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Making the Most of a Small Yard

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A Small Yard with Added Living Spaces

It is so nice to be joining this Patio and Garden tour with these great bloggers.  I have collaborated with these ladies a few times now and we always have such a good time.  For my tour, I decided to not only show you my small yard but to share with you how I solved some of the problems and what I am currently working through.

I have a small typical urban yard and that we live in Edmonton the most northern major city in North America.  Some year very soon I hope to move south and have a yard with wisteria, lavender and large hydrangeas.  For now, our yard gets colour from an assortment of flower pots, newly planted trees, and themed decor items.

The Front Yard

Our front yard has a teeny tiny but very green lawn and we keep it as a dog free zone.  The door is painted in a bright Tiffany blue, there are flower pots on each side of the garage door, a little snowball tree that’s no longer in bloom, and a peony.  As the yard is so tiny we keep it as manicured and coordinated as possible.
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Front porch of a small yard gardening idea

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Every area of our yard has various flower pots, with the exception of this peony that has a small front garden to itself.
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Front yard peonies in a garden tour of a small yard.

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Our front driveway is flanked on both sides with petunias as they thrive in the full all day sunshine.  This far north our summer days can be to 15 hours a day.  This spot in the yard requires very hardy full light flowers, thankfully I found that petunias do very well under these conditions.
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Large basket of petunias on the front porch of a small yard garden tour.

Front Porch

My favorite part of our small yard is the front porch.  I have dreamed of having a porch since I was a little girl, this is my very first porch and I absolutely love it.  It is small but I have have all kinds of fun decorating it for each season.

The door and the front bench are in the themed tiffany blue and I painted a pansy on the welcome sign to coordinate with several buckets of blue pansies we have around the yard.
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The front entrance of a small yard garden tour.
Hanging basket in the front yard of a small yard garden tour.

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Every year I have a colour and flower theme, last year my theme was pink and gerbera daisies.  By picking a theme your yard looks more cohesive.  This is especially important in a tiny yard as the cohesive elements make the yard stand out.
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The DIY farmhouse bench with large back cushion and refurbished galvanized lanterns are all projects from the blog.  The little potted hydrangeas are going to be an inside experiment for over the winter.  I am hoping to keep them as a houseplant and put back outside next year.

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The front porch of a small yard garden tour, with DIY turquoise bench and flowers.

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Back Deck with Eating Area

Our back deck is a couple of feet above the ground and there are two story houses on all sides so a lack of privacy was a problem.  We hadn’t moved in yet when I started on the privacy screen.

The privacy wall makes our back deck much more comfortable and cozy. This year we painted it and gave it some DIY spool artwork.
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Grillin and Chillin sign made using an old wood industrial cable reel.

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The second summer we added another screen that has openings that I fill with hanging basket.  It adds privacy to our deck and still leaves the back of the house feeling open. This privacy screen allows us to see out the large back windows of the dining and living room, yet if I choose to have coffee in my pyjama pants only the snoopiest of neighbours will know.
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The back corner of a small garden tour featuring DIY repainted patio furniture and turquoise accessories.

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The Grillin and Chillin Cafe sign beside the barbecue.

A turquoise dining room set painted in ombre colours as part of a small yard garden tour.


The Ombre chalk painted patio set I finished a couple of week’s ago.

A DIY redone patio in turquoise as part of a small yard garden tour.

The back yard balcony is much used over the summer, we use it occasionally for entertaining,  but for the most part, it’s our second family room.  We hang out here whenever the weather allows because the privacy walls keep us from feeling on display.

Back Yard

In real homes, life happens.  We love and enjoy our 120 lb best friend and frankly, the back yard grass is his.  He is actually an indoor dog because of barking and his guarding instincts but the back lawn is his space to run and play all he wants.  You can tell by how rough and spotty the grass is whose domain this is.

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I think of our back lawn as a working lawn with a working dog who keeps me safe and secure.  Thankfully our boy isn’t a digger but he loves to water my poor little lilac.  I solved the dead flower problem with a wide assortment of potted flowers instead of ground level flower gardens.  Pup sniffs the flowers but otherwise leaves them alone.

Besides the hanging baskets of purple petunias, we have several galvanized pots full of Hubs favorite, dark blue and purple pansies.

Purple pansies in a bucket as part of a back yard small garden.

