If you are renting a house, you most likely have a backyard.  But most landlords tend to keep it as a green space to keep maintenance down as one tenant may love to do gardening and the next one not so much. 

As a former landlord I converted the backyard into a simple green space after I allowed the first tenant to dig up a section for a vegetable garden but then a few years later the next tenant wanted nothing to do with it, so it went to weeds.


how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Instant Patio

I decided to keep it as simple green space that the tenant cuts.  But I have also been on the other side of the fence, a tenant myself when my hubby’s job moved him around and we rented space that would allow our dog.  I didn’t want to put much money into the yard even though the landlord said “grow whatever you want as long as it is legal!”  But I did want to enjoy the space in the nice weather and feel as though I was not visiting someone else’s yard.

After much research I discovered ways to fix up a rental backyard that reflects your personality and is still portable which means no construction, no investment into a property that is not mine, and these things can travel with you.

Take Inventory of What is in the Yard

Did your rental house come with a basic patio? A deck? Or nothing but grass?

If you love the idea of a patio, and like to sit outside in the good weather, there are portable options for patios.  You should still check with your landlord and tell him of your ideas, as these portable patios are wonderful but will kill the grass underneath.  He may like the idea enough that he will buy them off you when you eventually leave.

Portable Deck Squares

These clip together for an instant patio.  You can use this right on the grass, but also over that basic patio with plain pavers.  This will instantly dress up the yard and feels like an upgrade.  They allow for drainage and will hold all your outdoor furniture with ease.  These can also be used on a balcony and feel better on the feet compared to peeling concrete.  It feels like a deck and they simply click together.

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Easy to Move

Garden Creations JB4710 Extendable Instant Fence
Amazon Price: $18.97 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2018)

Portable Fencing

This is a great way to section off areas of the yard such as the patio, and make a great place to put planter pots against filled with flowers.  This can also instantly give you that flower garden you want and create a smaller area for your oasis in your rental backyard.  They can be easily picked up and moved if you ever leave ready for the next spot.

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Instant Privacy

Vifah V163 Acacia Hardwood Privacy Screen
Amazon Price: $275.00 $131.83 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2018)

Privacy Fencing Panels

These are a bit more of an investment and taller, but remember you can simply fold them up and take them with you if you move.   Just think portable when purchasing anything.  These do not need any construction and are a perfect way to create privacy from neighbours or to enclose your very own oasis.  If you have a larger plain yard this can create a comfortable patio feeling.  You can move them around too.  But this way you can enjoy time outside without seeing the neighbours and anyone else. 

So between the portable patio deck tiles and these privacy fences you can have an instant oasis ready in an afternoon.  Add some pretty flower pots and your patio furniture and your yard is looking and feeling more like home every minute.

Life is transient and even if you think you will stay in that rental house for a long time, things can change such as job moves, or losses or simply wanting a change, so you don’t want to invest in anything in the yard that you cannot take with you.  

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Vertical Planters

Portable Vegetable Garden

You can get vertical gardens that can house vegetable and herbs without digging up one blade of grass.  The above is an example but you can also get bigger ones or get a few of these.  They are an affordable way to still enjoy gardening and fresh foods without investing in the yard.  They are ready to go when you are.  They are also perfect for balconies, but not only can you grow veggies but they look nice as flower pots as well. 

Anything that sits tall or vertical will give definition to your space and really make it pop.  Just think, if right now you stare out the back and only see fences on each side, or maybe the neighbours yards and no fence, how quickly you can turn that space or just a section into an oasis for yourself.  Even if you used portable vertical gardens as a way create privacy, you can get creative and purchasing pieces that can do double time is even better.  They can look great as well as serve a purpose.

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Add an Outdoor Room

Sunjoy L-GZ798PST-E Regency II Gazebo with Mosquito Netting
Amazon Price: $299.00 $289.00 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2018)


These are portable and can be taken down, but are also a great way to create a shady spot especially if you have a large open yard.  They also have the net curtains so you can still sit outside in the evening with no fear of bugs.

These work anywhere in the yard and are also a great alternative to a table umbrella that you have to twist around or huddle in the little shady circle it makes.  You can place these on an existing deck or patio as well if you purchase weights.  Out in the lawn you just hammer in the clips, but on the deck or patio you use specifically designed deck weights so once again you are not creating any damage.

This is a great way to get more use out of that plain yard and enjoy the good weather or even a drizzly day.  The first tenant I had, used one of these right on the patio, as it was always in the sun.  This way she could walk out the patio door right into her gazebo.  She simply took it with her when she moved.  Online has some of the best varieties, so worth checking out.

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: amazon.com

Portable Storage

ShelterLogic Shed-in-a-Box with Auger Anchors, Peak, Gray
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2018)

Shed in a Box

If your rental backyard does not include a shed for bikes and other things, and your landlord is not prepared to add a shed, then ask him/her if you can use a portable shed such as the one pictured. 

It is not there permanently, and you can quickly take it down and with you when you move.  The grass will come back once the shed has been taken down, but you should inform your landlord that you will be using one of these so that he realizes the grass may go brown.  Or maybe he will end up installing a permanent shed for you.  But if not, these portable sheds are ideal for outdoor storage and hold up to weather quite well.  We have one that has been through two Ontario winters and still doing fine.  

how to fix up a rental backyardCredit: Diane Palmer

Thrift Stores and Garage Sales - Look for Whimsical Decorations

As long as everything is portable or easily removed without damage, your imagination is all that restricts you.  You can find all kinds of cool ideas in thrift stores to dress up that backyard, such as old chairs can become planters as pictured, or cool colourful planter pots, little knomes, and many other things that can move away with you when you leave, but create a more purposeful and creative rental backyard that reflects your personality and feels like home.