Any patio could be considered a blessing. It’s a place to set up a cute area where you can kick back your feet or enjoy a meal (or both) under the warmth of the sun. From a patio, you can listen to the inspiring sounds of the world outside, watch the wildlife or town go about its business, and revel in a fresh breeze caressing your skin. However, a tiny patio may not seem like a whole lot. It may seem downright underwhelming, in fact. You don’t need to be disappointed, though. A small patio is 100 per cent workable, if you know how to maximize the space—and fortunately, it’s not as hard as it seems to make the most of small patios. Here are some tips.
Create a Sense of Structure
An issue with small patios is they might easily be lost in the backdrop. They don’t always appear to be intentional features of a home. You can, however, make sure they’re never overlooked by adding a sense of structure and clearly marking the parameters of the space. That way it always stands out as an important aspect of your home. The type of structure can be anything your heart desires—hedges, fences, a trellis or two covered in foliage, curtains, or even potted plants at each corner. Even a well-placed umbrella could do the trick. However, a pergola is generally a safe choice. A pergola adds definition and height to the otherwise unnoticeable small patch of paved area, both of which matter when you’re trying to maximize tight spaces. Yet a pergola doesn’t fully close off the patio either. Sunlight can still stream through the slats in the roof, so you’ll get an ideal mix between form, as well as some privacy, without losing your connection to the great outdoors.
Draw the Eye Upward
Another reason to choose a pergola is because it gives you a chance to draw the eye upward, which is a foolproof way of creating the illusion that your patio is larger than it is. When there’s something noticeable above you, you’ll be less prone to focusing on the limited horizontal space and more interested in the whole of the area, including vertical space. In this case, giving yourself a place to dangle something above the patio doesn’t hurt, and a pergola solves the issue of how to draw the eye to the vertical space of your patio. If your patio has a roof, go ahead and suspend greenery or potted plants, light fixtures like dramatic lanterns or even fairy lights, or any kind of attractive decoration.
Trust the Magic of Outdoor Rugs
Another trick to making small patio spaces seem larger involves the use of rugs. Placing down a rug in one section of the patio can create an unofficial “second room” inside its restrictive confines, resulting in the illusion that you’re working with more floor space than you are. Without a rug (or rugs), you may be tempted to centre any sets of furniture, convinced you only have space for either dining or lounging. However, by creating distinct areas with the use of rugs, you might realize you can squeeze both a lounging area and a dining area in the same patio, with neither appearing to clash and with space left over. Each rug, or lack of rug, can highlight an individual area of the patio where rules and expectations are different.
Courtesy of Tory Stender
Go Minimalist and Compact (Yet Never Boring and Always Cozy)
When you’re working with a small space, it goes without saying that you’re going to have to be picky about what furniture and décor you’ll be including. You’ll have to use your discretion here. The pieces you choose are going to depend on your personal tastes, how much space you’re working with, and your vision for your patio. However, a general rule of thumb is just don’t overstuff the area. Ensure the furniture is compact and allows for plenty of space between other pieces—and consider anything airy like rattan, as well as anything multipurpose like poufs or ottomans. And stick to what’s essential. Some seating, a coffee table, a place to eat, and a few select decorations are probably enough for any patio, but especially a tiny one. As for colours, light neutrals are recommended, as they have the capacity to make a space seem bigger. Nevertheless, none of these rules should be seen as hard and fast. You don’t have to be boring to make a tight squeeze of a patio work. A massive bulky egg chair in a corner, as impractical as it may seem, won’t necessarily lead to a cramped-looking little patio. There’s still plenty of room for splashes of colour too. For example, carefully chosen eye-popping pillows can liven up a patio and add a layer of comfort—without sucking up a lot of space.
Courtesy of Katrina Blair
Jacob Carmichael | Contributing Writer