Some design ideas for small backyards include a small graveled area with some relaxing seating bordered by dwarf trees in large planters, raised garden beds, and a terraced deck. A terraced deck can break up a small area into levels, each with its own purpose. For instance, one level is large enough for some seating, another has a small water feature and a third hosts a range of potted plants.
A backyard can be a balcony or small deck transformed into an outdoor living space with a few chairs and a table for seating -- depending on the space, a range of potted plants, and trellises that serve as privacy screens. A small backyard can be divided into small living spaces including a table and grill for outdoor dining, lounge chairs for relaxation and gardens. Low walls and water features can break up the space into different rooms.
Instead of creating several small spaces, a homeowner can create one multifunctional space in a small area by placing seating around a tree and keeping the gardening raised and to the sides. A table can be dragged onto the flagstone porch for dining or replaced with some lounge chairs. Instead of planting ornamental plants in a small space and trying to fit in vegetables and herbs, combine the two. Use the edible plants as the ornamental plants to save on space.