Maximizing a Small Patio

Small Patio
Make the most out of a petite patio with these creative, space-stretching tips and design ideas.

Space-Saving Bench

Similar to how banquette seating saves space in a small kitchen, a built-in bench is perfect for a small patio because it doesn't require extra space for chairs around the dining table. Here, the stone on the facade of the house continues around the perimeter of the patio for a fully integrated look.

Match Shapes

Maximize the space your patio affords by matching the shape of your table to the shape of your patio. Here, a round table and four chairs fit perfectly on a small round patio. A tall fence with green plantings offers privacy and a cozy, tucked-away feel.

Concrete Idea

This space-sufficient design creates the perfect easy living outdoor space through multipurpose furnishings and poured-in-place concrete seating to better frame the area. With an overhanging umbrella, shade is never too far away on bright sunny days.

Outdoor Built-In

A creative “coffee table” fashioned from an old horse trough serves many purposes. One side is a drink cooler featuring a movable wood top so the drinks are easily accessible on steamy days. The other side features a fire pit, perfect for cool evenings.

Use Bright Colors

An advantage over large patios, small patios can feature bright colors without overwhelming the eye. Here, a mix of bright greens and blues are a stunning complement to the home’s gray exterior walls. Backless ottomans matching the decor provide extra seating without interfering with sight lines.

Space-Saving Furniture Arrangement

To eliminate wasted space behind furnishings, place patio seating in a corner, along the perimeter. The furniture arrangement seen here affords enough space on this patio to move a small table and chairs into the opposite corner when the homeowners choose to dine outdoors.

Create a small water feature for your patio. All you need is a container fountain kit, a watertight container, and a few water-loving plants.

DIY Container Water Feature

Create a small water feature for your patio with this simple step-by-step guide.

Natural Simplicity

A simple, soothing design incorporating elements from nature is often ideal for a small patio, as overly elaborate decor may overwhelm the space. Nature has been integrated into this patio through a stone wall, lush greens, and colorful flowers. A few well-placed steps add dimension and stretch the space visually.

Open Sight Lines

Opt for seating with open backs to keep sight lines uninterrupted and expand a small patio visually. These homeowners chose to keep the color palette simple and unassuming, using the same light blue-green on both the bench and coffee table. They also distressed the furniture for a relaxed look.

Narrow Table for a Narrow Patio

For a narrow patio, a long and narrow table with a pair of benches may save space without sacrificing valuable seating. This rustic, reclaimed table with matching benches sits up to six as is; eight with chairs pulled up to the ends.

Layers of Green

Layer lush greens around the perimeter of a small patio to create the illusion of depth and make the space seem grander. It works best to place taller plants behind smaller ones. This patio’s black and gray color palette was intentionally kept simple to keep the space open and airy.

Opt for Chairs

If you don’t plan to use your patio for dining, forgo the table for a couple comfy chairs. A smaller side table offers a convenient spot to rest a beverage or a book. A variety of plantings along the perimeter help connect the patio to the rest of the yard.

Create a Cozy Room

Take advantage of a small patio by making the space cozy and private. Hung from one side of the pergola over, a curtain made of durable outdoor fabric provides a soft backdrop for the bistro table and chairs. A mix of lighting adds to the intimate ambience while extending the patio’s usability into the evening.

Water Feature

Like the table, the fountain was also originally a horse trough. Around it, planting insets bring a bit of garden and a splash of color into the space. These plants also provide an outline to the patio.

Add Interest Underfoot

An outdoor rug can help break up the surface underfoot -- iving a small patio the impression of more square footage. The rug selected for this patio features a simple green and white striped pattern for a clean, uncluttered look. A tablecloth in matching colors ties the space together.

Smart Furniture Sizes

It's important to keep furniture and accessories scaled down if your space is small, but that doesn't mean everything has to be tiny. Sometimes a larger, well-placed piece of furniture like this outdoor sofa works better than several smaller pieces.

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