As cities grow and urban homes shrink, having outdoor space is increasingly like winning the lottery: rare and envied. Make the most of even the tiniest space you have with these bright ideas.
- Define How You Will Use Your Outdoor Area
What do you want from your balcony or patio? Perhaps your indoor living area is small, so adding an open air breakfast room in the courtyard creates more living space. If your balcony has a view, capitalise on it with some comfy chairs. Also consider where your space is situated. Having an outdoor dining area that’s accessed through the bedroom might not be the best option. An outdoor lounge retreat however, might be more welcoming.
- Simple Lines and Patterns
When strapped for space, create the illusion of more. Patterns can be overwhelming on their own, so take extra care when pairing two together. Too many opposing patterns and lines can make a space feel smaller. However a single, carefully placed pattern can add depth and interest. When choosing timber decking or paving go for leading lines that invite into the space.
- Go Vertical
In spaces with small square footage, vertical walls can be asset. Add shelves for decorations and storage, or a wall garden that adds nature without impeding on your ground space. When choosing plants, either go for vines that don’t need a lot of root space and flourish in small pots, or hanging pot plants. If you don’t have a wall in place, but would like more privacy, make a green screen with bamboo. Bamboo naturally grows tall and thick, but make sure it’s contained to pots as it can take overrun your garden bed when planted with other plant species.
- Add Greenery
We all need a little bit of nature, especially living in the city. No matter how small your outdoor space is, adding a plant or two can transform it into a haven. Consider what direction your space faces and how much light it will get before choosing your plants. If you have a bright sunny spot, even consider cultivating an herb garden. If gardening isn’t really your thing, go for low maintenance succulents, which range from pint sized to large vines that will creep along railings and up walls.
- Fill Your Space
Create the illusion of a large space by filling the perimeter of space you have and using each corner. Layer furniture or plants of different heights to make your space look deeper, such as a bookshelf or tall plants behind an armchair or table.
- Reflect Light In
Make the space look larger and lighter by placing a mirror at one end. If your patio doesn’t get much light, try slightly angling the mirror skyward to reflect light in.
- Colour Carefully
Keep it simple in a small space by choosing one or two statement colours. Create a focus point by adding a brightly coloured chair or cushions and keeping everything else in neutral tones. This will prevent your space from feeling over cluttered, and keep it feeling spacious.
- Choose Smart Furniture
Make the most of the space you have with multipurpose furniture. Think a foldaway table or bench seats that double as storage. Who doesn’t want a space that can seamlessly double as a dining room and lounge?
- Embrace Awkward Space
If your outdoor space is a strange shape, don’t try to change it to suit what you want, work with it. A long narrow space may work best with bench seats and a table for entertaining. While a small space might be better used as a patio garden that spills indoors through windows or a door. Consider the best solution and how you can maximise it for your home.
- A Drop of Water
There is nothing more soothing than the sound of running water. Add atmosphere to your outdoor area with a small waterfall or fountain. If space permits, use the running water to reflect light into a darker area of your home. In smaller spaces, add a small electric fountain that can sit on a table or amongst pot plants, bringing a soothing sound to the background.
- Let There Be Light
Seamlessly take your outdoor living from day to night with simple lighting. A string of fairy lights or low garden lighting add ambiance without being overpowering. Layer these with downlights or lamps over a table for dining, and your space will immediately have an interesting, inviting aesthetic.
- A Touch of Texture
For a space to be inviting it needs to feed all of the senses, especially touch. A deck chair you want to be sitting on all afternoon needs to be comfortable and soft on the skin. Try adding an underfoot rug, or textured cushions for variety too.