The back patio has some bright pink begonia to match the letters in the Chillin &  Grillin wall art.  As they aren’t on theme I would not place them in the front yard.

Gorgeous pink begonias as part of a back yard garden tour.

Back Patio

When we bought our yard it came with not only a deck this little patio.    I have not finished designing it yet.  This year it got a new water fountain and I am working on some wall art for the fence.

Our refurbished water fountain.

fountain repair, how to fix a fountain, garden fountains, cheap water fountain
Pretty back yard flowers.

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Pansy’s in the water fountain.
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Gernaniums on the patio.

Geraniums in a small garden.
pot painting, painted flower pots, clay pot painting

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Some new refurbished pots and a refurbished old firepit made into a illuminated wood centerpiece round out the back patio.

The back yard also has a tiny lilac working hard to survive and a northern ornamental cherry tree that’s doing quite well.  This area needs some more work, but its the most pleasant and most private place to hang out and watch pup laze in the yard.

We use and enjoy ever square foot of our outdoor living areas.  Summers are short here so its not uncommon for me to spend most of the day in the back yard  blogging or crafting out on the lawn.

Thank you for stopping by.  I hope I gave you some ideas for utilizing and making small urban spaces enjoyable.

Thank you for joining us.

Small Yard, Make the Most of a Small Yard, Add a theme to a small yard to add impact.

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80 Comments

  1. Hi Leanna,

    Love what you did with the limited space. Beautiful colors on the patio and just the right amount of accessories in the back yard.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      That very nice Danny. I really find these tiny urban yards challenging.

  2. I too have a very small yard buth front and back since I live in a townhouse….
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

  3. Hello Leanna, your yard looks amazing. I liked those petunias, they are lovely. Your ideas will definitely help in making the yard beautiful and attractive. Thanks for sharing such a nice blog!

  4. What a beautiful home and yard. And that door color is gorgeous.

  5. I too have a small yard and wow, you surely did yours good! I love the flowers and that fountain!!!! Beautiful space for sure!

  6. Leanna, your yard is beautiful! I absolutely love the aqua color that you’ve used to accent with on the door and other pieces.

  7. Leanna, your yard and garden is beautiful! That green grass! All the lovely flowers! The patio! The porch! Be GLAD you have a small yard!!! We have a BIG yard, and it’s too much to keep up with. I wish we had a smaller one. We’re never happy, are we? LOL. Your first porch is lovely. So much fun to decorate. I love your big dog too.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Florence how true is that!! Hubs dreams of 10 acres and the thought of that much land makes me cringe. A big yard is so much work, I bet your yard is gorgeous.

  8. Such a beautiful space Leanna. I love all your pretty flowers and how you have coordinated all your decor. Enjoy!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi pretty lady. Summer is so short here I try and be outside enjoying the yard as much as possible. I love your huge wrap around deck. Thanks for commenting.

  9. These are some great ideas! Our yard is still a work in progress, so I am saving up ideas. I will save these!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I am glad you like them and found them useful. Thank you for commenting and letting me know.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Sue: Thank you for commenting. The back cushion on the front deck is honestly comfortable. I love having it out on my small porch.

  10. Everything looks great! I’m loving your porches, patio, lawn, flowers, and home exterior. It’s all so neat and well-kept. I especially like the way you’ve used turquoise as a recurring color scheme with neutral whites and grays. So inviting, especially for summer outdoor living!
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Mimi: Thank you for commenting on the recurring colour scheme. I think its really important for a tiny yard to have a theme. We don’t have the room to have various flower gardens etc.

  11. Leanna, I love your yard. That peony is gorgeous! I planted two this year, fingers crossed that they survive and do well!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Nancy. We purposely put our peony up against the house where we can wrap it up over the winter. They are surprisingly hardy plants.

  12. It all looks so pretty, I love your decking area, it looks so inviting.
    Here in the UK in rural areas people have quite big gardens but in towns, especially newer houses, the gardens are teeny tiny, maybe half what you have here, so ideas like these to fill them with colour without cluttering them up are great.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Julie. I h ope you can use some of my ideas. Flower pots are the small yard flower garden.

