Do you plan on throwing summer shindigs or do you want a private space to recharge in, say, a comfy swinging basket chair? Will you be barbecuing and eating outdoors with friends or simply sinking into an armchair with a book? Prioritise what’s most important to you as you pick out your furnishings. If space permits, you could divide the area into a dining zone and a sitting area.
Amp up the outdoorsy vibe with plenty of potted and hanging plants to enhance the back-to-nature effect. You could even grow veggies, herbs, flowers or succulents in a palette garden popped up against the fence. Or roll out some faux grass for the lawn-like look that is easy to install, stays green and is low-maintenance. Plus, it call be rolled up and taken away if you move house.
Recycled furniture can be wonderfully unique and create plenty of character paired with newer contemporary pieces. Check out local op shops, Gumtree or garage sales to pick up a few sturdy pieces to sand back and repaint. An old buffet, for instance, could be repurposed as an alfresco bar in a covered outdoor area.
If you’re not a fan of faux grass, an outdoor rug is a great way to define the space, add texture, colour and comfort underfoot. These days, outdoor rugs are often made from surprisingly soft recycled PET plastic so not only are they a great accessory for your deck, they’re also eco-friendly.
Maximise your petite patio by finding smart pieces that really work for your square footage. Fold-up, extendable and stackable furniture is very small-space savvy. You can set it up when entertaining then store when not in use. The Manna dining table (below) is foldable and there’s also a bar table and bench seat in the range. The Noosa table (below) has a lift-out extension, while the Poppit side table (above) doubles as a stool.
You can easily add the illusion of more space with an outdoor mirror. They reflect the light and surrounding foliage and accentuate the proportions of your petite balcony or patio.
Up the cush factor with plenty of soft and colourful outdoor cushions and a cosy throw. Hang tapestries or soft wall hangings to add heaps of character, while hiding any unattractive external walls. If your space is undercover and protected from the elements, your soft furnishings can stay in your open-air zone year-round. But if your patio is exposed, pop cushions and throws in a laundry cupboard or storage trunk when not in use, then plush up your patio when you’re ready to kick back with the family.
Consider how you’ll be using your space. Do you need a shade umbrella, storage box / coffee table, hammock or fire pit? Even in a small space, you can prioritise what’s important to you to create your own personal oasis.
It’s hard to relax when you’ve got nosy neighbours peeking over the railing or fence. Set up an outdoor privacy screen to conceal your space — it will also help to protect the area against the wind. A mirrored screen would be divine in an undercover alfresco area both to create privacy and amplify the illusion of space and light.
Turn your petite patio into a magical mini-paradise at night by stringing up some festoon or fairy lights. There are both plug-in and solar versions on the market, so you needn’t be restricted if your patio doesn’t have a power outlet. Lanterns and candles are another option. Pour the wine and put some Frank Sinatra on the turntable and you’re all ready for a little romance with your special someone beneath the stars.