Outdoor Living Ideas for Small Spaces

Welcome to a place where the allure of outdoor living knows no boundaries. Here at Penn Construction + Design, we pride ourselves on our expertise in reimagining compact spaces into stunning and functional living areas. In the dynamic landscape of real estate and home improvement, we believe that the luxury of outdoor living should be accessible to all, transcending the limitations of small outdoor spaces. Say goodbye to the notion that only homeowners with sprawling outdoor expanses can revel in the pleasures of open-air bliss. This blog unveils a world of possibilities, where small outdoor spaces become captivating havens of style, comfort, and endless enjoyment.

With our unrivaled expertise in outdoor living remodeling, we will help you in transforming your small outdoor space into an extraordinary retreat that exudes elegance and charm. Our dedicated professionals are here to guide you through intelligent design strategies, space-saving furniture options, and visionary concepts that defy the limitations of size. From clever layouts to multi-functional elements, we will empower you to make enlightened decisions.

At the end of this blog post, you will have gathered practical solutions to help you make informed decisions and with our expert team’s assistance, you can rest assured that you will receive well-informed guidance and custom outdoor living design tailored to your specific needs. Let’s walk you through it all. The following is all you need to know about outdoor living ideas for small spaces:

Vertical Gardens or Green Walls

Photo by Gotta Be Worth It

As the word ‘vertical’ already implies, a vertical garden also known as a green wall will allow you to maximize your vertical surfaces, allowing you to grow plants without taking up valuable square footage or floor space. This is one of the most efficient outdoor living design ideas for small outdoor areas because gardens normally take floor expanse. It provides a good opportunity to bring greenery and nature into a small outdoor space, while also enhancing air quality and creating a visually appealing atmosphere. Additionally, vertical gardens can act as natural insulators, reducing the heat absorbed by walls and helping to regulate the temperature in your outdoors. They also provide privacy when strategically placed, acting as a natural barrier and creating a secluded oasis within a small area.

Creating green walls and vertical planters in small spaces can be a fun and creative project. One idea is to utilize wall-mounted planters specifically designed for vertical gardening. These systems often come with pockets or compartments that can accommodate various plant species. Hanging baskets and containers can also be attached to walls or fences, allowing for various plants to be displayed vertically. For a more dramatic effect, consider using climbing plants or vines that naturally grow upwards such as ivy, jasmine, or climbing roses, to cover a wall and create a lush green backdrop.

Multi-functional Furniture and Storage Solutions

When designing small outdoor spaces, exploring furniture options that serve multiple purposes is essential. All you need to do is look for furniture pieces that can fulfill more than one function. For example, there are outdoor benches with built-in storage compartments or coffee tables that you can convert into dining tables. Incorporating hidden storage in outdoor furniture is a clever way to keep your small space organized and clutter-free. For example, you can consider using storage ottomans or side tables with concealed compartments to store cushions or gardening tools. Outdoor sofas or sectionals with hidden storage under the seats are also great options for stashing away extra items.

Compact Dining or Seating Area

Photo by Skylar Kang

Creating cozy dining and seating areas in small spaces requires careful consideration and strategic planning. It is important to use space-saving furniture that will befit the layouts. 

First, look for a table designed specifically for small spaces, such as a drop-leaf or miniature dining table. Wall-mounted tables that can be folded against the wall are also excellent choices for compact dining areas. These tables can be expanded when needed to accommodate more guests and folded down when not in use to save space. 

Second, consider using versatile seating options like stackable chairs or stools that can be easily stored when not in use, freeing up valuable floor space. You can also experiment with different layouts, such as placing the dining table against a wall or opting for a square table that saves space compared to a rectangular one.

Creative Use of Lighting

Intentional use of lighting can significantly transform the ambiance and create a magical atmosphere. You can use string lights to add a warm and whimsical touch by having them draped across fences, hung from trees, or suspended overhead to create a cozy and enchanting glow. You can as well incorporate lanterns, which can be placed on tables, hung from hooks, or placed along pathways to provide a charming and inviting glow. Utilizing solar-powered lights is also an eco-friendly choice that eliminates the need for electrical wiring, saving you energy bills.

