A backyard of any size can turn into a private retreat, play area for the kids or a dining room. Small backyards are adaptable as outdoor rooms and expand the living space at the same time. Large backyards with acres of land need to be broken up into defined areas, each with a purpose, to become more usable. A backyard of 40 feet by 70 feet has lots of possibilities.
While most backyards don't have room for a full size baseball diamond, many do have room for sports that require only a moderate amount of space. Croquet requires green grass and not much else since the course is configured to fit the space available.
Badminton requires a court of about 48 feet by 25 feet. Competition lawn bowling needs a hard, flat, perfectly level lawn, but backyard matches just require a flat surface and well-mowed grass.
A small putting green for a golfer fits in an area as small as 150 square feet, which is only 10 feet by 15 feet. Artificial putting turf cuts down on lawn maintenance.
Most pools are made for splashing about and playing. Even a small pool takes up quite a bit of space when the equipment and decking is added to the space of the water's square footage. However the advantage of a pool is that it is the focal point of the yard. Once the pool is in, not much else is required to finish the backyard.
Breaking up a space such as 40 feet by 70 feet makes the yard more usable and more esthetically pleasing. Think of how you want to use your yard. If you entertain a lot, a cooking area installed next to the patio by the back door transforms a patio into a kitchen. It doesn't have to be fancy; a grill, charcoal or gas, a surface for placing food and cooking utensils, and a table with chairs is all that's required.
Place the table and chairs under a tree hung with candle lit lanterns for an alfresco dining experience. Create a reading nook under a shady tree with a hammock, pillows, and table or a quiet conversation area with a few benches.
Build a play area for the kids where they can be watched from a window as they have fun. There's enough space in this size backyard to include a playhouse with the play area.
Think of the backyard as rooms with designated functions.
Herbs, spices, fresh vegetables and fruits all add a flavor kick for the family chef. Plant an herb garden with basil, oregano, thyme, dill, parsley, sage and rosemary in a small plot. An herb garden fits easily within 50 square feet. Add a greens garden with different lettuces, spinach, kale and chard in another 50 square feet.
A plot of 10 feet by 15 feet will feed a family of four through the summer. A vegetable garden provides both warm season crops like sweet peppers, hot peppers, string beans, tomatoes, eggplant, and cucumbers. A cool season garden planted when the summer garden is finished provides cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, beets and peas.
Finish off your culinary inspired backyard with a few grapevines and strawberry plants. Even with as little space as 40 by 70, there is room for a few fruit trees. Choose semi-dwarf and/or self pollinating varieties. Prune the fruit trees to keep their growth in check.