Making the most of small patios

Phantom Screens / July 15, 2016

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Small patios need not be restrictive. There are a myriad of designs and ideas that can turn your diminutive patio into a little backyard haven that you will love. Here are some simple ways to maximize your space and turn your small patio in a space that works for you.

Planning, planning, planning

When you have a restricted amount of space to work with, it’s vital that you plan it out meticulously. You don’t want to waste an inch. One tip is to draw out the space to scale on graph paper so you can move features around to suit your idea. It’s a lot easier to move pieces of paper than it is to move around landscaping or outdoor furniture!

There are also great software and apps available to help with the planning. They’ll also help you to visualize the finished product. They’re also jammed with hints and tips to help you to make the best of your small patio area.

Multipurpose furniture

A great way to make your space go further is by choosing multipurpose furniture. Whether it’s a bench that doubles up as storage unit or a coffee table that has an integrated fire pit, there’s bound to be a way you can maximize your space. If you’re planning on creating a patio that has built-in entertainment, then think about wall hanging things like TVs and speakers. That way they’re not taking up too much of your precious floor space.

Not too many textures

One visual trick you can play is to limit the number of textures you incorporate into your small patio. If you mix wood and concrete and several types of planting with different fabrics and textures you’ll end up with a very busy appearance. By simplifying your palette and limiting the numbers of materials you use, you’ll be able to create a space that feels much bigger.

Colors and fabrics

And that’s true of colors too. Keep it simple and you’ll end up with a small patio that looks classy and feels roomy. If you pick a fairly neutral base color, a light grey or pale green or beige, and accessorize with a stronger contrast color, you’ll trick your eyes into thinking you have more space. Remember to check your color scheme by using color theory so you’ll know you’ve got it right.

Plant in clever ways

Professional landscapers recommend planting taller and bigger plants at the back of a garden to draw your eye upwards. If you plant tall plants close to the patio you’ll find that they can dominate the space and make it feel even smaller than it actually is.

If you use a lot of stone and concrete to create a paved area then consider planting small shrubs, succulents or herbs, such as thyme, in between the pavers. You’ll soften the landscaping but also bring little visual appeal to what can be dull areas. And if you use herbs, you’ll enjoy the fragrance from them when they’re warmed by the sun and their essential oils are released.

Find inspiration in other countries

Lastly, consider transforming your small patio by exploring other countries’ design ideas. There are so many choices from the intimate space of a Moroccan courtyard to the formal grandeur of a French courtyard. And if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxed, you could always let an English country garden be your inspiration. For warmer climates, the Mediterranean might offer the perfect solution with whitewashed walls, sun resistant plants and welcoming terracotta terraces.