Looking for small outdoor space ideas to optimize your backyard? With the right design and decor, small outdoor spaces can have just as much design impact and be just as functional as larger spaces. It all boils down to keeping things simple and optimizing the area with space-saving choices.
Helpful Tips for Designing a Small Space
Unless you’re a tiny house architect, chances are you’re not an expert at designing small spaces. So, we’ve gathered a few essential tips to help you out:
Plan for Deck Function
Plan the decor and design around your deck’s main function. Ask yourself: Do I want to dine alfresco every night? Do I prefer to cozy up and read a book? Or will I be entertaining guests every weekend?
Keep It Open
Keep the area feeling open with furniture and decor pieces that are proportional to the space. Using portable pieces, such as folding chairs and tables, gives you greater versatility to arrange and move furniture as needed.
Opt for Multi-Functionality
Choose multi-functional furniture and decor to maximize your use of the space. Examples include storage containers that double as benches, ottomans, or even tables like this old chest used as an outdoor coffee table.
Get Inspired With These Small Outdoor Space Ideas
Whether your outdoor living space is extra cozy or just big enough for a modest gathering, these small outdoor space ideas will give you the inspiration you need for your project.
1.) Build a Custom Deck to Fit Your Space Perfectly
A custom deck is one built by a contractor to meet your specific needs and design preferences. No matter the size or shape of your outdoor space, an experienced contractor can build you a deck that adds functionality and style to your backyard.
Have a Narrow Space? Go for Diagonals
Diagonal boards make a narrow space feel wider by drawing the eye outward toward the perimeter. Use diagonals across the whole of your deck surface or choose a diagonal inlay for a dramatic focal point.
2.) Embrace Minimalism
When it comes to small outdoor space ideas, less is more. Minimalism lends itself well to small spaces thanks to its emphasis on clean, open areas, simplicity in form and function, and little to no ornamentation. Add texture and dimension with curated furniture and decor made of natural materials, making sure to stick to simple forms and neutral colors for a clean look.
3.) Stay Private With a Privacy Screen
Adding Privacy to Your Outdoor Space
Looking for small outdoor space ideas regarding privacy? Create a sense of coziness and intimacy by blocking your neighbors’ sightlines with a privacy screen. Privacy ideas include folding screens, planter walls, decorative fences, or tall hedges along your space’s border.
4.) Landscape Vertically
Small outdoor space ideas are all about optimizing your available square footage, so whenever possible, think vertical. Vertical gardening, such as a living wall, a trellis, or hanging pots, is a space-saving way to bring in the lush color and texture that only plants can provide.
Work Plants Into Your Deck Design
Incorporate greenery without taking up space with built-in planters within your deck design. Opt for compact plants such as heuchera, thyme, and ajuga, if your climate allows. (Note: Always keep your climate zone in mind to choose plants that will thrive in your area).
5.) Keep Your Seating Compact With Built-In Benches
Choose built-in benches for your deck design to ensure everyone has a place to sit. Place benches around your deck’s perimeter, and/or in between levels if your deck is multi-level.
For even more space optimization, build your own storage benches where you can keep garden supplies, outdoor throw pillows, blankets, and more.
6.) Add Ambiance Without Taking Up Space With Lighting
Outdoor lighting, such as lanterns, string lights, or in-deck lighting, adds to your space’s atmosphere.
Lighting options include both temporary and permanent lights:
Lanterns and string lights both give you a gentle glow and can increase visibility, improving safety at night. However, pay attention to the weather and store temporary lighting away before the storm hits.
With plenty of small outdoor space ideas to inspire your project, you’re now ready start planning. Use our 3D Deck Design tool to visualize your small outdoor space and get a sense of which ideas suit your backyard — and personal style — best.