Most homeowners prefer larger spaces and properties, but small outdoor spaces can actually really do wonders for your lifestyle and home. The key is space economy – use whatever floor area you have, even the smaller ones that at first glance, don’t seem to have much functional use, and make the absolute most out of them.
There are tons of ways for you to maximize your small outdoor space, both visually and functionally. Regardless of the size of your small yard or patio, you can still turn it into the outdoor oasis of your dreams.
Figure out a Goal
While larger property areas have the advantage of having different zones and uses, smaller outdoor spaces need to have designs that focus on making most of every inch. Before you start designing your small space, take some time to figure out how exactly you want to utilize the area and what you want to get out of it.
The uses of yards and patios can range from entertainment to casual gardening. An outdoor space that is set up to accommodate guests will look very different from one that contains a functional vegetable garden, so priority number one would be deciding the goals you have for the area. Afterwards, it’s a straightforward process seeing them through.
Maximize Visual Space
A workaround that most designers utilize when given small spaces to work with is using specific visual tricks that will fool the eye into perceiving the space to be larger than it is. Start by decluttering the area – an overgrown yard and unkempt landscaping will only serve to cover up the little space that you do have, meaning you won’t be able to effectively use it all.
After you’ve taken out all the rocks, trees, and shrubs from the space, think about making smooth, clean lines that can draw the eye. You can put in patio pavers, lush grass, or a wooden deck level with the yard. The main idea is to use long, unbroken planes to maximize your visual area.
Next up is color design. Include cool colors on the edges of your outdoor space. Cool colors will recede visually when viewed, which will tend to make your space look larger. Utilize cool color tones throughout the area with your choice of furniture, decorative plants and flowers, and the stain or color of your patio or deck.
Direct Pedestrian Flow
Walkways can help make better use of the outdoor space as well. Walkways are used to direct people where to go; this in turn gives the impression that there is more area than there really is to cover. It also means that you can help segregate your outdoor area into smaller areas for different functions.
If you had an entertainment patio, consider creating a walkway towards it that passes through ornamental softscaping. The areas around the walkway could be used for other functions as well, like additional seat space or conversation nooks, lighting design, or unique gardening.
Utilize Every Square Inch
It is common practice for people to separate their outdoor spaces from their main house or buildings. They create small borders around the house with mulch, pavers, plants, or gravel. However, this isn’t entirely necessary since it also tends to take away valuable space from the rest of the yard or usable space.
Try out extending your wood deck space up to the side of your house. Use the space right up against the exterior siding of your humble abode for gardening. Don’t forget about your original goal for how you want to use the yard and make sure you use all available space up against the house for that same purpose. Space fillers are incredibly wasteful for smaller areas.
Mind the Scale
You can fit plenty of color, function, and form into small spaces, and can even include multiple functions for a small deck or yard. The trick is to pay close attention to the scale of furniture and décor that you place there.
Large urns containing greenery could make for good statement pieces on either sides of your patio doors, but could also take up some valuable floor are that could have been used for seating. Aim to scale down and choose taller, slimmer plants instead for the same area.
The same can be said for furnishings, walkway measurements, and even the types of plants and buses you use. Find plants that don’t need much room to grow and bloom, or ones that grow only up to a certain size, as well as furnishings that have multiple uses, such as bench seats that can also double as storage spaces when needed.
Make the Most of Your Small Space
Smaller spaces don’t necessarily translate to unusable spaces. There are many ways you can put in great colors, forms, and functions to your deck no matter how small it may be. Focus on what you want in the area, utilize and maximize visual space, and pay attention to scale and size to get the perfect fit for you property.