Just because your patio is small doesn’t mean it can’t host an outdoor dinner party or barbecue, serve as a small garden or become the perfect place to relax on summer weekends. The secret to making the most of your small patio is cleaning up the clutter, camouflaging the ugly necessities and sprucing up the patio furniture and décor to create your own perfect escape.
If you want to use your patio from dusk till nightfall, you’ll need lights. Start by mounting a spotlight or traditional outdoor overhead light. Add ambience and function with small decorative lights. Think Christmas lights, bistro lights or Asian lanterns wound around porch railings or banisters or hung from the ceiling. Hanging items at different heights creates visual interest. If you live on the ground floor, consider using a motion-sensitive spotlight that will illuminate the patio area if an intruder tries to make off with your favorite garden gnome.
If you plan to entertain on your patio, a patio table that gives you seating options is a must. Yet small outdoor spaces can feel overwhelmed by large tables. Consider getting a portable table that folds up; keep it in your basement or garage when not in use. A small table for two works well for everyday use, and you can get creative and build your own patio benches out of old pallets if you want crowd seating that doesn’t sacrifice space.
A full-sun patio can become uncomfortable on a hot summer day, so shading expands your options. Try a simple patio umbrella to shade a table or consider an awning if you prefer to shade the full patio. It’s always better to have a shade option and not use it than to need shade and not be able to provide it.
Personalize your patio to get the maximum fulfillment from your outdoor living area. You’ll get the most functionality out of waterproof or water-resistant items such as garden figurines, planters, wall decor, lawn ornaments and colorful throw pillows or seat cushions. Make sure fabrics are machine-washable and built to withstand hot sun; otherwise, you’ll need to replace them annually.
If your patio already feels crowded, make way for your décor by finding ways to reduce clutter. Gardening tools or sports equipment, for example, can be stored in a basement or garage until they’re needed. Decorative planters with your favorite perennials hide ugly grills and add personality and charm to the space.
If your patio feels tiny, consider enlarging it. Move grill equipment or backyard fire pits to a paved area of the backyard, if possible. If items don’t need to be out 24/7, park them in the garage for the summer. If you live above ground level, make use of vertical space and reclaim some of the floor area by moving planter pots and decorative items off the ground.
Design blogs, Pinterest and numerous magazines offer plenty of visual inspiration, so browse away to get inspired. With just a few small changes, your patio may start to feel more like a personal space to relax and recharge. Once your patio transformation is complete, invite friends over and show off your hard work.