Outdoor Projects

Ideas for our Narrow Backyard

Sharing thoughts and ideas for our narrow backyard. Looking at the different views of this 9×40 space through the seasons and initial plans.

narrow backyard with weeds

Before the end of last year, I outlined our estimated home project plans.  One of the things I mentioned we’d focus on was the backyard.  But guess what!?  We’re almost in mid-August, and this space is definitely not getting a makeover this summer! AND I think I might have even changed some of my original thoughts.  Either way, let me share my initial ideas for our narrow backyard, and why they may change.

Okay so before we dive into the horrific view that is our backyard now, let’s do a little stroll/scroll down memory lane.

narrow backyard ideas graphic

I think I have all the super original (aka snow covered) photos here.  Essentially, when we bought the house, we had no idea what the backyard looked like.

narrow backyard after winter

Eventually, the snow melted and we were greeted with a grass-less area.  It spans across the 40′ length of our house.  And is just under 9 feet wide to the fence.

narrow backyard with old gazebo

There were a couple of gazebo structures, and the small one at the end also had a pallet platform underneath.  Our yard came with a lot of junk stuff.

One of the first things we did was add a temporary gate.  At this point, our backyard was open to the rest of the yard, which was open to the sidewalk/street.  We didn’t want Tootsie getting away (especially since it was a new area).

narrow backyard entrance

There was also a random step/storage area.  It was mostly installed to store things AND to access the long clothesline across the yard.

Cleaning up the Backyard

backyard before cleanup

As the weather warmed up, we started work on our garage and took down the structure.  There was a lot more stuff to get rid of too, including a chain link fence.  I think it was installed to keep the previous dogs from getting into low spots?  OR as a place for the trailing vines to climb on.

Our yard was filled with those vines, and I’m always trying to get them out!

narrow backyard top view

Mid-summer last year, I had the idea to do a paver area and add a pergola.  We ran out of time (and pressure treated wood was hard to come by!), so we tabled that project to this year.  The photo above shows the Husband and our friend loading the pavers in from the back of the truck over the fence.  It also gives a nice top-down view of our backyard, and how it abuts the neighbours’ driveway/sideyard.

backyard weeds before after

We also had a lot of weeds come back, and I pulled them a few times last summer!  It’s quite a difference, but get ready… because the weeds we have now are insane!

Current Backyard View

Here she is in her “glory” as of today:

narrow backyard now

The pavers were just placed (not leveled or anything) and they’ve held up okay.  The kids do enjoy playing in their house area, so that’s been fun.

narrow backyard ideas

We’ve accumulated quite the collection of mini pools and sandboxes (there’s another one behind the house).  Oh, and the weeds! I’m going to try my hand at pulling them soon, but it’s been quite rainy/wet lately.

narrow yard with fence

Looking the other way, the backyard now extends behind the garage.  I have my collection of painted outdoor chairs, but we honestly don’t spend a lot of time back here using them.  We did take out the old gazebo frame, so it feels more open.

main yard before after

Speaking of the garage, you can see how the view into the main yard has changed!  The step/retaining wall in the grass has always been there, but we added the stone steps with the garage.

steps in narrow backyard

Oh, and the bike/child carrier is strategically placed to block the kids from escaping.  We still don’t have a gate up on the big fence.  And yes, they can technically still escape…

(We did add a gate between the house and the garage).

Narrow Backyard Ideas

So now that you see the space, want to know my initial thoughts and ideas for our narrow backyard?

narrow backyard with weeds

Well, you already knew about the pergola at the end.  I wanted to create a lounge zone with a black pergola.  It would have a clear cover on the top, and angle down past our fence.  That way, snow would slide off, and we could use it as a covered area in the winter.

I wanted to get a gas firepit (our gas line is right there), but I would have to look into the bylaws before.  A nicer concrete pad under the BBQ. better landscaping, stained black fence, no weeds!

Here’s the layout and a mini vision board:

narrow backyard layout

I don’t want to touch the poured concrete walkway (shown on the graphic above), but can re-arrange/remove all the other pavers.

Check out my Raised Ranch Remodel Pinterest Board for all of the backyard inspiration I’ve pinned!

Want to know what I’m second guessing?

Almost everything!

Other Ideas

After we’ve used our narrow backyard for the past two summers (but especially this year!) there are some things I’m reconsidering.

Number 1: the pergola!  I think it would be so cool to build, butttttt after using the yard (aka planting grass and new landscaping), we realized we only have one water spigot.  It’s in the narrow backyard (near the BBQ) and launching the hose OVER the fence was such a task.  So, not that the pergola would be gone… BUT I am rethinking the closed fence in favour of a gate.  That small section of fence is pretty rough too (I created divots dragging the hose).  And then, the whole outdoor nook/lounge wouldn’t fit with a gate.

Well, that’s pretty much the most of it.  Exceptttttt that we might also get the part behind the fence paved (to create a separate driveway).  Then maybe extend the asphalt into the backyard a bit?

I guess what I’m saying… is that I’m not committing to any long-term projects back here until we’ve used the yard a bit more.  The paving also has a big cost factor, so that might get nixed when we hear the quote haha.

ideas for narrow backyard

PLUS!  We still have soooooo many kid toys.  I think the cool pergola lounge zone might be more for teens/adults?

Let me know your thoughts!

Update: we pulled a few weeds the next morning:

narrow backyard with kids toys

And I moved the bigger pool (to the top of the sandbox) because for some reason it was empty :)

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