Backyard or Back Yard – Which is Correct?

A summer gathering of friends to cook food and spend quality time together is an enjoyable activity. It is made better when one person has a house with a yard, and the group can congregate behind his or her house.

When part of a yard is behind a house or other building, that part is called the backyard. Or is it the back yard? Continue reading to learn more.

What is the Difference Between Backyard and Back Yard?

In this post, I will compare backyard vs. backyard. I will outline which spelling is correct and use it in several example sentences, so you can see how it appears in context.

Plus, I will show you a helpful memory tool that makes it easier to choose either back yard or backyard next time you need one of these words.

When to Use Backyard

backyard versus back yardWhat does backyard mean? Backyard can be a noun or an adjective.

As a noun, backyard means the part of a property that is behind a house or other structure. In suburban America, you are likely to find a garden, a trampoline, a swimming pool, a shed, or a grill (or all of these things) in this area.

Here are a few examples,

  • After Jill returned from her ride, she locked her bicycle in the shed in her backyard so no one would steal it.
  • When Joel and Victoria were shopping for a home, they insisted that the property include a spacious backyard for their 14 children.
  • An Oregon family’s golden retriever has been honored by a sheriff for digging up $85,000 worth of black tar heroin in a family’s backyard. –New York Post

Backyard can also be an adjective, where it describes an activity that takes place in the rear part of a property. A family might host a backyard barbecue, for instance. A backyard patio is a patio that is situated in the backyard.

Here are a few more examples of backyard as an adjective,

  • Christina begged her parents to let her have a backyard pool party for her 16th birthday.
  • Carmelina loved going to Maxwell’s backyard cookouts because she knew Marc would be there.

When to Use Back Yard

how to spell backyardWhat does back yard mean? Back yard has the same meaning as backyard but is composed of two separate words, rather than compounded into a single word.

Both versions are accepted. Generally, in English, word phrases function as either nouns or verbs, while compounds function as adjectives. Indeed, the hyphenated compound back-yard also appears as an adjective, albeit only rarely.

This chart isolates the usage of back yard vs. back yard vs. back-yard as adjectives:

what is the meaning of backyard

As you can see, backyard is much more common as an adjective than either of the other two versions.

This chart graphs the same words, but as nouns:

backyard one word or two

Once again, backyard predominates, although back yard has a much stronger showing here.

These charts aren’t exhaustive in their scope, however, since they only look at books published since 1800, to the exclusion of other print sources. Still, they illustrate a clear long-term usage trend.

Interestingly, the same rule doesn’t hold true for the part of a yard that is in front of a house. Front yard has no compound version and is only ever used as two separate words.

Trick to Remember the Difference

There is no standard version of this term, so you could use whichever variant seems most natural to you.

That said, backyard is much more common as both an adjective and a noun. Since this is the spelling with which your readers will be most familiar, your writing will be easier for audiences to read if you use the one-word backyard.

Since backyard is a single word, like backpedal and backpack, you can remember that all these compound words that start with back are single words.

Summary

Is it backyard or back yard? Backyard and back yard are two variants of a term that means the rear part of a property and can be used as an adjective or a noun.

  • Both spellings are acceptable.
  • Backyard is preferred in all contexts.