Design Evolution: See a Tiny Patio Change Over 5 Years

published May 31, 2016
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(Image credit: Janel Laban)

The Tiny Canal Cottage is 1920s Craftsman-style house near the Venice Beach Canals in Southern California. Because the home itself is only 362 square feet, most of the furniture is built into the space, so they don’t move furniture around on a whim. That leaves the outdoor space as Whitney’s design playground, where she switches things up as needed. At any given time it includes a work station for gardening, multiple small herb and veggie gardens, and a seating area and patio for entertaining. Many items have dual purpose depending on if they are lounging alone, or entertaining guests. Here’s how it’s looked over the years..

We got a brief glimpse of Whitney’s home back in 2013 (lead image above), and this is what her outdoor space looked like after living there for a couple of years. A white trellis is the backdrop for a small cafe table, with an added blanket layered on for some privacy. Morris uses the trellis for hanging pots filled with herbs, berries, and succulents which soften the space. The trellis makes the yard feel like a secret enclosed garden, and saves space by keeping planters off the ground.

This is what she told
Refinery 29 when they featured her space:
We waited a good year to figure out what we wanted to do with the outdoor spaces and how we wanted to use them. We wanted to make sure we got pieces that were truly right for the space, since it’s so small…we picked pieces that can be moved around a lot when the sun moves — or whenever we want. You can pick up the collapsible pieces and reorganize depending on what kind of party you’re having.
(Image credit: Monica Wang)

A full house tour followed shortly thereafter and by then Whitney had already made some changes, namely by replacing the table with an outdoor bar. Smaller pieces are scattered throughout, and used in various ways, ie. plant stands, stool, or table. Several metal containers (not shown) hold gardening tools most of the time, which get swapped out for ice during get-togethers.

Our greatest joy is hosting parties around dusk. Guests love the unique architecture, and even though our lot is tiny, we have several small gardens and patios that enable us to host up to 70-people if we cleverly re-arrange the outdoor bar (a potting bench), bistro tables and couch.

(Image credit: Instagram)

Whitney recently shared the same space on Instagram, and she’s switched it up again. Although this sofa existed on the other side of the yard, she’s brought it up front for a cozy seating space that her dogs, for sure, enjoy. Hanging string lights turn things festive when the sun goes down.

Hang throw rugs, lanterns, serving trays, gardening tools, baskets and more to create a lived-in ambiance, while also keeping your outdoor necessities within reach. Twinkle lights are the simplest way to make an outdoor space look and feel magical.