A Guide to a Small Garden Awesome for Summer

Backyard with hanging lights

Lumina/Stocksy United

Best Outdoor Decor for Small Spaces

Wait, what? Your tiny back garden 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.

DIY Wood Deck

DIY Budget Wood Deck

Blog Home Depot

This custom wood deck was designed and constructed by Alexi Politis, for Home Depot’s DIY blog. The gutsy DIY’er had no prior carpentry or deck building experience. Say what? Most contractors would charge thousands of dollars to build a beauty like this one. How much did Alexi’s project cost? Less than £750 — Booyah!

Related: A Guide to Epic Garden Rooms and Man Caves

DIY Stock Tank Pool

DIY Stock Tank Plunge Pool

A Stroll Thru Life

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-ft wide tanks make the best plunge pools — One that measures 2-ft tall holds more than 500 gallons of water.

Most do-it-yourselfers fill it up with a garden hose. But if you want to get fancy, you can follow one blogger’s lead. This stock tank pool by Marty, the DIY blogger who pens A Stroll Thru Life uses PVC pipe as pool plumbing.

Vertical Garden Wall

diy vertical garden wall

Living Green

Nothing spruces up an ugly back garden fence like a vertical garden. This lush wall garden designed by Brandon Pruett from Living Green uses a pocket planting system called FloraFelt to show off colourful and shade-loving coral bells.

Related: 17 Ways to Turn Your Tiny Balcony into an Irresistible Retreat.


Lotus Belle

Glamping in your tiny back garden will take outdoor living to a comfy new level. But if you want to do it in style and comfort, get a cotton canvas tent like this one by Lotus Belle. It will look way better than a nylon option, plus cotton is more breathable keeping you cooler.

You want your back garden glamping experience to feel luxurious. Decorating your tent with cushy elements like a floor bed, throw pillows, and a soft rug will make your outdoor space hard to resist.



Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses

The problem: Mandatory water restrictions killed your green lawn. Now you’re stuck with a poor, sad dirt back garden. Whomp-whomp (sad trombone.) What can you do?

A no-mow garden that’s also drought-tolerant — also known as a xeriscape — is the solution.

The owners of this sweet teensy home in Austin, Texas built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses spruced up their back garden using low-water native plants that thrive in hot conditions. Instead of planting grass, mulch was added to both cover and protect the soil.

Outdoor String Lights

DIY overhead patio lighting

Elizabeth Burns Design

Interior designer Elizabeth Burns wanted to use outdoor string lights to brighten their pitch-dark Brooklyn patio. But a few problems stood in her way. First, her home doesn’t have an exterior outlet. Second, there is no above structure in her back garden for hanging lights.

The solution: Build a pole-mounted lighting system using electrical conduit. The latter is a type of pipe or pole used to cover and protect electrical wires.

Elizabeth’s DIY that you will find on her blog, not only concealed the extension cord that plugged into an interior outlet, but it also provided the support to hang string lights. While this project sounds a tad complicated, it’s easier to rig than you think. Even better, the supplies cost less than $50.

Egg Swing Chair


Greenery NYC

We believe that inside every adult is a wide-eyed kid longing for an outdoor swing set — not to mention a tree house. This cosy urban garden designed by Greenery NYC features a free-standing egg chair. You can shop for weather resistant swing chairs like this one at sites like Wayfair, Hayneedle, and Overstock.

Related: Small Space Staycation Essentials: 8 Awesome Hammocks

Solar Outdoor String Lights


IKEA Ideas

Solar lights like the ones above spotted on IKEA Ideas are an inexpensive outdoor lighting solution. How do they work? The sunlight they absorb during the day recharges the batteries that power the bulbs at night. Lights like these are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and types including string lights and wall fixtures.

Paver Stone Patio

DIY Paver stone backyard

Amber Freda

Who would believe that this beautiful stone patio in Harlem, New York by landscape designer Amber Freda was once a cramped dirt garden? The porous surface was relatively inexpensive to create using polished beach pebbles and paver stones. You’ll find both at most home improvement stores. The greenery along the walls are a mix of shade-loving native plants.

Painting Metal Patio Furniture

paint your patio furniture

Jen Woodhouse

Nothing perks up tired old patio furniture like a coat of fresh colour. But who wants to inhale those pee-yew paint fumes? Not Jen Woodhouse. That’s why she used eco-friendly chalk paint by Annie Sloane, to revive her ​wrought iron dining set. Jen shares all the details on her blog.

Outdoor Umbrella

outdoor living room

IKEA Ideas

When the sun is beating down, a back garden umbrella will keep you protected from harsh daylight. In fact, a recent study revealed umbrellas can block at least 77 percent of harmful UV rays. Umbrellas with a high UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating like the free-standing BAGGÖN by IKEA found on IKEA Ideas, can block up to 98 percent of UV rays.

Bohemian Patio Furniture

bohemian backyard ideas

El Jardinde Los Muffins

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.

The first step to avoid matchy-matchy patio furniture. It looks boring with a capital B, which isn’t very inviting. Decorating with a la carte pieces will create a more welcoming vibe.

This bohemian style patio by Kat Ibáñez 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 aluminium, or wood like teak or acacia that stands up to extreme weather conditions.

Back Garden She Shed


Built from Scratch Home Depot

If you think garden sheds are just for storing tools and lawn mowers, listen up. People across the country are converting them into personalized back garden bonus rooms like this She Shed by Built from Scratch Home Depot.

By Deirdre Sullivan