Small Patio Ideas – With careful design, a small patio can be a key focal point of your yard that will look great throughout the year. Whether you are planning a more petite patio because your property is limited or you want less hardscape and more softscape (plants and gardens), this outdoor living space should be casual and informal.
It is always best to have a certain space in our house where we can spend time with the family or spend time alone to read, think or just relax.
This way, we don’t really have to be exposed to all the entertainment and fun when all we want to do is chill and rest. There are times in our lives when we only want to listen to the rustle of the leaves or other sounds around nature while sitting and enjoying the view as well as the heat of the sun.
Yes, we can do that in our own homes by adding an outdoor space.
But what if your home isn’t that spacious? Could you still add an outdoor space? Actually, yes! Because even a small area can already be turned into a patio if you really want to; you won’t need an entire yard to achieve this – you just need to have it outdoors. Some even make use of their balcony or terrace.
We have collated some photos to give you inspiration and to provide you with small patio ideas for outdoor relaxation. Here we go:
- Furniture Color
Seating, and optionally tables, is necessary for all patios that are going to be used for entertaining or simply relaxing. Use lighter color cushions, covers, and materials rather than darker to help make smaller areas appear larger.
Stay With A Single Theme: As with all limited spaces, backyards, and small gardens, too many different elements can easily appear cluttered rather than decorative. Choose a theme color scheme, and design ideas that match the home, surroundings, and rest of the backyard and stick with it.
- Landscape Lighting
As well as being necessary to enjoy your patio at night, lighting is also a good idea as it creates visual atmosphere when viewing the garden or landscape from the home or other area of the yard. However, because of the small and confined space, lighting placed on the edges or in the flooring area can be easily damaged or become a tripping hazard. Place landscape lighting deeper inside planting beds or look for ways to provide down lighting that is not intrusive to the view. Use strings of holiday lights or theme based party lights to create atmosphere and additional patio lighting.
- Plants And Planting Containers
To help keep floor space clear, hanging plants where possible are a good idea. If your patio is lined with planting beds, use plants that have upright or limited growth habits rather than aggressive trailing habits. Keeping within a theme and principles of small gardens, use a limited selection of alike plants. Also, if planters and containers are used, place them in small odd number groups or singles against walls to keep floor space open.
- Water Features
While water features can offer the element of sound and motion, they can also create a lot of sound in an enclosed small patio that make it difficult to carry on a conversation. Along with that, they can take up a lot of room. Another good idea is to use low volume wall fountains that have minimal drop and splash.
- Mosaic Patio
An overhead view of this fascinating garden shows just how much the owners were able to do with such little space. The river rock mosaic creates a circular path that resembles a snail shell and ends in the middle—visually a longer journey than if the space had been solid concrete, bricks, or another material. Framing the space is a glazed ceramic tile fountain and several pots that contain flowers, vegetables and herbs, with taller shrubs and trees in the background to draw the eye upward.
- Charming Cottage Garden Patio
This cottage garden has many nooks, crannies and surprises throughout. Here, a simple concrete slab with a curved row of bricks could be rather plain without landscaping, furniture, statuary, containers, lighting and other garden features. This is a great example of what happens when you combine design elements of a certain style or theme—in this case, it’s a whimsical cottage garden.
- Front Yard Retreat
Older homes that are situated on deep, narrow lots often have lots of setback, which means there is a long expanse of often-unused front yard. For decades, the traditional front yard was a basic lawn and a long driveway leading to a garage—which was often a separate structure in the backyard. From the sidewalk, a pathway—sometimes lined with hedges or rose bushes—led to the entry. More hedges were planted beneath the front windows, and occasionally there was a tree or two in the front yard.
- Cozy Patio with Fireplace
An outdoor built-in fireplace not only provides warmth, it serves as a focal point and gathering place for this small outdoor living space. White concrete, white furniture, and accents of blue and pumpkin-orange complement the brick patio floor.
- Flagstone Patio
Mix surface materials to add some interest in a small space. Here, the property is large but the hardscape is limited. While a solid concrete patio would work just fine, the area is defined with the addition of a flagstone floor and an overhead patio cover or pergola. It pulls together the paved space and the existing concrete slab can serve as a path or frame for the outdoor room. Plants clustered on the borders help transition the space with the lawn and rest of the spacious yard.
