6 Small Outdoor Space Ideas That Will Make a Big Impact

May 10, 2021
HomeOutdoor Living Ideas6 Small Outdoor Space Ideas That Will Make a Big Impact

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:

Small outdoor space ideas plan for deck function

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?

small outdoor space ideas keep it open

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. 

Small outdoor space ideas opt for multi-functionality

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.

Planning a Deck for a Small Space?
Explore templated deck plans for shapes & sizes you can customize to fit your available area. EXPLORE DECK PLANS

Get Inspired With These Small Outdoor Space Ideas

Small outdoor space ideas build a custom deck

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

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.

Small outdoor space ideas use diagonals

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

Small outdoor space ideas 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.

Bring Minimalism Into Your Deck Design

When designing your custom deck, keep the principals of minimalism in mind and stick to simple shapes. To elevate your design, go for a picture frame border to add a touch of subtle sophistication.

Bring minimalism into your deck design

3.) Stay Private With a Privacy Screen

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 screenPrivacy 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).

Landscape vertically to draw the eye upward

5.) Keep Your Seating Compact With Built-In Benches

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:

Build ambience with temporary lighting

Temporary Lighting

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.

Boost safety and create atmosphere with permanent lighting

Permanent Lighting

Incorporate lights into your custom deck for a more durable lighting solution. In deck-lighting options include railing lights, stair riser lights, and deck surface lights, all of which improve your deck’s safety and ambiance.

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.

Turn Your Deck Dream Into Design

Play with shapes, colors, lighting, and railing to bring your deck ideas to life with our custom Deck Designer tool.

Scroll to Top