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Apartment balcony with small table and chair

25 Creative Ideas for Designing Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Whether you’re living in an apartment, condo, townhouse, or a house with a tiny yard, there are plenty of ways to maximize outdoor living areas for small spaces. Learn how to use your limited outdoor space more efficiently with these simple, creative, and budget-friendly design tips and DIY hacks!

Make the Most of Small Outdoor Spaces

Not all outdoor living areas are created equally. The best way to make the most of your outdoor space is to take full inventory of the area first, then consider what design ideas will work for that space!

Embrace Green Space

Have a lot of green space? Sometimes less is more! Rather than adding a deck or an outdoor kitchen, focus on maintaining an open, uncrowded feel. Add flair with plants, a hammock, or a small fountain or sculpture.

Maximize a Miniature Patio or Deck

Patios are great for small space outdoor living because you can easily make them fit any landscape with flexible building materials like stone, gravel, bricks, and pebbles! Decks can also be great because they seamlessly merge the indoors with the outdoors, giving the illusion of a bigger backyard!

Enjoy a Bordered Balcony

Just because you’re in an apartment or condo doesn’t mean you can’t design a cozy and cute outdoor living room. Make your balcony the ultimate destination for watching the sunset or reading while soaking up the sun.

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Utilize a Side Yard

Who says it has to be a backyard? If you don’t have space behind your home, take advantage of the land on the side of your house or townhome. Most backyard design ideas can be scaled down for side yard ideas.

Give the Porch a Try

If you’re low on space but you have a front or back porch, make the most of every inch! A chair swing or fountain can turn an otherwise unused space into a comfortable outdoor living room.

Swim Your Way to More Space

Don’t let lack of space keep you from achieving your backyard dreams! A small outdoor living space with a pool is possible. Go for a smaller in-ground or above-ground pool and get creative with seating layouts.

Create a Small Outdoor Kitchen

Love being the neighborhood grill master, but don’t have the room for a large outdoor kitchen? By scaling down outdoor kitchen ideas for small spaces, you can set up the grilling station you’ve always wanted.

Classic Design Ideas for Tiny Outdoor Spaces

What makes a great outdoor space? Some rules and backyard design tips and tricks are universal. Embrace these timeless choices and make your small space rich with style!

Choose Minimalism

Let nature be your best design accent! Whether you’re looking for cute apartment patio ideas or outdoor room ideas for small spaces, less is more! Simplicity is your best friend when dealing with a limited backyard.

Add a Pop of Color

The simplest trick to conquering small space outdoor living is distraction! A few bright accents will divert neighbors and friends away from noticing the size of your yard, helping them focus on the fun.

Embrace Neutrals

While color is great to draw in attention, too many bright pops and patterns can make your space seem cluttered. Stick to classic neutrals for the majority of your patio furniture and backyard living space!

Utilize Vertical Space

If you’re low on outdoor space because you’re in a townhome or condo, not only can adding vertical space create more room for decor, but it can also add much needed privacy!

DIY Idea: Check out this step-by-step video and learn how-to make your own lattice privacy wall! Extra pallets at home? Try this idea to build a pallet fence or backyard divider!

Designate Specific Areas

outdoor living space with bench seating and a dining area just on the opposite side photo by Instagram user @ggemdesign

Photo via @ggemdesign

Just because your backyard living space is small doesn’t mean you can’t create separate areas. While it might seem best to keep your outdoor area as open as possible, creating distinct sections for specific activities can actually make a space seem larger.

Set Up an Indoor/Outdoor Living Room

Expand your backyard by bringing nature past your doorway and into your home! Flowing curtains, glass doors, and plants can all help seamlessly merge your available space into an indoor/outdoor room.

Best Furniture for a Small Backyard

Curious how to build an outdoor living space in a small area? One of the simplest ways to better utilize your backyard space is to choose smart, functional furniture!

