Whether you live in a city home with tiny roof terrace or a suburban house with a small plot of land to call your own, you can use every inch of outdoor space to maximize your enjoyment of indoor-outdoor living. While some enhancements to your yard such as a hot tub or adding screens to your porch can be a little costly, many methods of making your space more livable just require some new perspective on the space and a small investment of time and money.
10 ways to make your small yard more functional
Step one to creating your personal outdoor oasis is to establish your priorities. Do you want to entertain outside, garden, read or all of the above? Do you have children or pets who need a little outdoor space? Do you want shade or sun or both? If you choose to cover your space for maximum shade, don’t forget to consider the impact on the interior of your home. A moveable shade or one with skylights could be a better option depending on the configuration of floor plan. Once your major decisions are made, consider these options to upgrade your yard:
1. Add separation. A small yard can feel larger if you establish different areas and levels for various functions and to break up the view. Consider sections with grass, paving stones and wood decks to create interest.
2. Add connection. If possible, extend your indoor flooring into your yard to make the inside of your house and your yard feel like one big room. Connecting the interior and exterior space with floor-to-ceiling glass sliding or pocket doors expands your living space.
3. Add fire. A built-in outdoor fireplace can be a pricey addition, but a small fire pit and even heaters can make your yard cozier and extend your enjoyment in every season.
4. Add water. Even a small patio can be enhanced with a fountain attached to the wall or nestled in a corner for that soothing sound of moving water. An outdoor shower can be a practical and luxurious addition.
5. Add light. Romantic string lights and tiny fairy lights can be draped in the smallest spaces to add glamor. Don’t forget to add layers of lights for evening use, including inexpensive solar-powered lamps on the ground, a pendant light and outdoor lamps.
6. Add color. Whether you choose colorful flowers, interesting tiles or lots of cushions, blankets and pillows, adding color can change the mood of a space from soothing to cheerful in minutes.
7. Add seating. When choosing furniture for a small yard, it’s important to stick with pieces that will be comfortable yet not overwhelm the space. Additional seating for guests can be created by building low walls as part of the landscape plan. Another seating option to consider is a bench or ottomans with storage for cushions and candles.
8. Add containers. For flexibility and to add color to your small yard, you may want to opt for containers for your flowers and plants. They can be moved when entertaining and consume less space than garden beds.
9. Add privacy. A tall fence may make your yard feel smaller but planting a row of shrubs or trees can provide the privacy you crave along with greenery that filters light and can seem to expand your space.
10. Add flexibility. Choose your outdoor pieces so they can be moved around easily to take advantage of changing light and different times of day. A bar cart can work as storage and a serving space when entertaining but moved aside when you’re ready to use the yard for an office or reading nook. Umbrellas and canopies that can be moved or stored work well to create shade when needed.
A patio, terrace, yard or balcony, no matter how small, can be used to expand your living space when you take the time to design it for maximum functionality and fun.