With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner, it's hard to resist the allure of the outdoors. Most of us want to soak up as much vitamin D as possible before the threat of cold air shifts back into rotation (or before it simply gets too hot, because sometimes you can have too much of a good thing). Whether you have a spacious suburban backyard, or a pint-sized urban balcony, we have some inspiration and tips for you that'll make you want to live outside until you have to pull your parka out of hibernation.
When space is tight, a patio should observe the following recipe for ultimate sunshine enlightenment.
Embrace all things green
In the spirit of warm-weather basking, make the experience more enjoyable by strategically covering your tiny space with plants and flowers you can love and nurture, like in this verdant spot from Martin Cox's "Big Gardens in Small Spaces" via Timber Press. In this space, the plants line the edge of the area creating a narrow walkway that feels like a European garden.
Patterns are your friend
Small spaces are such a great place to flex your creative muscle and take some design risks that you might otherwise refrain from in larger rooms. With a little help from these freshly patterned cement tiles, this petite patio spotted on The Glitter Guide draws your eye in and the clever use of a refurbished mid-century fireplace is the perfect antidote for chilly nights.
Get creative with seating
Though you may have limited space, do your best to keep seating options comfy and cozy, but also easily rearrange-able. Mix and match your styles like they did in this charming little outdoor nook, from Nuevo Estilo, employing a wicker loveseat alongside dainty wire chairs. You can even throw in some outdoor-friendly poufs for a more casual vibe.
Furniture that fits just right
When you're dealing with constricted spaces, it's pretty imperative to break out the tape measure and know exactly what the space will allow. If you're lucky enough to stumble upon a piece or two that fit perfectly (even if they are two crates side by side as seen in this image from Marie Claire Maison), grab them and don't look back! Throw on some comfy cushions and a cozy throw and you're all set.
Table for 1 (maybe, if you try really hard, sometimes 2)
Sometimes an outdoor space is just made for one—comfortably that is. But, look, all you really need is a cozy nook that's inviting and gives you the fresh-air fix you need. The space was cleverly used in this teeny patio spotted on MyDomaine (though originally a listing on Swedish real estate website Stadshem): A foldable bistro table and chair but up against the edge, taking in the view, and with a rug underfoot and potted plants about, this space is absolutely perfect!
No room for ordinary walls
The home of style maker Whitney Leigh Morris, featured on One Kings Lane, is proof that an outdoor space should always strive to be a little dreamy and whimsical. In order to capture that, look at ordinary elements (like walls) with new eyes. Here, this standard fencing trellis was the perfect accomplice for housing a hanging herb garden, leaving behind plenty of space for a plush outdoor daybed.
Sometimes, less is more
Never underestimate the power of two folding chairs and a planter full of greenery (with a cute watering can, of course!), to bring some life to your tiny patio or balcony. Throw in a petite side table to hold your drinks and you'll be set through fall.