What if you stopped thinking of your backyard as a tiny bit of lawn, trapped by a fence, and instead began thinking of it as an outdoor room, with dirt for a floor and the sky for a ceiling? This is an approach that works particularly well for townhouse backyards, and it can work for you, too. Here's a little inspiration.
Designer Megan Pflug, in creating the backyard of this Brooklyn home, treated the fence not as an eyesore but as another feature, and used it to hang mirrored trellis panels, which enhance the feeling of an outdoor living room. String lights, plenty of seating, and a gravel 'floor' complete the effect.
This inviting little spot, from Better Homes & Gardens, is actually in the petite backyard of a mobile home — proof that you don't need a ton of space to make your backyard into a place where you'll be excited to spend time.
A trellis is a great way to define an outdoor living area in a larger backyard. Paired with stone pavers and a border of rocks and herbs, this trellis creates a perfect spot for lounging, and also a focal point for the whole yard. Image from Lilla Villa Vita.
At her Brooklyn home, Sofia eschewed grass and instead covered the ground with gravel and pavers. The addition of furniture, including a sofa shaded by an awning and a table that seats 10, creates a perfect spot for outdoor entertaining in the city. See the rest of Sofia's backyard here.
A trellis defines (and also shades) and outdoor dining area at a Tuscan hotel spotted on The Style Files.
This outdoor living area from Popsugar has rugs and pillows — all the comforts of life indoors. (Just make sure that you pick rugs and pillows suitable for the outdoors.)
A geometric rug and some succulents add quirky charm to this backyard patio from My Domaine.
From Dwell, here's another kind of outdoor room — a kitchen. A flagstone patio and a shaded awning mean that cooking outside is just as appealing as cooking indoors.