small yard inspiration garden ideas

Outdoor Inspiration – Small Yard Ideas

In Interiors, Lifestyle by Gemma Tomlinson6 Comments

small yard inspiration garden ideas
We still have a lot of finishing touches to add to our home renovation, but there is one part of the house that remains barely changed and drives me crazy every day – the back yard. We don’t have a lot of outdoor space and it’s definitely a yard not a garden, but it was a really important part of why we chose this house. After living in a cramped London flat without even a balcony, having somewhere to sit outside if the weather was nice meant a lot to us, and we crossed some fantastic properties off our list because they didn’t have anything at the back, or if they did they were shared spaces.

small yard inspiration garden ideas

At the time I remember having a lot of talks with my parents about it. We actually had three houses fall through before we got this one, and it was a struggle to find something in budget that we could flip but that wasn’t in such a bad state that we wouldn’t turn a profit in time. Maybe we should budge a little when it came to having a yard, they suggested, but I just couldn’t. I knew that not only would I be forced to have covert public BBQ’s (I did enough of that in London to last a lifetime!) but that we would never be allowed to adopt a dog from a shelter without one.

small yard inspiration garden ideas

Looking back I’m so glad we waited for this house. Whilst it’s not our forever home it’s a great first step and although the size is modest by many peoples standards we have so much more space than when we lived in the city. Both Matt and I grew up spending a lot of time outdoors, he lived in a village with lovely walks on his doorstep and I spent a lot of time in the South of France and the Lake District. When I think back to any celebrations my family had or parties, they are almost all outside – my Dad is a BBQ maestro and at the first sign of sun the charcoal was lit, the water feature was on and we were all outdoors.

small yard inspiration garden ideas

Right now our yard is in bad shape. It used to be a lot worse – last year my parents visited and my Mum pretty much singlehandedly demolished a rotting old shed that was casting a shadow over everything and taking up all the space, and before we applied to adopt Maddie, Matt & I cleaned up all the building debris and made it much safer although this house has seen so much building work you could probably dig down a metre and still find screws embedded in the soil. When we first moved in the weather was so awful that the brick wall between us and next door actually blew over and the stone wall at the back fell down! A lot of the garden renovation budget was spent getting those rebuilt so it’s been a bit of a wasteland since then.

small yard inspiration garden ideas

My Dad actually ran a business doing landscaping so I’ve been asking his opinion on what the heck we can actually do with the mess we have at the moment. It’s a mixture of brick, breezeblock, stone and dirt with rocks jutting out and the most ridiculous pipe and drain situation you’ve probably ever seen – there is a lot we could do with it but we want to spend as little as possible since we won’t be here forever, the UK doesn’t see a lot of great weather and you can’t exactly take the investment you spend on a garden with you. My Dad thinks the cheapest and easiest option will be to box the mess underneath in and lay a deck down and he’s offered to come over in May with my Mum so we can all get to work which is so kind of them.

small yard inspiration garden ideas

With a date in sight for the garden renovation I’ve been all over Pinterest for ideas and these are some of the cute small spaces I found. Whilst ours probably won’t end up looking like any of them, it’s nice to take inspiration from each one and see just what can be made from a small area. Now that the weather is getting better Maddie is spending a lot of time outside sunbathing (it’s a dog’s life!) and it will be so nice to just let her out there without worrying that she’s going to dig down and swallow something buried from the renovation! At the moment I’m keeping my beady eye on her every move!

small yard inspiration garden ideas

I can’t wait to sit outside with a coffee and a good book, have friends over for BBQ’s, crack open a few Friday beers and eat my breakfast in the morning sunshine. Our kitchen has french doors that open out onto the yard, and the view is so awful that I considered getting blinds for them so it didn’t make me so sad each day – now I won’t have to! I will be sharing photos with you when everything is done, if you have a favourite shop for inexpensive garden goods or outdoor furniture let me know – I feel we are about to spend many a Sunday at the garden centre…

small yard inspiration garden ideas
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  • We were in pretty much the same position with our yard last year. It’s so worth the time just to have that outdoor space to call your own. I promise nothing sets you up for the day better than a cup of coffee in the sunshine 🙂 x

  • Liz

    Lovely post! These photos are stunning!

    xo, Liz

  • Ceri

    Ah, I’ve become a bit obsessed with garden spaces too, I’d love to have an actual garden at some point, but currently we live in London, although thankfully we do have a balcony. It makes such a difference having some outside space – no matter how small! I never realised before – our previous flat didn’t have any outside space at all – but it’s so nice to sit outside of an evening with a glass of wine!

    You should definitely do a before & after of your garden space!

    October Eleven

  • Oh you have made me want to get digging in my own garden. My first house had a little yard and a separate garden off the back. Years of living in flats and student accommodation made me hungry for my own patch of sunshine too. I’m a Cheshire lass, and I’ve been used to countryside for my whole life and it’s nice to have a garden again. I’m in my forever home now, but it needs SO MUCH work. But I think it’s time I got out in the garden and tidied things up. Thanks for the inspiration! xx

  • They look so dreamy! Wish I had a back yard..

  • Know exactly how you feel, we use to live in a flat in London where you couldn’t open the windows properly and were surrounded by big roads. You just feel so claustrophobic on sunny days!
    Our criteria when buying was to have a small garden as well and took us about 2 years to find something we could afford in London. Despite living in the smallest house in London and after almost 3 years of renovation, it is all worth it to sit out in that small garden and have your cup of tea in the early morning sun.

    Good luck with the garden, I am sure it will be great!