DIY Turf Blog

How to Give Small Backyards a Full Makeover With the Best Artificial Turf


A small backyard can seem like a hard place to work with. It's hard to imagine it being anything more than a patch of grass, some shrubs and plants, and maybe a patio or deck. But with the right design and landscaping, you can transform your small backyard into a space that's perfect for unwinding or entertaining friends and family. The best way to start this transformation is by shopping for the best artificial turf.

Why Landscape Small Yards With Artificial Grass?

If you're looking for a way to improve the look and feel of your small yard, nothing beats artificial grass.

The best artificial turf looks like real grass to the point that most people can't tell them apart. It can also withstand bad weather and high traffic. So it stays the same throughout the seasons, giving your yard a lush, vibrant look all year long.

High-quality synthetic grass products are made from soft fibers. These provide a soft contrast to yard hardscapes, such as decks and patios. Synthetic grass can also give plants and outdoor living spaces a lush, evergreen backdrop.

Moreover, artificial turf is easy to install. All you need are some tools and supplies, then you're good to go.

Synthetic turf is also easy to clean and maintain. You just need to remove debris from its surface, give it a good rinse often, and brush up its turf occasionally. Plus, artificial grass turf doesn't need toxic chemicals that can turn your yard into a health hazard.

Small Backyard Makeover Tips Made Better By Artificial Grass

If you're looking to give your small backyard a whole new look, we've got some tips that will help you get started.

Determine the Space's Function

First, think carefully about how you want to use the space. Do you want it to be a relaxation area where you can unwind after a long day? Is it just going to be a landscaped grass lawn or will it include an outdoor living space like a seating area? Do you want to add amenities like the best putting greens, fire pits, or water features to your yard?

The more specific you are about the function of your small backyard, the easier it will be to find the right design elements, including artificial turf, to make it happen.

Establish the Layout

Are you going to cover the entire area with artificial grass? Or will there be some sections of pavers? If so, where are those areas going to be? These questions will help you figure out how much artificial grass you need to buy for everything to look cohesive.

Are there trees or plants in your yard? Determine whether you want to relocate or leave them where they are. If you opt for the latter, you can install artificial grass around them to make them look like they're a part of the landscape.

Create Pathways

Without paths, your small yard will feel like an unruly wilderness. Paths can also help you create a sense of flow that leads people from one part of the yard to another. They also provide access for wheelchairs and strollers, preventing people from having to navigate over grass or around obstacles.

With artificial grass, creating pathways is much easier than with regular grass. After all, you can just lay it down to mark paths or border your yard trails. You can even use multiple colors if you want your pathway to stand out.

Build or Grow Shade

If you're looking for a way to reduce the cost of electricity and keep your home cool in the summertime, consider building or growing shade. The former involves setting up structures like a pergola, while the latter involves planting trees and shrubs with thick foliage.

You can use artificial grass near or around structures and plants. It's durable and has UV resistance, so it won't fade under the hot sun like natural grass. You can also use artificial grass to create a shady nook where you can relax on hot days!

Create a Focal Point

One of the best ways to make a small backyard look bigger is by creating a focal point. A focal point is an area that instantly draws the eye and makes the space seem more interesting. It could be anything from a beautiful flowering tree to an outdoor fireplace or water feature.

It's also easier to create a focal point - and change it up from time to time - with an artificial lawn instead of a natural one. For one, you don't need to worry about how to keep the grass alive around your focal point. You also don't need to mow around it, which can be tricky in a small space.

Not sure what kind of focal point would work best in your small backyard? Below are some ideas: 

  • A seating area with a fire pit
  • An outdoor kitchen
  • A pergola or gazebo
  • A water feature like a fountain or pond
  • A putting green
  • A raised garden bed filled with colorful flowers or plants

The sky's the limit when it comes to creating a focal point in your small backyard. Just make sure it's something you love and that complements the rest of your yard's design.

Include Multiple Levels

Another great way to make a small backyard look bigger is by adding multiple levels. This could mean anything from a raised garden bed to a deck or patio with stairs leading down to the artificial turf lawn.

Adding multiple levels gives the illusion of more space and also makes the yard more functional. For example, you can use the higher level for entertaining while keeping the lower level for relaxing or playing with the kids.

Other easy ways to  add multiple levels to your small backyard include: 

  • Building a retaining wall and adding terraces
  • Creating a sunken seating area
  • Adding a pergola or gazebo on a raised deck

All of these are great DIY projects, but make sure to plan out everything before installing your artificial grass. You don't want to end up ordering too much or too little turf. 