  13. Just beautiful Leanna! I love all of the beautiful flowers you have and oh your puppy dog is just gorgeous!!! Your sure have used your yard perfectly and boy it doesn’t look small at all!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Sam. I really appreciate the comment that it doesn’t look small. We try and utilize and benefit from every inch of our yard. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. Beautiful, love the colours you have chosen. As for the working dog we have one of those but work? not likely can often be found reclining on the sofa, lol

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Your dog sounds adorable lol. Our pup finds it too hot on the couch but he absolutely owns the place lol. Thank you for commenting.

  15. What a lovely and calming space! I, too, have a small yard and I am always looking for ideas as to how to make the most of it!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Teodora: I am so glad you stopped by and found some new ideas. Us small yard owners do have some extra challenges. Thank you for commenting.

  16. That DIY bench and back cushion is adorable! And that patio set…um adorable! Thanks for sharing!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Candace. I really like our updated patio set, it was worth the work. Our old one was showing wear and they are good for a few more years now. Thank you for stopping by.

  17. I love your use of Tiffany Blue, Leanna! Love all of your plants, flowers and seating areas too! Fabulous job!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Kristy. Flower pots are so easy to use once you have a nice matched collection of them. They are really handy for small yards like ours. Thank you for commenting.

  18. Gentle Joy Photography says:

    Your flowers and yard/house are lovely. πŸ™‚

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you very much. I appreciate you take the time to stop by and comment.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Sophie: I long for those large sweeping lawns with the big trees, but we make the best of our little yard and enjoy it very much. Thanks for commenting.

  19. Leanna, your front and back yards are lovely! I LOVE the bright pops of Tiffany Blue with your front door, the sweet bench you painted outfront {great idea with the pillow back for leaning against the porch!!! I might borrow that idea for my bench which is now outfront on our little patio.}

    I really like the screened areas you created. Great ideas for anywhere we need a little privacy. I think your hydrangea should do well inside this coming winter. Perhaps you could do the same with your lilac? Perhaps it’s warm enough in your garage so they wouldn’t hard-freeze but still go dormant? We had the opposite problem with a lilac started by my mother-in-law that came from her Sacramento area home in Northern California and it needed to freeze a bit. In winters when it would freeze several times/several weeks, it loved it and did well that year! I took to tossing a big tray of ice cubes around the base of it when our freezer was too full from no one using the ice during winter. πŸ˜‰

    I’m happy to have been on the blog hop with you; still getting around to everyone’s blogs to visit and read. πŸ™‚ You have the loveliest name for a blog, btw. <3

    xoxo Barb πŸ™‚

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. I had not considered the need of plants for dormancy and I had better. Your ice cube idea is fantastic and shows the level of determination we put into having nice homes. I really enjoy doing the blog hops with party blogging group. Its always a really good time. I am very happy to meet you and will absolutely keep in contact. Enjoy your week.

  20. Leanna your porch is so inviting! I LOVE that Tiffany blue. Your home has such curb appeal…fresh, crisp and inviting! That puppy is wonderful! Great Pyrennese?? Beautiful privacy screens…very tasteful! I want to come have lemonade back there and chat! It’s 98 here in Alabama and I don’t want to go outside!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I love the heat…..98 is certainly summertime. I am glad you like the yard and yes my dog is a Great Pyr. Thank you for the compliment on the privacy screens. Of course I would prefer to have privacy with a larger yard and foliage but that’s not possible so I like the screens as an alternative.

  21. I don’t know how I’d cope with a small yard, we’re so used to having a large garden and lots of sunshine for most of the year. Your space looks so calm and inviting Leanna. You have done an amazing job creating outside rooms (does that makes sense??) full of character and life.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Michelle: I swoon whenever I see your outdoor pictures with all the fresh vegetation everywhere. We put alot of thought and effort into our small yard so your generous compliments are much appreciated. xo

  22. Hello Leanna, I love your small yard with beautiful flowers. You have such a beautiful home. You have decorated your front porch so nicely. Β I have dreamed of having a porch like yours. Thanks for sharing such an awesome post.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Mike The weather was not cooperating at all this year, so I am especially pleased with how the yard turned out. Thank you for commenting and I glad you liked it.

  23. I too live in a state where summers are short so we live outside! I especially love your fire pit area! That would be so fun at night & the sneak peek of your pup was fun. Your flowers are gorgeous. It was fun to do this blog hop with you!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Kellie: I always enjoy doing the hops with you as well and look forward to seeing your post. Again this summer we have a total fire ban so the lights in the firepit are nice. Next year I hope to do more lighting, this year it had to wait.

