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This study presents a new, simple method for reducing the back-lobe radiation of a microstrip antenna (MSA) by a partially removed ground plane of the antenna. The effect of the partial ground plane removal in different configurations on the radiation characteristics of a MSA are investigated numerically. The partial ground plane removal reduces the backlobe radiation of the MSA by suppressing the surface wave diffraction from the edges of the antenna ground plane. For further improving the front-to-back (F/B) ratio of the MSA, a new soft-surface configuration consisting of an array of stand-up split ring resonators (SRRs) are placed on a bare dielectric substrate near the two ground plane edges. Compared to the F/B ratio of a conventional MSA with a full ground plane of the same size, an improved F/B ratio of 9.7 dB has been achieved experimentally for our proposed MSA.