If you are trying your hand at landscaping a small backyard and are getting stuck on how to fit all of your ideas into your small space, try creating different levels. Adding levels will create an illusion of more space and actually add dimension to an otherwise bland area.
What do I mean by adding levels?
Try to create different levels, or rooms so to say, that provide a variety of functions. If you already have an existing ground level patio, add some steps up to a deck for entertaining. On the other side could be some raised planters. You could even use an overhead trellis or arbor for hanging plants and vines.
All these different levels can be used to the max to bring plants and flowers to your small backyard space. The patio can have a water feature filled with exotic water plants. The deck could have pots and planters filled with flowers and small trees. Raised beds can have vegetables and flowering plants.
By creating levels when landscaping a small backyard, you create more space or the illusion of more space. You need to be careful to not overdo it or your small backyard will look cluttered and could even make it look smaller than it was. Keep your plans simple. Adding 3 levels is probably a good start. A ground level, and 2 additional levels on either side is usually enough to get the desired look of a bigger backyard area. Keeping some grass will make your yard seem bigger and will also look neat if well manicured.