- Choose a Colour Palette
The spring and summer seasons inspire us to be bolder with colour. Pick one that inspires you, and use it as a starting point for decorating your space. If you prefer neutrals, add colourful throw pillows to brighten up the space. For those who love to get loud go ahead and choose those colourful furniture and accessories; the choice is up to you. Have fun with it!
- Create a Space to Gather
This is going to sound totally obvious but if you don’t have somewhere for guests to sit, you probably won’t spend much time there. For smaller patios, you may want seating that is easy to fold up and put away. For those with more space, a sectional or plush seating can transform your patio to an outdoor living room.
- Light Up the Space
Lighting is a great way to add some life to the patio and there are lots of options to choose from. String white lights above or on railings, or hang lanterns to add some additional accent lights.
- Keep Guests Warm
We all know how quickly things can cool down once the sun goes down. A supply of cozy blankets will not only keep you warm, they also add an element of colour and design.
- Plant Some Style
Potted plants offer endless opportunities by adding colour, life, and a breath of fresh air to your space. Play around with the colours, sizes and even textures of pots to make it your own. Whether you prefer flowers or greenery, potted plants are a great way to create some privacy for your new sanctuary.
- Keep it simple
Determining the use of your patio will help guide design choices. Will it be a place to lounge while watching the setting sun? Is it to be used as an alternative dining area? By answering these types of questions, you can narrow furniture selections. Often, keeping the design clean and simple offers spaciousness and comfort.
- Have a lighting plan
Night illumination outdoors (like indoors) is particularly important in creating a mood and making a space inviting. Even the smallest balcony benefits from a string of lights or candles in lanterns. These offer an essence of comfort and coziness that makes up for limited space.
- Embellish with color pop
Outdoor living areas are where one can be bolder with color choice and style. Have fun with accessories like pillows and rugs. Citrus palettes and vibrant blues are summer time favorites that connote the joy of vacation. Any small outdoor space that can do that is successful design.
- Lighten up with neutrals
If bright colors aren’t your thing, going towards neutrals like whites and beiges can work as well. Classically, these hues open up a space, making it seemingly larger.
- Have a focal point
Like in interior design, having a focal point that inspires or engages goes far. Why not have a piece of art outdoors? A fire pit or striking plant can also do the trick. Such pieces take the emphasis off of size and places it on style.
- Urban House
You can create a cute sun trap in your backyard by adding two lounge chairs and small table set on a patch of grass that could either be real or fake. Moving it to a nearby tree will add shade to the area.
- San Francisco Designer Showcase 2010
Adding some planters made of wood will also be nice so that you can have the freshness of the plants in your small patio.
- Short St
Who said you cannot add an outdoor kitchen for a small patio? Actually you can! I also notice here the built-in bench as well as that accent wall.
- Contemporary Garden
A compact courtyard in green and white is just fresh and inviting which makes the area surprisingly spacious. You can roll out some fake grass into it and accessorize with plenty of potted plants.
- Iron Shade Arbor
This one is a low-maintenance garden whose beauty could withstand the tough seasonal weather at different times of the year.
- Mediterranean Patio
You can also bring a folding table and some chairs into the outdoor area with a big umbrella. It would be nice to eat outside, right?
- An Artist’s Garden
A lovely patio with earth tones in it and a small table added into the area as well as a sofa and seats. I can tell that this one is the balcony.
You can do this to the entrance of your house or to the backyard. Seen here is a lacquered bench, petal table, gnome, garden, and container garden.
An abundance of plants compliment the design of this garden and give it a whimsical feel despite the small space.
- 35 Chesilton
If you want something neat and modern, this patio will be the one for you with built-in bench and concrete planters.
- Awarded Designs
If you have a small space in your house that could be opened to the outdoors, insert an entertaining outdoor fireplace and built-in BBQ area.
- The Colony House
You can also add some chairs and let is surround a fire pit. Guess you can even eat marshmallows from there!
- Cococozy in the Hollywood Hills
Make good use of a balcony by adding some furniture in it. You don’t have to get a spacious garden just to have something like this.
- Rue Group, Inc.
An intimate courtyard garden with cobblestone paving is a charming space to relax and even dine with the family.
- Birds of Prey Courtyard Garden by Living Green
Like the previous one, this has a round table with chairs in a lovely courtyard with plants around it.
A patio seating area with cast concrete fire pit. You can see that it used wicker outdoor furniture for this sunken patio.