Do you know that pathway lighting is a decorative way of illuminating outdoor spaces? By installing low-voltage LED lights along walkways or garden paths, you not only enhance safety at night but also create an aesthetic effect. These lights can be embedded in the ground or placed on stakes to provide subtle yet functional illumination. You can even get further creative by using spotlights to highlight specific features in your outdoor living, such as plants, architectural elements, or artwork. These focused lights draw attention to focal points that will always catch your visitors’ attention.

Create a Little Garden with Potted Plants

Photo by Taryn Elliott

Potted plants and container gardening are excellent options for small outdoor spaces. They allow you to bring greenery and life into your surroundings while keeping things manageable and organized. First, choose plants that are suitable for compact spaces, such as succulents, herbs, or other dwarf varieties of flowers such as lavender. Second, use different colors, textures, and heights to create visual interest and depth. Last, consider using tiered shelving or plant stands to maximize vertical space and create an eye-catching focal point. With potted plants and container gardening, you have the flexibility to experiment and easily rearrange your outdoor space to suit your changing preferences or seasonal blooms.

Incorporate a Small Swimming Pool

Photo by Pixabay 

While larger pool areas may be the usual thing, we believe that size should never hinder our clients’ ability to create a fine poolside retreat. All you need to do is put your trust in our expertise, then you have no problem with getting the perfect design for you. During your consultation, this is part of the decisions we will address together. Our expert designers will assist you with compact swimming pool designs to choose from – designs that maximize the available area while maintaining both functionality and style. This ensures that you make the most of your space without sacrificing your pool’s purpose or visual appeal.

Get Creative with Decorative Rocks or Pebbles

Unleash your creativity and elevate your outdoor space to new heights by harnessing the captivating allure of decorative rocks or pebbles. These versatile elements offer more than just aesthetic appeal – they add texture, depth, and a touch of nature that transforms your outdoor area into a stunning earthy masterpiece. Take a look at some inspiring examples:


Create captivating hardscape pathways using decorative rocks or pebbles to guide your footsteps and create a sense of direction from one point to another. Whether you opt for a meandering stone pathway with intricate patterns or a minimalist gravel path accented with strategically placed pebbles, these elements are sure to add more charm and character to your outdoor space.

Garden Borders

These stones can be used to define garden borders, adding a polished finish to your landscaping. You can create a distinct separation between different plants, flowers, or sections of your garden, enhancing the organization of the entire area.

Water Features

You can also use them to enhance the allure of water features, such as fountains or ponds. They can be used to line the edges, create a cascading effect, or provide a natural-looking bed for the water feature, amplifying its beauty and creating a harmonious blend between water and earth.

Maximizing the Illusion of Space

To make small outdoor spaces appear larger, optimize the layout by minimizing visual barriers. This will create an open and flowing space. In addition, choose appropriately scaled furniture to avoid overcrowding the area.

Take Advantage of Light Colors 

Elevate the visual appeal of your outdoor space by harnessing the power of light colors such as sky blue, aqua green, or white. These hues have the remarkable ability to reflect more light, creating an illusion of space and making your outdoor area appear larger than it is.

Wrapping Up

From front entry courtyards and zen gardens to stylish small-sized pools, your outdoor living can be your personal gateway with a custom scenic atmosphere that enhances your lifestyle, fostering deeper connections with your family. Leave your small space worries to us, relax, and watch us provide permanent solutions to all your backyard needs. From our experience, having a small outdoor space can not restrict your ability to enjoy the joys of the outdoors. Our team of skilled designers will maximize every inch of your space, offering careful planning, creative design solutions, and a touch of ingenuity.

Rather than viewing your small space as a limitation, Here at Penn Construction + Design, we see it as an opportunity to unleash our creativity and inspire innovative approaches. Together, we can transform your outdoor area into a captivating and functional space that exceeds your expectations. We are thrilled to offer you a complimentary consultation package. Contact us today and let us help you unlock the full potential of your outdoor oasis.