If your yard feels cramped, dull or otherwise in need of of a pick-me-up, don’t worry! You don’t have to dig up the backyard and start from scratch to make it feel homey and new, just make some small investments. Your focus should be the patio area, so start there. Here are some inexpensive patio ideas to help spruce up your small yard:

Add a path of pavers.
If you want to keep the grass in shape but add a nice complement to your patio, why not install brick pavers or stepping stones? Pavers come in many shapes and sizes, and you don’t even have to stop with brick. You can pour concrete pavers or use travertine — the possibilities are endless, depending on your budget. Pavers are easy to install and inexpensive to repair — and you can stain them to match the color of your home’s exterior. They’re a great way to upgrade the appearance of your backyard and keep your grass green.

Furnish frugally.
If you want to add seating options to your patio without spending thousands on premier outdoor furniture, find ready-to-assemble furniture at your local home improvement store. It’s less expensive than pre-made furniture. Plus, you can find ready-to-assemble furniture in lots of styles and shapes to suit your patio design. Ready-to-assemble furniture is usually light and easy to move around as well, so you can arrange it around your small yard without any hassle.

Lighten things up.
Adding lights can completely change the look and feel of your patio and small yard. Plus, it adds a level of safety and security at night. You can hang lamps, add solar lamps to the grass around your patio, or install lighting fixtures (this may involve some electrical wiring). You should lean toward CFL and LED lighting; they’re eco-friendly and will save you some money on your monthly utility bill. In fact, they use — on average — 90 percent less energy than traditional lighting, despite their higher upfront cost.

Grow a garden.
If you want more greenery on your patio, think about adding some container gardens or hanging plants to help it better blend with the yard. You can add goodies like cherry tomatoes or just go with flowers or vine-like plants, depending on what you think works best. Some foliage will help your patio look more natural without cluttering it up.

Make it multifunctional.
If your patio feels disjointed from your small yard, make it multifunctional. Maybe it doesn’t need to be a traditional patio — instead incorporate a tarp or awning with some seating and a firepit. This helps to create a patio-like space that’s interwoven with your small yard. Maybe your patio space is a configuration of stepping stones or a poured concrete area that you sometimes put a tent over. Creating a multifunctional space that exists within your small yard helps it to feel more functional and less cramped.

Put wall space to work.
If your small yard is crowded with potted plants, or too many flowers in general, replant them in pots and adhere them to the walls around your patio. Not only does this help your patio to blend into the landscape, but it frees up room in your small yard. Vertical plants are popular in urban areas, but they can also be used in backyards to accent your walls and make things feel more green.