18 Tiny But Mighty Yards, Balconies + Rooftop Patios
Get the most from your outdoor spaces with these clever design ideas.
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©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited
©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited
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An artful array of plants create a peaceful spot to relax in the midst of the city. Functional yet stylish furnishings are perfect for lounging with a cocktail in hand.
A street-facing balcony may offer extra square footage but not much extra privacy. Line your balcony with tall, leafy potted plants to shield your place from prying eyes.
A dark and tiny backyard was transformed with built-in plant beds, salvaged bluestone pavers and lots of natural charm. Reclaimed barn doors add a focal point to the space, while a custom greenscreen trellis fills the garden (and two floors of the home!).
Investing in weather-resistant outdoor furniture, like benches and coffee tables, opens up new possibilities. Don't have enough space for a home office indoors? Take your work to the roof deck on the next sunny day.
Open-Air Herb Garden
Joanna Gaines transformed this once awkward (and tiny) atrium into an open-air herb garden. Located right off the kitchen and dining area, the courtyard is a perfect place to entertain, and a fragrant herb garden makes prepping delicious meals easy.
Once bare, this tiny yard behind a rowhouse in Brooklyn, N.Y. now features a canopy of plants, such as crepe myrtles and camellias. Landscape designer Michael Van Valkenburgh planted trees that naturally cool the garden terrace and house and created a bird habitat.
A cedar screen and plants offer privacy in the outdoor patio and garden. A sinuous lounge chair provides the perfect perch for reading and relaxing.
In this small urban outdoor patio, a salvaged wood wall and potting table satisfy the city gardener. Climbing vines and potted plants, including a terrarium, create a lush space, while a candelabra adds ambiance for outdoor dining.
Cozy, transitional style is carried outdoors with this colorful sitting area. The deck rail is dressed up by several baskets of flowers, while a bright blue rug adds color and comfort beneath the upholstered sectional.
Modern yellow furniture fills this small patio area, coordinating with the electric yellow back door. The furniture and door energize and invigorate the exterior of the colonial-style home.
An easy way to make the transition from indoors to outdoors feel seamless? Houseplants! Here, container gardens, potted trees and small planters lead occupants out onto the small balcony and give it a lush feel.
Make your outdoor space as simple or as elaborate as you want. This easy-going courtyard lets the landscaping do the talking; all it needs is a table and chairs.
Lost in Greenery
Clipped boxwood topiaries, groups of white impatiens, and hostas and palms create a contemporary look in this small city garden. The wooden boardwalk evokes a more natural feel to this urban space.
Tiny, narrow outdoor spaces can still be outfitted with furniture, decor and greenery. This charming Southwestern patio showcases deep, green ivy traveling up its pale pink privacy wall and a beautiful, red bistro set for meals day and night.
Take in the exciting city sights and sunsets from a terrace by adding a dining table and chairs. This setup is also ideal for entertaining. Who doesn't like dinner with a view?
The fix for a tiny outdoor space that lacks architectural interest is simple. Add a makeshift canopy, awning or "tent" by attaching a colorful blanket to high wooden stakes. Not only is it festive, but it also functions as a source of shade. When you tire of it, it's easy to take down, or swap out the blanket.
Table for Two
No matter how small your outdoor space, you can find a way to squeeze in a bistro table for alfresco dining. Drew and Jonathan Scott's home includes a quaint courtyard with this small, blue bistro set.
Concrete terraces can come across as sterile, but not when you bring in dozens of potted flowers. The vibrant blooms add a jolt of color to the area. And because they're in containers, they can be endlessly configured.