Having a small patio space doesn’t mean you can’t have a backyard oasis. A common complaint from homeowners is the lack of privacy, space, and function to their patio. However, many of these complaints can be resolved with some clever design. After all, having some outdoor space is better than no outdoor space. With that in mind, utilizing the space properly will enable you to gather, entertain, and relax in the outdoors while maximizing the potential of your patio to its fullest extent.
Furniture and its placement is a huge factor to consider when you are configuring the patio space. Seating is an important part of a patio, and when positioned properly, can create the perfect flow to the area.
Built-Ins - Informal seating such as seat walls is a great way to add extra seating without using lots of chairs. Built-ins seat walls can be very versatile since it can be used as a makeshift counter, room divider, or an actual retaining wall. Using seat walls on the edge of a patio also saves valuable floor space.
Multi-Function - Pieces such as storage benches truly maximizes the outdoor space. A storage bench and counter can keep kid’s toys out of the way, firewood dry, and cushions in great condition. A messy and cluttered patio is a common deterrent for patio usage.
Portable Pieces - When challenged with a small patio, keeping furniture small and movable is key to adapting to the use of the space. Being able to add, subtract, and join furniture is much more beneficial than to have just one large item.
Vertical space is one of the most effect ways to gain space in a small yard. Taking advantage of vertical elements without wasting valuable floor space can give you privacy, shade, and a third dimension to the outdoor room. Climbing vines on a privacy fence not only give you the privacy you want, but also add color and texture.
Fire Pit & Kitchen
Many homeowners with a small yards assume their patio needs to be small and simple in order for it to fit. As a result, they rule out built-in fire pits and outdoor kitchens. However, the placement of these elements is much more important than the amount or size of the items. Outdoor rooms are just like indoor rooms; it is essential to maximize the floor space including the edges. A fire pit can still be a focal point without being in the center of the patio; place it in the corner with built in seating around it. Maximize the storage and counter space of an outdoor kitchen by including a walk up bar on the other side.
In the example below, the top image is a common layout for a small yard and patio. There isn’t much space for the homeowner to use. All they are able to fit is a 4-person dining table and a grill. Green space is limited and there is little to no privacy from the neighbor.
With the exact same space available, we have designed a much more efficient and better patio space. We removed the small patch of lawn, and enlarged the patio from 8x16 to 10x20. By doing this, the homeowner has gained more dining space, a larger grill and counter space, a fire pit focal point, and more privacy with a 6’ privacy screen.
Small patios have the potential to be great spaces. It doesn’t take much to gain privacy, function, and style. With some creativity, even your patio can be transformed into a backyard oasis no matter the size.