  24. I love your yard and all the colorful flowers you’ve added. I can’t imagine having to start over every spring after the snow, but then it gives you the opportunity for a fresh start. I can’t wait to hear how your hydrangea test goes this winter.

    You have so many sitting areas in your yard to relax and enjoy the beautfiul views you’ve created.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thanks Toni, we try and use every little bit. I really wish we could grow the fancier plants, but with the annuals they can be changed every year. I have a large front window upstairs that will be good for the hydrangea I hope. They are such gorgeous plants.

  25. Leanna, I absolutely love your outdoor space! The porch is so welcoming & I LOVE your back deck privacy screen!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Michelle. It makes so much difference, I would never hang out there without it. I took my brothers pickup and got all the supplies and had them all in the yard when hubs got home. I unpacked while they built it for me lol. Hubs hadn’t heard of a privacy wall but he loves it now.

  26. Leanna, I love how you’ve coordinated your Tiffany blue from front to back. Your slat wall privacy screen is wonderful and a great way to add your color one more way. What a great backyard for entertaining too. I’m still pondering 15 hours of sunlight… we get about 12 here in Michigan from 7 am to 9 pm. Enjoy your lovely space… I sure enjoyed my visit! πŸ™‚

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I love the long days now that I learnt what plants to purchase and where to place them. The back deck is very handy for entertaining and comfortable with the privacy walls. Thanks for the kind comments, you made my day.

  27. Leanna, I so love your Tiffany blue theme. The front door along with your stone and siding is just spectacular! The bench, pots of bouquets, the unusual welcome sign rather than the typical wreath just make it so much to enjoy and take in. But darling, that spot of blue fencing, your spool sign and set up is just divine! I love that you live in the North and you are embracing such a fun and chillin’ theme back there. It is gorgeous beyond words to me. I am getting ready to move small and I have no idea how to make the space I am heading to look great, but now I am armed with some great ideas! thank you for sharing your lovely home.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thanks Debbie, it means so much coming from you. Your yard, desk, pool etc is amazing and I am happy you liked my ideas for my little yard.

  28. Your spaces are lovely Leanna!! They don’t look nearly as small as you make them sound! Your protector sure was showing off his domain wasn’t he? He is absolutely beautiful…sorry, handsome πŸ™‚ I love all the flowers you have picked and I hope that your hydrangea makes it through the winer..hugs!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Susanne. Our yard is small enough to have privacy issues in a typical urban yard. Yours is so large …sigh. I cannot deny that pup anything lol. Thank you for the feedback.

  29. Leanna, I absolutely love your colors! Especially all the Tiffany Blue! Beautiful flowers!
    Jeannee

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you, I thought tiffany blue was summery without looking coastal.

  30. I am loving your outdoor spaces and your fur baby too. The soft blues are just gorgeous and are drawing me in.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you, I thought tiffany blue was summery without looking coastal.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Elise. I try to make my yard cohesive as much as possible. I think it really helps with a small yard. Thanks for commenting.

  31. Having lived near the Canadian border (the Pacific Northwest) I know about shorter summers and the need to take advantage of as much outdoor living as you can. Now a transplant to the South I’m enjoying the longer stretch of sunny weather but this time of the year the humidity can keep us inside where the air is for most of the day. I wouldn’t trade the sun though.
    All of your spaces are lovely and your color choices appeal to me greatly. Tiffany blue? Divine!
    I’m so happy to be a part of this blog hop with you and look forward to seeing more of your posts.
    Patti

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I was just recently on vacation in Seattle, everything there is so green. South Carolina is one of the states that I really want to visit, it all looks so pretty.

      Thank you for your kind comments and I really happy that I met you through the blog hop as well. Enjoy your week.

  32. Your use of color is perfect for summer and that front porch is darling. I don’t have one and have always wanted…

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Kim: They really are enjoyable. Hopefully someday we both get a nice large porch.

  33. Your outdoor spaces are so pretty. We also have an indoor dog and we have given over our back lawn to him. You have given me some great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Its just so nice to let him do what he wants there. Its the best use of the yard because it makes me and hubs happy watching him.

  34. I love all of your ideas. I also have a small urban yard and will incorporate your great suggestions in my own yard.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you for saying so Debra. I really find the small yard hard to make homey and comfortable and trees take time to grow.

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