Designing for a small outdoor space? We don’t all have the luxury of a large garden to claim part of and make it into the perfect outdoor living area.
Type into a search engine ‘designing my outdoor space’ and you’ll be shown listings from design experts telling you to think about how you will use the space. How many people you will entertain there. Will you recline by your fire pit? Or just read a book?
That’s all fine and dandy if you have a choice
If your outdoor space is already defined, and your little part of paradise is 8’x6′ then the choices are pretty limited.
Or are they? Just be bold and check out how others have tackled their small gardens or yards.
Let me help you with a little inspiration.
You want the chance to take a peep over other peoples garden fence to see how they’ve tackled the thorny problem of matching their wants with what can really be achieved.
Being the ‘interested’ sort myself, I’ve put together some ideas gathered from me taking a virtual peek into a few people’s gardens.
Let me show you the results of my peeking.
The porch is a staple of many homes in the US and Canada. Not so often seen here in the UK they are an area of outdoor design loaded with possibilities, and they fascinate me. Mainly they fascinate me as they are typically small so design for a small outdoor space is baked in.
The principle reason for porch lounging seems to me to be the chance to watch the world go by while you relax in a space that is yours.
Comfort matched with practicality and style are the order of the day. Furniture will stay outside all year and in all weather so it must be durable and low maintenance. Cushions can easily be removed and stored so they’re the finishing touches really. But the basics must be right.
Here’s what I imagine when I think of the perfect porch
This lovely porch is light and welcoming and so simple to recreate.
The choice of white tones for the woodwork, the simple white wicker chairs with bold, statement blue seat cushions all accented with yellow is easy and unfussy giving a clean uncluttered look to the porch.
There’s nothing here that couldn’t be easily replicated and on a budget.
Make feature plants the focal point
This is an outdoor living area after all, so why not have architectural plants as the focal point?
If the space is available to place a tremendous potted plant against a wall or by upright supports, make use of the structure to soften the look of the area and draw the garden into your porch.
Design your seating plan around your plants and create a lovely cosy sheltered garden to relax and unwind in.
Thinking about seating
Outdoor seating offers so many options when you design for a small outdoor space.
Wicker, iron, wood. Low maintenance. Seating for smaller spaces and seating for larger gardens.
This wood chair from Wayfair is as great to look at as it is to sit on. At 72cm wide, this chair is a good choice for smaller porches or patios too.
This is just one of a number of similar styles on the Wayfair site in both the UK and US. If you’re in the US try this link to similar styles.
I have a personal preference for chairs like this one also from Wayfair.
Are you a DIY fan?
Recently I found a great YouTube channel, DIY Mommy, where Christina tackles many DIY tasks. The one that caught my eye was her Front Porch Makeover. Christina makes two chairs similar to the Wayfair version above using a tutorial from Ana White.
You can find that tutorial here.
And remember to let me know how it goes and include a photo please!
Personally, I’m going to have a go at this one for our new outdoor seating area that will transform a previously overlooked area of our garden.
Creating the seating area and buying a bigger greenhouse is going to use all our budget. Making the seating will save on cost and give me a challenge I’m going to love.
The walled-in garden
Having a space enclosed by walls can seem intimidating but it shouldn’t be.
Use hard landscaping to your advantage. The addition of a living wall will add much needed softness and use the vertical space that you have lots of.
Feature plants grown in large pots are the best option where space is limited. Choose large pots rather than lots of small pots as that will help to visually open up space. Larger pots allow for the addition of some taller architectural plants to give interest and shape to the plan.
Wicker furniture is a good choice where there is a lot of harder surfaces. The pictured space uses neutral shades for the cushions but more colour would suit my tastes. What about you?
Great Design Ideas Can Overcome A Lack of Space
The choice of a swing seat in this yard is a creative way to add comfortable seating and keep the space looking open and uncluttered
Living in the UK I would pay special attention to any floor covering as it could rot with the amount of rain we get.
The wicker seating on fine legs and the wicker table also add to the feeling of the yard being spacious. Solid wood wouldn’t work so well.