This post shares my tiny backyard update for this summer, including a ton of small townhouse patio ideas. Just because you have a smaller space doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of beautiful and affordable townhouse patio design ideas out there—here are a few of mine!
Small Townhouse Patio Ideas: My Tiny Backyard This Summer
I have been excited to write this post all summer! A few months ago I shared a spring update on what we were doing to clean up and prep our small backyard for spring and summer. If you’re new around here, we completely redid our backyard in April and May of 2018 for the One Room Challenge.
You can see the first post from the One Room Challenge here, which has all of the grisly before pics, and the final post here. We then made some changes between May and July, and I posted an update about the space in July 2018 here.
Our backyard has a ton of DIYs, which I’ll mention and link to throughout the post. So, without further ado, let’s jump in to the pic-splosion of my tiny backyard this summer. (UPDATE: See our backyard in summer 2020 too!)
Townhouse Patio Design Ideas: My Tiny Backyard
Let’s start with my absolute favorite view of the yard. From the corner so you can see most of my favorite plants! The far side of the deck (the side closest to the camera in this photo) gets the best sun, so I decided to load that area up with plants even more than we did last year.
We actually had the yucca out here last year. We brought it inside over the winter and it lived in the basement, where there isn’t that much light. It did pretty well, and it rebounded very nicely once it had been back outside for a few weeks. I took it back out in April, once we were reasonably certain we wouldn’t get any bad frosts.
We also moved the prickly pear cactuses back out for the summer (see my post about propagating prickly pear cactus pads). All of the other plants over here are noobs to the gang. The pot in the front has a black sweet potato vine (which is really green), a red celosia, a banana plant, and a croton.
The hanging plants on the front corner are a purple queen (variety of tradescantia) and a STUNNING yellow purslane. I absolutely love how this plant trails.
The purple queen is such a stunning plant. I saw a ton of it when we were in Mexico, and knew I wanted use it to bring some purple into the yard. I was hoping it would trail from the basket a bit more, but it still looks really lovely. Oh—and the vine climbing up the front corner deck post…we aren’t really sure what that is. It was mislabeled as a sweet potato vine when it was tiny.
Tropical-Looking Plants for Privacy in a Small Backyard
Since we’re pretty much living in a fish bowl of a condo and townhouse community, we wanted to create a more private vibe but surrounding the patio with as many fast-growing tropical-looking plants as we possibly could. The banana plants and the yucca are already quite large, and they are growing like weeds by the week.
We decided to add a large elephant ear plant to the front corner of the patio as well. I added a smaller elephant ear (alocasia variety) and a fiddle fix to the mix here. I swear I have to prune the elephant ear weekly. This thing grows like CRAZY.
The best thing about the elephant ear varieties is that they grown from bulbs, which means you can save them from year to year. I have a post about harvesting and saving elephant ear bulbs for the winter as well 🙂
We also added a solar curtain, which we occasionally use for privacy at night. But we mostly use it to block the sun in the early evenings when it’s beaming on to the patio and frying us. Everything on the patio stayed exactly the same except for the new rug.
This rug is a much better outdoor rug since it is darker. The blue and white one we had last year was so hard to keep looking clean. The furniture is all the same, including the DIY paver coffee table and matching side table. And the globe string lights hung under the deck are still going really strong. We kept them up through the winter, and all of the bulbs made it just fine!
Other plant ideas for a small outdoor space
We’ve also got a stunning wandering tradescantia zebrina hanging above the yucca on the inside of the patio. We also have a white bacopa that is just struggling along in this heat. He suffered a bit when I was away for a few days 🙂
The smaller green vining plant on the arm of the loveseat is german ivy. This thing has almost died like 10 times in my house. I finally put him in my propagation station in Ramona’s bathroom window to nurse him back to health. When he rebounded in May, I moved him out here. He is absolutely THRIVING out here. It’s a really beautiful ivy.
Gardening Ideas for a Small Townhouse Backyard
Vegetable gardening can be a challenge in smaller spaces for many reasons. Vegetables can take up a lot of space, and they can be picky about lighting conditions. We have the same setup we had last year: two raised garden beds and a bunch of big pots in the rock area.
The only change we made was adding a DIY trellis to the back fence. We’ve grown two rounds of lettuce and currently have bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, Chinese hot peppers, pickling cucumbers, and basil growing in the garden area.
We’ve got assorted flowers and some trailing rosemary in the vertical pots on the deck posts. The large painted white pot next to the slatted HVAC unit screen has caladium in it, which I really love. It’s another elephant ear variety that I’m going to try to save the bulbs from this winter.
The less I have to buy next year, the better! We’ve just got assorted succulents and ferns in the back area by the HVAC unit. I’ve also got a post about how I hang my flower pots if you’re curious.
What do you think of my small townhouse patio ideas?
I think our yard got even better this year. And the best part is that we put most of the hard work in last year to get this space up and running! This year was mostly just fun stuff like deciding what to plant and how to arrange everything.
If you have a small townhouse backyard, I hope this post gives you some creative ideas. Just because a space is small doesn’t mean you can’t make it a beautiful space you love hanging out in!
Heard about you from radio. Stay Classy.
Aw thanks! I wouldn’t exactly call me classy. I do drink boxed wine with ice in it. But I’m glad I have Kane Show listeners fooled.