How to make the best of a tiny outdoor space
Many homeowners in Brisbane are lucky enough to have a traditional backyard: one big enough to hold a swing set for the kids, some gardens or a vege patch, maybe even a deck and a pool. But not all yards are the same. And with an increase in high-density living (apartments and townhouses), and with greater demand for spacious interiors, our yards seem to be getting smaller and smaller—or even disappearing altogether.
If you’d love to create an outdoor space, but it seems there is not the space to do it, you might be surprised. There are a few tricks you can use to dress up even the tiniest corner of your home, and create a small but irresistible outdoor space where you can enjoy some peace and quiet—or even some company—in style.
Start with just one piece
A lot of the problems people have, when they’re trying to create an outdoor space are because they think they need to invest in an entire room’s worth of furniture. You don’t: all you need to do is assess the space (realistically) for its capacity, and choose one piece that will suit its purpose. That one piece could be as simple as a single outdoor chair. Painted in a bright white or a bold colour, and set against some colourful plants and pots, you can create a picturesque sitting area with as little as one square metre of space.
Most people in low-set houses in Brisbane will have more than one metre to spare though. If you have just a little bit of space, think about getting a single bench seat: the length makes them suitable for creating a sitting area that you can accessorise with soft furnishings or pot plants, but they’re narrow enough that they don’t look imposing in small spaces. For even more comfort, consider a single garden seat: the high back gives support for relaxing, but used by themselves, they won’t crowd out the area.
Got a little bit of space, but a tree in the middle of it that makes it pretty useless? You don’t need to think about removing it, when you could just get smarter with a tree seat. It’s a great way to make use of all your available space, letting you accommodate a nice little gathering of friends in even the smallest outdoor area.
Make a tiny coffee shop
If you think you don’t have enough room to make an outdoor entertaining area, just remember that most cafes only have a small shop front, but they can fit a dozen tables into their space. What makes those small spaces work is the smaller furniture, combined with a few decorative elements for ambience. Coffee culture is as much about thrift store furniture as it is about the beans these days, with many boutique coffee houses opting to seat their guests on wooden crates around an antique milk drum for a table!
You don’t need to resort to a crate, though, café tables and chairs don’t take up a lot of space. One coffee table and a chair is more than enough to create a private retreat for reading in the afternoon sun—and two chairs (or two hassocks!) is more than enough for having your friend over for morning tea and practising your barista skills. Add in some greenery and fairy lights, or some colourful texture underfoot in the way of pebbles or an outdoor rug, and you’ve got your own little coffee shack.
Work up, not out
If your outdoor space is horizontally challenged, there’s still a chance you can use its dimensions to your advantage by working vertically instead. Regular chairs and tables can take up a fair bit of space, but if you think outside the box, you can choose just a couple of outdoor furniture pieces that will really make your space usable.
Bar furniture is a perfect choice for small spaces. Bar tables and bar stools are smaller in width than regular outdoor tables and chairs, so you can still enjoy a purposefully designed outdoor dining or drinking area without overcrowding your small space. The best part is, the commercial types often tuck under each other as well, so you can store them out of the way for even more room when you’re not using them.
The other way to work upwards instead of out is with your decorating. Use the old tricks of the design trade—paint, mirrors, and vertical gardens—to bring style and character to your outdoor space (and maybe even make it look bigger) without taking away valuable floor space.
Make more space
When all else fails, you can always try to make more space. If you have unused grassy areas, like those between houses, you could consider laying pavers to create a zone big enough for a table and chair set.
A lot of the time people don’t have room outside is because it’s being taken up by old structures that aren’t being used. If you’ve got an old building you’re not using, like an original shed, gazebo, or garage or carport, you could consider renovating and re-purposing it. Old garages often have doors that can be removed, and carports are a perfect substitute for building your own gazebo. You can often add extra beams to the original building and extend outwards, or remove most of the structure and just leave the frame—from which you can hang sheer fabric drapes and lights to create a truly picturesque outdoor entertaining area.
No matter how small your outdoor area is, Australian Garden Furniture Company can help. We carefully source our timbers and craft them into pieces that last a lifetime, retaining their beauty as they withstand the intense extremes of the tropical climate. Browse our range of high-quality, carefully hand-crafted artisan furniture pieces online, or contact us for more information, and we’ll be happy to help you turn that tiny space into a charming outdoor living area.