Whether you live in an apartment or a suburb, backyard real estate can be slim. But being low on outdoor space doesn’t mean you have to be low on style or function.
There are tons of creative ways to make a tiny patio pay off big with these design ideas.
What is your space best used for?
Before you or your contractor begins to design your space, take some time to consider how you will use the space, realistically. It may be the place you do yoga, enjoy your morning coffee, watch films in the summer, read, hang out with a friend, or just get some fresh air.
You may have fallen in love with an image online, but it may not reflect your personal needs and desires. If your patio doesn’t cater to your lifestyle, chances are, you’ll never use it.
1. Focus on floors
Flooring is the primary way to add interest to a small patio. Brick pavers add a rustic warmth that a boring concrete slab can’t offer. Colorful, patterned tiles can actually make a little space feel more grandiose and refined.
Natural stone pavers provide a “grounding” effect or solid base for the rest of the design. The subtle texture they provide adds interest without being the focal point.
2. Light it up
An easy way to make a small patio feel private and upscale is through lighting. String lights make tiny spaces feel like a fancy bistro you have all to yourself. Draping them across the top of your patio adds coziness and warmth.
3. Bring indoor elements outdoors
Treating your outdoor space as an extension of your indoor space makes both seem larger. Make a fluid transition between spaces with similar decor, area rugs, sofas, or dining tables.
Open-air bars are a practical way to connect the indoors and out without sacrificing too much space.
4. Extend the space with mirrors
Garden mirrors make tiny patios looks larger. To maximize the effect, it’s best to face mirrors towards the longest part of the space. Placing plants in the reflection of the mirror makes the space feel more rich, textured, and whimsical.
5. Create even smaller spaces
Though it may seem counterintuitive, breaking up a small patio into separate areas makes it feel like there’s more to it.
Create even smaller spaces using raised sections, different flooring, grouped furniture, or plant partitions.
6. Pick multifunctional pieces
If you need a place to store blankets, towels, or outdoor dinnerware, choose furniture that provides storage solutions as well as eating or sitting surfaces.
7. Hang your garden
Get plants off precious floor space by nesting them in a wall-mounted planter. Hanging plants vertically also draws the eye upwards and makes the space feel larger.
8. Curb the clutter
A tiny space is no place for extra stuff. Make sure everything on your patio has a purpose and keep styling simple. Employ an “only what’s necessary” approach if you find your space trying to be too many things at once.
9. Maximize space with bench seating
Rather than stuffing several furniture separates onto your patio, create more seating and sacrifice less space with a bench. L-shaped benches can make your space look especially roomy and welcoming.
10. Create privacy with plants, pallets, or panels
Especially in cities and suburbs, it can feel like we can’t get away from our neighbors. Make your small plot a secluded oasis with the use of plants, pallets, or panels.
Plant for privacy from your neighbors or other guests with shrubs, tall grasses, or coniferous trees.
Recycle used pallets or build a custom slat wall to keep your private gatherings private.
Curtains are a simple way to quickly switch your patio from open invite to invite only.