Incorporate Hardscape

Aside from adding a focal point and multiple levels, another way to make your small backyard look bigger is by incorporating hardscape. Hardscape refers to any non-plant material used in landscaping, such as pavers, stone, gravel, and concrete.

Not only does hardscape give your backyard more interest and texture, but it can also help define different areas of the space. For example, you could use pavers to outline the section of artificial grass around the seating area or fire pit. Then, use gravel or stone to fill in the rest of the yard.

Hardscape can also help with drainage issues in a small backyard. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, consider using gravel or stone to create a drainage ditch that leads away from your artificial lawn. This will help keep the turf from getting waterlogged and ensure that it drains properly.

Consider Going with a Theme

A theme can give even the smallest backyard a big personality. For example, you could go for a rustic feel with a stone patio and thick artificial grass that looks like it's been freshly mowed. Or you could go for a more modern look with clean lines, geometric shapes paired with synthetic turf that's low-maintenance and easy on the eyes.

Other popular themes to consider are:

  • Tropical: This theme is perfect if you want to create a backyard oasis. Think palm trees, bamboo, and synthetic turf that looks like real grass.
  • Desert: If you live in a hot climate, this theme can help you keep your backyard cool. Use desert plants, cacti, and artificial turf that's light in color to reflect the heat.
  • Zen: This theme is perfect for small backyards because it's all about creating a tranquil space. Use natural materials like stone and wood, along with artificial turf, to create a space that's calming and serene.

You can even combine two or more themes to create a backyard that's uniquely yours.

Choose the Right Furniture and Accessories

The furniture and accessories you choose for your artificial grass backyard should be in keeping with the space's function and theme. For example, if you're going for a rustic feel, choose furniture made from natural materials like wood or wicker. If you want a more modern look, go for furniture with clean lines and geometric shapes.

As for accessories, consider adding an outdoor rug, some string lights, or some solar-powered lanterns to create a warm and inviting space.

Keep in mind a few safety tips for artificial turf as well. Go for rounded points for furniture legs instead of pointed, since pointed legs can damage the turf. Also, avoid using anything with metal spikes on it, like lawn chairs or umbrellas, which can eventually rip turf due to the weight and pressure.

If you like, you can soften those pointed or metal edges with furniture pads or turf guards.

4 Design Mistakes to Avoid When Designing a Small Artificial Grass Yard

Now that you know some of the best ways to design a small artificial grass yard, it's time to learn about some of the most common mistakes people make during the process. By avoiding these mistakes, you can create a beautiful and functional synthetic grass backyard that you'll love for years to come.

1. Not Planning Ahead

One of the most common mistakes people make when designing their small backyard is not planning ahead. This often leads to making impulse decisions that can end up costing more money and time in the long run.

This applies to every aspect of your renovation. For example, you should decide on the layout of your yard before buying artificial grass. That way, you can measure the area and get an accurate estimate of how much turf you need.

2. Not Considering the Climate

Another mistake people make is not considering the climate when they're designing their backyard. This is especially important if you live in an area with a hot climate, like we have here in San Jose.

That's why incorporating shade into your design is such an important part of the process. It can help keep your home cool in the summer and reduce your energy costs. Also, "shade" doesn't just refer to trees. Pergolas, gazebos, and umbrellas can also provide much-needed relief from the sun. On the ground level, you can use pavers or gravel to create a cooler surface.

3. Not Incorporating Water-Saving Features

As San Jose residents, we already know the value of conserving water. After all, California is one of the most drought-prone states in the country.

When designing your small backyard, be sure to incorporate water-saving features, like drought-tolerant plants or even a hydroponic garden. Some homeowners are also choosing to go with plant-free landscapes, turning instead to artificial grass and creative hardscaping.

4. Not Using Vertical Space

Got limited square footage? Look up - literally! When you're designing your small backyard, be sure to take advantage of vertical space. This can be done in a number of ways, like installing a living wall or building a trellis for climbing plants. Also, did you know that you can use artificial grass to green up walls and create other vertical landscape highlights? Now you do, and we hope you try it out!

Transform Your Yard With the Best Artificial Turf in San Jose

We've given you the rundown on how to give your backyard a whole new look, but it's time for us to wrap things up. If you have any questions or want more design tips, we have you covered here at Artificial Turf Express.

We're your one-stop shop for everything you need to DIY your installation, from realistic artificial grass to infill and accessories. Everything is in stock and ready for pick up. Send us a message online or call us at 408-960-2255 to learn more!