Get Multi-Purpose Furniture

mutli-purpose furniture with beers in small cooler holds photo by Instagram user @mrtnz_ww

Photo via @mrtnz_ww

Choose outdoor furniture that does double duty! No need to lose precious space to coolers when you can ice your drinks in the center of your patio table.

DIY Idea: Want to make your own table with a built-in cooler? Follow these instructions from Domesticated Engineer and transform your current patio table into one that will keep your drinks ice cold!

Try L-Shaped Furniture

Make corners work for you! Especially if you have a deck or patio with walls or a ledge, L-shaped patio furniture can run the perimeter of your space. This means more room for friends, family, and outdoor activities!

Go for a Smaller Coffee Table

outdoor space with two chairs and small coffee table attached to an umbrella photo by Instagram user @homeobsession

Photo via @homeobsession

Sometimes, certain furniture just won’t fit. So trade in large patio tables for a small coffee table instead. As long as you and your guests have somewhere to set drinks, no one will really miss the big table.

Use Glass Furniture

glass side table next to outdoor couch photo by Instagram user @roda.official

Photo via @roda.official

Maximizing outdoor space can be as simple as choosing glass patio furniture. Thick patio sets visually stop the eye and make the space feel cluttered. Open up even the tiniest of backyards with clear furniture!

Try Benches Instead of Chairs

Ditch outdoor chairs for benches! Particularly if you have a small or narrow backyard, long benches allow you to push seating up against a wall or fence and get more seats for guests.

Elongate a Space with Tall Furniture

Think vertically with your patio furniture, too! Tall top outdoor tables and chairs help create long, clean lines even in the most cramped spaces. Whether you’re working with a small courtyard or mini porch, if entertaining is on the horizon, a tall table can accommodate more people in less space!

Make the Most of Your Pergola

pergola over the top of a small backyard with vines and string lights hanging from it photo by Instagram user @travel.loverxo

Photo via @travel.loverxo

The sky’s the limit when it comes to utilizing vertical space! Transform your backyard area into a cozy living room or kitchen by adorning your pergola with lights, greenery, and even floating vases!

DIY Idea: Searching for creative ideas to hang your plants? Check out these ten unique DIY planter ideas compiled by HouseBeautiful.

Distract Guests From Your Small Yard

Small backyards can still have attention-grabbing focal points! Creating a central focus for guests can help your outdoor living space seem bigger. Try one of these ideas to tie your space together!

Include a Fire Pit

There’s always room for backyard classics! Dealing with an extra narrow patio or deck? Try a rectangular outdoor fire pit that can more easily squeeze into snug spaces.

Integrate Unique Lighting

unique overhead lighting above outdoor dining room table photo by Instagram user @lonnymag

Photo via @lonnymag

Creating a beautiful outdoor living space isn’t difficult when you have good lighting. Simply the attention up! Interesting light fixtures will attract eyes and really warm up any backyard.

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Enhance Your Space with a Water Feature

You don’t need a giant plot of land to invoke the tranquility of a pond in your yard! A small fountain will create serenity and add an extra layer of interest to your backyard decor.

Add a Vertical Garden

Have you always wanted a garden? Vertical space isn’t just for privacy fences and hanging decor. It’s also awesome for starting a garden in a small space and displaying your favorite succulents!

Highlight Multiple Levels

Create the illusion of more room by adding an elevated patio or deck! Making separate levels with a brick patio or raised flower beds will provide visual separation that helps your outdoor space seem larger.

DIY Idea: Patios can efficiently divide a space. If you want to add dimension and create separate areas in your small yard with inexpensive patio ideas, try this six-step DIY from Better Homes & Gardens.

Designing outdoor living spaces for small areas can be tricky, but it isn’t impossible! From finding the right space to set up your outdoor living room or outdoor kitchen to decorating a patio, deck, or backyard space, all it takes is a little creativity to build the getaway of your dreams!

25 outdoor living space ideas

Apartment balcony with small table and chair
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