A patio is an outdoor space that can become a total reprieve when you need some time to chill or connect with the outdoors. Unfortunately, our lack of viable real estate has ensured that patios have become smaller and smaller over the years.
10+10 Ideas to Make the Most of Tiny Patios
But don’t fret – even if yours is a little cramped, you can use these 10 handy tips to make the most of it:
1. Create the right ambiance
You can make the most of your tiny patio by creating a cozy, welcoming, and lush ambiance around it. After all, no one would be tempted to enjoy it if it doesn’t really feel inviting.
A great way to do so is by surrounding the solid floor area with some greenery to create visual contrast. You can also use lighting and nightscaping to create cool aesthetics. Other than that, your outdoor furniture can also play a role in how you or someone else perceives the space.
2. Define the function
It’s very important that you define the function of your small patio in order to make the most of it. Is it used for private use? Will you entertain there? How many people would be using it?
The answer to these questions is imperative if you want to add functional flair to your tiny patio. First off, they’ll help you determine the kind of furniture that you’ll need. If only one or two people would be using it, you can simply furnish it with a swing or two oversized and comfortable armchairs. However, if it’s going to be used for entertaining, then obviously you’ll be needing a full outdoor furniture set to accommodate however many people that you’re estimating to host there.
3. Multi-purpose furniture
Tiny spaces – be they indoor or outdoor – are fantastic for featuring multi-purpose furniture. This idea can be an excellent way to make the most of a small patio that is going to be used by multiple people. You can pick out modular sofas that can be transformed into an extensive seating space to accommodate lots of people if the situation calls for it. You can use storage benches that have pullout crates that can be converted into extra seating. Coffee tables that can transform into sitting stools are also a great investment. Stools that moonlight as end tables can also do a great job to provide extra sitting. Here is another example, custom bench seating with hidden storage (below).
4. Invest in good cover
An outdoor tiny patio would be totally redundant in the summers if it isn’t protected by good enough shade.
If you’re a landscape buff, then you can design a beautiful pergola with a trellis shade atop your patio. It would provide an excellent opportunity to plant wonderful creeper vines in your garden. From beautiful floral vines like bougainvillea to cherry tomatoes and other lush ivys, you can pick the plant of your choice. It would provide a semi-natural cover that would merge well with your surroundings.
However, if you’re more of an artificial shade kind of a person, then you can go for stylish umbrellas. You can find some gorgeous cantilevered designs in the market these days. You can also opt for a DIY hammock style covering if you’re on a budget.
5. Microgarden away your patio
If your tiny patio is part of the urban sprawl with no nature surrounding it, then you can embrace the microgardening genre. It’s an excellent way to introduce some beautiful greenery within your concrete jungle – but in totally controlled way. It’s also a great way to freshen up a limited amount of space.
All you need are some beautiful plant containers and a sense of where you can put them at. Many people create a gallery wall of small planters as a backdrop for their tiny patio. Others prefer trellises while there are people who opt for oversized statement planters to add a lush, tropical look to the small space.
6. Do something with draperies
A fantastic way to add some character to your patio is by doing something with outdoor draperies – yes, those billowy curtains that float gently in the breeze and give outdoor spaces that beach-Havana look.
This kind of an aesthetic would pair really well with a tiny patio. You can set up four tall, thick wooden posts on four specific corners of your patio and knot your desired fabric on them.
If you want something more permanent, then you can set up a four-poster kind of a layout and install an actual curtain rod on the top connectors to make the drapes more functionally viable.
7. Focus on the flooring
The floor may not seem like the most conventional thing to focus on while designing a patio, but it does matter. Of course, you need an initial surface to work with, and it needs to set the right tone for your furniture and décor. Flagstones work well in patios that connect to gardens, but if you’re working with a limited space, then you can opt for wooden slats for a deck-like look or even simple tiles if you’re more into modern aesthetics.
Another aspect of flooring that can really lend tiny patios that extra oomph is rugs. They’re great for adding that extra bit of vibrancy and sophistication. If you want to contrast your outdoor furniture with a pop of color, then go for a brightly hued rug. If you want something neutral and elegant, then go for a monochromatic rug. The rug also help splits the space, creating a focal point and drawing guests into.
If you’re worried about your rugs getting dirty, then there’s no need. There are so many amazing new waterproof rug materials such as polypropylene that are water proof, UV resistant, and specifically designed for outdoor wear and tear. You can simply select those when purchasing your ideal rug.
Another thing that can really lend your tiny patio that extra visual appeal is good lighting. It’s part of the nightscaping and there are lots of ways you can customize it. For example, you can play around with battery operated fairy lights to create a wonderful nighttime ambiance – no need to worry yourself about electrical outlets. You can also use freestanding floor lamps and put them in highly visible corners of your patio for an incredible accent lighting impact. If your patio connects to a wall, then you can also install box LEDs to create wonderful nighttime light show effects.
