10 Creative Townhouse Backyard Ideas

small townhouse backyard with silver plantings and a brown wood pergola

When you have a townhouse, you value your outdoor space more than just about anyone else out there. You have a small piece of land and you need to maximize its utility for you and whoever lives with you and uses the space. In this article we’ll give you some ideas to consider when exploring your townhouse backyard ideas and some simple pitfalls to avoid. There are many options out there so let’s get started.

Water Feature

Let’s start with one of my favorite subjects, water. Do you want a water feature for sound, a built in or portable spa, or even a plunge pool? All of these can be installed in townhouse backyards or side yards in some cases. If you have the ability to do so, consider it! It will be tight quarters for sure, but worth it if your lifestyle demands it.

Fire Pit

glowing orange fire pit townhouse backyard ideas next to gray furniture and green plants with a brown fence

The next townhouse backyard ideas to consider are fire pits. Though it’s unlikely you’ll be able to put in a fire pit, you may have the space. You will definitely need to use gas or propane, and you’ll need to follow all the regulations laid out by your state, county and municipality in addition to your homeowner’s association.

Outdoor Kitchen

Speaking of homeowners associations, they are one of the biggest limitations for all townhouse backyard ideas. Before you get too far along in your project, you need to get yourself a copy of the homeowner’s association documents to find out what limitations there are on your backyard renovations.

You may find the homeowner’s association doesn’t care much so long as it can’t be seen from the other units. You also might learn they restrict plant species and pavement styles. Whatever their hang ups are, you’ll need to pick your battles. The easiest thing to do in many cases is to talk to the board in a friendly way and get to know the members. Basic people skills go a long way in winding through the labyrinth of regulation.


The best way to make sure your townhouse backyard ideas are exploited to their max is to do your best to bring in some plant material. Whether you utilize some fake plantings like we recommend around hot tubs for privacy or real. Go ahead and consider adding some well placed planters around the edges and at various focal points of your townhouse backyard.

You will find that planters are one of the tricks of ‘compliance’, whether that’s roof decks which are visible from the street, or plantings in townhouse backyards. Planters can give you a ‘compliant’ planting plan without asking. The reason being the planters are moveable like furniture, and almost no-one restricts furniture although though it does happen.

townhouse backyard ideas covered with pink and green plantings in a gray planter box

One of our favorite planter companies is Veradek. Our other favorite planter company is Konte.

If your townhouse backyard ideas require paving or decking, there are some great options for that as well. From precast concrete paving to granite to pressure treated lumber to ipe there is a huge range of options for what you’ll walk on in the backyard. And, don’t forget about artificial grass. This is one of the best products to use in confined spaces. Not only can you avoid the maintenance of mowing, you don’t have to worry about dead areas from a lack of sunlight.

Lastly, consider covering up your fencing with either a lattice or another fence material. This will be be far more attractive for you to look at. In most cases the stock fencing provided by the builder of the townhouse will be a huge limitation to your townhouse backyard ideas if you focus too heavily on it.

6 Townhouse Backyard Ideas

Taking advantage of the multi level backyard and making it a feature instead of an obstacle makes this modern gem stand out. With Ipe walls and masonry surfaces throughout the light and dark materials set the stage for entertaining.

ipe walls and table townhouse backyard ideas

Though this is a rendering, the use of modern lines and crisp materials would make this a great living space.

tall gray fence with green planting townhouse backyard ideas

The subdued tones of an English garden can be achieved even in shade with the right planting selections.

shaded greenery townhouse backyard ideas in a small yard with black fence

Depending on where you live, a veritable jungle of plants can bring your outdoor space to life.

plant garden with gray patio furniture townhouse backyard ideas

An espaliered tree against the wall to use up less space makes this little slice of heaven stand out.

plant wall and small black backyard patio furniture townhouse backyard ideas

The use of natural stone and asymmetry makes this backyard garden feel less rectangular and more welcoming of the human body.

Townhouse Backyard Ideas Summary

As you can see, despite not having inherent privacy and a big plot of land, much can be done for townhouse backyard. There are plenty of townhouse backyard ideas to consider. Some of climate dependent, but many will work in any setting, urban or rural. Even as a backyard expert, having a smaller area to work with is not always bad. It can inspire additional creativity and make you consider what’s really important.

Ask yourself what is absolutely necessary for your outdoor living space. It could be a water feature, outdoor kitchen or garden. When exploring townhouse backyard ideas, you can still have your dream. Fortunately, given the size constraint, oftentimes it may cost less than a full backyard.