Inspiration Spaces

How to Maximize a Tiny Outdoor Space

Sarah C
Written by Sarah C

These days everything seems to be getting smaller…and usually for the better. However, with the gravitation toward urban living, limited housing comes with the territory, and as a result our homes are shrinking along with it. Pair that with the current craze over micro homes and shelters, and we have to wonder if the days of large, sprawling spaces are a thing of the past.

With that said, chances are your pied-à-terre gives you little to no yard or patio to work with, but there’s no need to get claustrophobic—get creative! Here are a few clever tips to help your tiny outdoor space reach its full potential.

Narrow it down or build it in!

narrow-it-downBuilt-ins and slim, collapsible furniture are a great way to add comfortable seating to a small outdoor space without feeling cramped. This seating arrangement gets it right—L-shaped built in benches with cushions relieve clutter from this backyard…there’s even room for folding chairs. The use of a narrow beer garden-style table mirrors the length of the sitting, cutting a symmetrical line that gives the illusion of a larger space. Image via

Add some levels


Break up the terrain of your backyard with floating decks and/or stairs…the staggered look is sure to add depth and dimension to any outdoor space, no matter how small. Here you can see a mishmash of curved and geometric pathways punctuated with greenery and lounge areas. This creates a laidback space that also designates certain areas for private relaxation. The second look switches between wooden and concrete elements as you step to the lowest level; added bonus: the steps also provide additional seating for larger gatherings. Image via, image via

Sneak in a Fire Pit

Everyone loves a good bonfire. As you can see here, you don’t have to get too fancy when carving out a space for a fire pit. This homeowner simply cut a hole in the concrete foundation for their outdoor hearth. Can’t commit to such a permanent spot? Small and portable outdoor fireplaces are good alternatives to create a warm gathering spot in your backyard. Image via

Garden Up Top

Here are two trends quickly rising along with the micro housing development: shipping containers for housing structures and rooftop gardens. This guesthouse really hits the nail on the head with both. Now that your garden is above you, your patio is free to be devoted solely to R & R. Image via

Make a Small Balcony Retreat



For some, the balcony might be their only window to the outdoor world, so why not make it as comfortable as possible? Here, fabrics and textiles become your best friend; create a cozy nook on your small terrace with lounge chairs, pillows and blankets. Go the extra mile with the addition of curtains—they are a great way to add some style and privacy to your balcony space. Image via, image via

Create a Panoramic View


panoramic-view-2These dwellers take sliding doors very seriously…they’ve dedicated an entire wall of their house to them. Once the doors are open, the inside and outside are blended together, and their interior living rooms become the outdoor space. Images via

Use Vertical Elements

By integrating plant life in to your outdoor area in a vertical fashion, your eye will travel upward and the illusion of a much larger space is accomplished. Below, the hanging vines add height to this narrow seating area, reaching almost as high as the wooden wall to the left. Image via



A similar look is achieved here with the placement of tall trees around this backyard. Not only do they add a grandiose feel to the space, but they create a natural barrier between the neighboring yards. Image via

About the author

Sarah C

Sarah C

Ever since receiving her first home décor magazine at a young age, Sarah has been drawn to the design world, leading her to work creatively as the Print Marketing Manager at YDesign Group. When she is not gushing over interior design on the interwebs, she is usually writing about it. In her off time you can find her hiking, enjoying a nice long brunch, and exploring the awesomeness of Northern California. IG: @sarahwinningham

1 Comment

  • […] Needing to accommodate large volumes of travelers might mean a tight squeeze for an outdoor balcony or lounge. The Hotel Pupp in Brixen, Italy doesn’t have this problem. Bergmeisterwolf architekten has created a personalized deck space with built-in seating and places to lay out, eat and drink. It doesn’t have to be a ton of space, but making room for an outdoor oasis of any kind can go a long way.  (For more, check out our favorite ways to maximize small outdoor space right here). […]

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