Landscaping Ideas for a Triangle-Shaped Back Yard

A triangular backyard landscaping project rewards the careful and the creative. In a small and odd-shaped space, you'll find success by paying close attention to individual details because any imperfections will be magnified. Don't cram several ideas into the space. Instead, pick a design that suits your triangular back yard, perfect it on paper and then breathe life into your plan to create your little slice of paradise.

Flagstone Walkway
credit: Brigitte Smith/iStock/Getty Images
A triangular back yard is an opportunity for imaginative landscaping.

Focal Point at the Tip

Drawing attention to a focal point at the place farthest from the house makes a triangular space seem larger and well-planned. Lay an eye-catching flagstone or gravel walkway leading to the back yard's end or tip. Then create an arrowhead shape in flagstone at the top of the pathway, as if pointing to the tip. This is the perfect spot for a garden table and striking statuary or a large fire pit surrounded by benches. Line the pathway with a flowering ground cover, and then space flowering plants, shrubbery and small trees in the open spaces on each side. Alternatively, keep the open spaces on each side of the walkway as mowed lawn. The tallest plants should be near the yard's edge and the shortest ones closer to the pathway.

Triangles within the Triangle

Play on the back yard's shape by placing several triangular planting boxes within it. The planting boxes are perfect for vegetable and herb gardens. Fit three to five planting boxes in the space, and leave walkways between them. Raising the planting boxes to different heights will make the back yard seem larger than it is. In lieu of one planting box, and if you have enough room, consider making a triangular pond fountain with coy fish and aquatic plants. Plastic pond liners, available from most landscaping and pond supply stores, simplify the pond-building process.

Vegetation Triangle

Filling the entire back yard with vegetation is an option if you have only a small sliver with which to work. Using perennials will minimize your yard maintenance work and allow the space to fill itself over the years. Place tall flowering shrubbery and perhaps decorative grasses near the back yard's farthest end from the house. In the middle space, plant shorter bushes and flowering plants. In the part closest to the house, plant small flowering varieties and ground covers. A showy flowering plant or bush in the two corners closest to the house will accentuate those corners and make the back yard appear more lively. Trees take up valuable growing space in a tiny triangular back yard, but if you choose to use them, fill the empty spaces beneath them with garden statuary.

Three Focused Corners

Medium to large triangular back yards have enough room to make a separate space in each corner, giving the illusion of more space. Lay a pathway to each of the three corners, and section them off with mid-size shrubbery to make each corner private and secluded. Pick three focuses you'd like in the back yard, and fit one into each corner. In one corner, for example, a swinging bench could be surrounded by a large tree and colorful flowering plants, and the site could be used as a reading nook. Another corner could feature a spiraling herb garden so you always have fresh ingredients for cooking. In the final corner, you could line a fire pit and two chairs with flowering plants that bloom in the dark, such as night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum), to create a moonlight garden escape. Night-blooming jasmine, also called night jessamine, is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 11.