Makeover Project: The Best Design Solutions for the ‘Awkward Backyard’


In the ideal scenario, you have a backyard cut in a straight, neat rectangular shape, which runs flat throughout. In reality, though, you have a space full of quirks: too many curved edges, uneven ground levels, tight spaces here and there, etc. All of these seem to spell trouble on your backyard design. But on the flip side, they could also bring out a unique flair to it, once you know how to work around them. That said, let’s tackle common quirks in backyard spaces one by one:

A long, narrow area

What makes this particularly tricky is the fact that there’s so much space to fill. One, you don’t know where to start and two, you’re not sure how you can shrug off that feeling of narrowness in the space. The best approach when you’re overwhelmed with space is to ‘cut’ it up. Divide it into small zones. How? Think of how you’d use this outdoor room. Do you want to entertain guests here? To let your kids play in it? To relax and meditate? These functions will dictate the zones you will create. From there, it’s just a matter of bringing in dividers and furniture and fixtures to define the spaces. For dividers, you can go natural with hedges and trees lined up. But if you want a more solid option, you can have arbors, pergolas or fences. In terms of furniture and fixtures, for guests’ lounge and meditation areas, your priority should be comfortable seating, like wicker sofas, as well as good shading fixtures, say, retractable patio awning. For the kids’ play zone, furnish it with seesaws, slides, or treehouses.

Curved edges

backyard with flowers

Some backyards have odd angles because of existing trees or bodies of water, like small ponds. You don’t want to take them out altogether because they add a nice touch to the design, but you’re left with the challenge of working around the curved edges they create. Typically, people would want to divert attention away from these odd angles. But a better solution is the opposite: defining the areas all the more. Place some low-growing plants around your ponds. Or put some pavers around the trees. With this, you’ll be able to see the space left and therefore not be confused with how you’ll place your furniture and fixtures later. Moreover, you get to introduce shapes that will help soften the look of the yard.

Sloped floor level

This is the design problem that can be a nice asset to your backyard if you know how to work around it. One way you can make good out of this dilemma is by adding a deck. A deck over a downward slope gives you a better view of the entire yard, and in turn making it the focal point of the entire space. Another way you can treat this is by introducing terraces. It can serve as a nice garden area. Consider switching up its color palette every change of season or making it an ‘education zone’ for your kids who want to try vegetable gardening. It may also just be a comfortable space for seating. If you have big family gatherings, this is the perfect addition to your yard. Furnish it with soft cushions for increased comfort.

Do You Have an Awkward Backyard?

Does your backyard have any of these quirks? Don’t let them ruin your vibe. Think of them as opportunities for better aesthetics and function of your yard. Embrace them.

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