune on sod and water to then later toss the darn stuff.

Right now our backyard is covered in weed cloth and cardboard boxes. We’ve had lots of rain and this keeps the erosion to a minimum. Plus it looks like a backyard landing strip for small planes.

Ya’ gotta add interest somehow.

Backyard Landscape

Over several cups of coffee, Mr. Seasoned Homemaker and I took a bit of time to study our yard and determine what it is we want. This is what we think we want the yard to look like. We have plans for a dry river bed (for channeling water), a firepit (top right corner) and a deck (left of covered patio).

Our plan is to go sans sod because it is impossible to get enough water on grass to keep it alive. Plus, the added cost of paying someone to mow and weed-eat.

Landscaping a small yard

I want to add interest with plants, yard sculptures, stone benches, bird baths and an integrated vegetable garden.

The plan needs to include a dry river bed because of the backyard slope. We set out hoses to see what we liked and that night we had a gully-washer. If you look closely you can see where the a natural dry river bed formed – almost exactly where we had laid it out. This is the result of a little observation and a lot of dumb luck.

Note: The green bag around the tree is called a TreeGator (affiliate link). I’ve seen something similar at Lowes, too.

Landscaping for small yards

We are going to add a low stone retaining wall because of the backyard slope. It’s not too bad, but we want to channel water and keep our dirt. Right now I have two pallets of stone and sand in my driveway that need moving to the backyard. {any volunteers to help us move this!}

Backyard Landscaping

From the other corner of the yard you can see where we want to extend the patio with a small deck. One day we may cover it, but for now, we just want a bit more space for sitting outside.

The large bed in the foreground is where I plan to integrate vegetables with native plants. I am thinking onions, garlic, chard, lettuces, peppers, and possibly some climbing things on the fence (like beans or cucumbers).

Landcaping a Small Yard

In the opposite corner we want to put a permanent fire pit that sits on a stone-ish patio. I did not want a fireplace in the house because it takes up a ton of wall space.

The fire pit is perfect. On cool evenings we can sit outside with family and friends. An added bonus is my grandkids will love it.

Backyard Landscaping Ideas

The rest will get filled in with crushed granite and then eventually flagstone paths. There will be small beds around the the (future) deck and patio.

The Small Backyard Landscape is a work in progress that I will be sharing over the next few months. Hope you will follow along as I transform this vision…

Landscaping a Small Yard

…into something like this

small yards


…or possibly this.

Small Yards


No matter what we end up with, it will not require mowing or much water. In the meantime, I will keep you posted on the progress.

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  1. I think you have a good idea about not having grass. We are in north Texas and we quit watering our lawn. The bermuda is taking over and the St. Augustine is dying out. It’s a little bit sad but we want to have only native grasses to save money on water. One recommendation I would make is put a finish of some kind on the wood fence or you will be replacing it in a few years. All your ideas seem fantastic!

  2. Whew! This is going to be a fun project … for you to do … and all of us to see! I like the see part best )
    Keep everyone posted. Oh, I agree with Deborah about a finish coat of some kind for your wood fence. I wish we had done that on our patio!

  3. Found your link at The Dedicated House. This sounds like a great plan for your backyard, the plants and paths, fire pit and deck will be the perfect additions. I agree about not wanting to bother with grass.


  4. This plan looks great, can’t wait to see what it turns into. We’re coming up on a long cold winter here in my neck of the woods and this is refreshing to read, thanks!

    1. Winter is the best time to do this type of work ~ we have long, hot summers that make a project like this impossible.

  5. I want to do something similar but instead of grass put in crushed granite/flagstone. The backyard has a courtyard feel… Also, some large potted plants

  6. Hi,
    We’ve recently moved to a home with a small backyard and are contemplating what to do. I really like your ideas. What are the dimensions of your yard roughly? Thanks and good luck!

  7. Hey Leslie,

    Great post, seems like this gonna be a beautiful garden. I was thinking grass will make it more beautiful but your idea of putting plants instead is better.

    Keep it up

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