A small patio space with various types of planters. Just two chairs and a table were added into it.
- 72 The Parade Ascot Vale Victoria Australia
This simple back yard that has the combination of different materials to add visual variety like the stone walls and pavers, timber slatted fence and paint rusted feature walls.
- Knutsford Street Fremantle
You can also see here a mix of different materials from the pavers to the walls. This looks interesting because it seems to preserve some historic background of the space.
- Brooklynn Courtyard Patio
A courtyard with a wonderful patio space featuring rectilinear stones placed in a scattered pattern that compliments with the brick walls.
- Geary Avenue
You can also add something like this to your outdoor space to create a patio. It is elevated from the ground and is a nice place to rest and read a book.
- Christin Eggener
Or you can have something similar to this one with a wooden built-in bench and planters. Put some cushions to make it even more relaxing.
- Tucson Oasis
Simply adding a dining set nestled underneath a large existing tree could also be a good idea.
- Sara & Rocky Garza
Or you can just add a chair and whatever furniture that you don’t need indoors anymore. Combine them together for an eclectic outdoor space.
- A Park Slope Modern
This one is a long and narrow area with grass and wood combined. Just lovely indeed!
- Old California Style Patio
This low-walled courtyard-style patio is at a historic house in Rancho Los Alamitos, California. The setting is somewhat rustic and romantic, with tall, clipped Cypress trees that act as outdoor privacy screens. The focal point(s): tall blue oil jars. It’s a small, relaxing, contemplative place to spend some time. Low walls are for sitting and looking at the shadows of nearby trees on the plain concrete floor.
- Human and pet prints in colored concrete. Lisa Hallett Taylor
Whimsy can be added to a small concrete patio when you let the kids and pets help you decorate a portion of it with colors, textures, and a personal touch.
Concrete can take on an entirely different look and color with some planning prior to pouring. Here, different colors of concrete, which are added during the mixing process, are poured in swirling sections. Make it family and pet friendly by allowing your children, cats and dogs to add their foot or paw prints before the concrete cures.
- Mexican Patio
This small concrete patio in Ajijic, Mexico, perfectly demonstrates the popular concept of seamlessly blending indoors with outdoors. The family that resides in this one-story home spend many of their days and evenings enjoying the view and the mild, nearly ideal year-round climate.
- Saltillo Tile Patio
A black wrought-iron outdoor dining set placed on the front patio of this house allows the homeowners to enjoy their neighborhood while sitting down for a beverage or meal. Saltillo tile is a true patio flooring material, making this space more of a patio than a front porch. The space is not strictly under the eaves of the house, which defines most porches.
This house has several sitting areas in the front and backyards.
- Outdoor Living Room
A simple brick front-yard patio is a welcoming entry for guests and passers-by of this charming beach cottage. What makes it work? In a small space, everything is pulled together without looking too cluttered or overcrowded. The patterned outdoor rug and container garden on the wood coffee table give the space that indoors-goes-outdoors appeal.
- Eclectic Outdoor Room
An interesting mix of furniture pieces and garden ornaments are pulled together to form a perfectly charming outdoor living room. The patio floor is pea gravel, and the couch, chairs and table—all a mishmash—are painted white to casually tie them together. That’s Spanish moss hanging from the ceiling of the iron gazebo. A bowl of lemons adds a fresh splash of color and natural “zest.”
- Saltillo with Teak
Teak patio furniture gives this walled courtyard a warm, rich and inviting appeal. The patio is situated near the front door of a house in Santa Monica, California, and is a small, but well-designed outdoor room. The warm reddish hue of the saltillo tile flooring is picked up in the wood of the teak patio furniture and the outdoor cushions and pillows.
- Elizabeth Taylor’s Puerto Vallarta Terrace
This second-floor terrace is at Casa Kimberly near downtown Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Long ago, in another century, the casa was purchased by actor Richard Burton for his then-lover Elizabeth Taylor, for the violet-eyed beauty to stay in while he was filming nearby.
Yes, even if you only have a small space, you can still create a patio where you can sit and enjoy the outdoor areas. Aside from that, you will be able to have an area that is especially intended for relaxation. You can even bring a book while sitting outdoors or just stay there to think and ponder about just anything. It would be best to do all that with nature around you. Do you agree? So, are you thinking of adding a patio in your house now? Try to check if you have an area for that.