9. Make it look bigger
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges that you can face while making the most of a tiny patio is about how to make it look bigger. Well, there are a number of ways you can do that. A wall-to-wall or sidelined layout are your best options. This is basically where you place all the furniture to the side so that you have a large space in the middle. You can even use small nesting tables instead of a full-blown coffee table to make this area look bigger.
Other than that, make sure that all your accessories, décor, and lighting pieces are placed in corners – especially larger floor lamps and planters. You can also think vertical by going for a trellis backdrop and hanging planters. Definitely stick to minimalist furniture and décor – frou-frou things have a way of making everything look cluttered.
10. A firepit table
If you want to add a touch of coziness to your tiny patio, then you can opt for a firepit table. It can make any gathering feel intimate and welcoming. If you’re worried about their usability in the summer months, then you can simply cover up the top with any other material to create an outdoor dining space. With lack of space in mind, the trick is to pick one with high seats thereby reducing its footprint. You will still be able to seat up to 8 people or more and enjoy a perfect night in the company of friends.
BONUS: 10 More Quick Garden Ideas
If you need more inspiration, continue on our list for 10 more brilliant tiny garden ideas.
11. Small Decked and Covered Space
Here is how to make the most of a narrow garden with an inviting deck, pergola, small dining and fire pit. As before, the pergola works for hanging plants and creepers as well as to hang lanterns and lights. Dark gray finish of the deck and structure matches with the patio door and acrylic translucent room protects the furniture and deck from the elements.
12. Make the Most of the Corner
Arguably, the quickest and easiest way to kit up a tiny patio especially one with an open corner is to plonk an outdoor corner sofa. Have the area tiled with concrete slab for ease of cleaning and tidying. Measure up the available space and get a corner set that best fits the available room. You can also add a coffee table and standalone single seaters of your choice to complete the setup.
13. Scandinavian Inspired Cozy Garden Patio
No list is complete without a Scandinavian inspired patio. Low seating area complete with that quintessential faux fur and sheep skin, blankets and cushions. Use seagrass weaved art, natural wicker woven baskets plant pot baskets, lanterns, pouf and big belly storage basket to accentuate the space. And, to make it even more cosy and ready for summer and autumn evenings, hang some fairy lights and paper lanterns.
RELATED: 10 Ideas to Spruce Up the Garden
14. Moroccan Gazebo
Bring the memories of your holiday in Morocco to live by building your very own Moroccon Gazebo in your back yard. This is perfect for a tiny patio. All you need is a tiled area with your choice of bright colourful tiles, some low seating matched with Moroccan coffee tables. Throw in some decorative pots, lanterns and hanging plants and you have your little holiday oasis. To make it function day or night, add hanging ceiling lights and for the kids, hanging chair.
15. Up-cycled Pallet Furnitures with Little to No Effort
To keep the cost down, pick up some wooden pallets from and upcycle them, turning them into seating and coffee table. Use tree stumps as side coffee tables, and old rug for the floor. Line the pallets with an old blanket or throw and pile on your living room cushions (making them dual purpose). With little effort and next to no money, you can have that tiny outdoor space you always wanted.
16. Up-cycled Furniture with Some Effort and Money
Now, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, give those pallets a lick of paint, preferably waterproof. This will not only help them last longer outside in the elements but gives it a more professional feel. Then get some custom made seat cushions to go on them. Finish with some colour co-ordinated pillows and cushions and nobody will be able to tell that they are even re-cycled or up-cycled wood.
17. Garden Lounge Set for a Quick Win
Not one for DIY? Then, pick up a small garden lounge set. It goes particularly well in small spaces. Instead of just two single seaters, you can opt for a combination that includes double seaters and coffee table. With its small footprint, light construction and use of airy and natural material namely woven rattan or bamboo, they won’t crowd your space yet still functional and stylish.
18. The One Where You Throw Everything At It
Not sure want you want in your tiny patio? What about everything you like and love. Here is a case of throw everything at it and hope pray that they stick. You will be surprised, keeping to the right colour scheme and materials, how well it all comes together. Recliners, hanging chairs, dining table, benches, coffee table, rugs, throws, cushion, hanging paper lanterns, fairy lights, candles and even macrame all play nicely with each other without looking out of place under the pergola.
19. Maximise the Space for Seating and Lounging
If you love entertaining and having family and friends over when it is safe, maximise your tiny patio by kitting it out with the maximum number for seating including adding that minimalist garden lounge set we talked about earlier. Just make sure you have enough blankets to go around too for those long evenings and nights.
20. Modern Luxury
If money is not an issue, and you would rather have those immaculate clean lines above anything, then give your tiny patio a nice and bright floor, finish with heavy set table and chairs next to a built-in bench planter. Keep the area bright with wall lights. With the high walls, you will have total privacy and a level of luxury that will make all your guests green with envy.
So, this is everything that you need to know about making the most of your tiny patio. We hope these tips help you design a great outdoor space.
Edited by Samuel J. Tan