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string lights hung up in an outdoor patio with greenery in the background

Tips for Creating Space and Making Your Outdoor Space Look and Feel Bigger

Have you ever looked outside into your yard and wished you had more space for your patio area? This is a common concern for many homeowners and patio enthusiasts.

Unfortunately, making your small outdoor patio area bigger physically is not always realistic. But the good news is, there are several ways you can make your patio look and feel larger, without having to build a bigger space.

Here’s how to make a small patio look bigger with small patio design ideas, so you can enjoy spending time outdoors without feeling cramped.

Tips for Making Small Spaces Feel Bigger

Less is More

The less space you take up, the larger your patio and outdoor space will feel. So, avoid cluttering the area with too much furniture, décor, and colours. And instead, keep it simple.

Only use practical furniture pieces with neutral colours and textures. Consider using two chairs and a compact dining table, two loungers and a coffee table, or a dining set with four chairs instead of eight or 12.

Also, make compromises so you can still enjoy certain features, but on a smaller scale. For example, if your dream is to have a large water feature in your garden, but it won’t fit, consider a smaller wall-mounted spout or spillway instead.

Folding Furniture

Folding furniture is ideal for small patios since it can be easily stored when not in use. You can find lots of comfortable and stylish folding furniture options to suit your space, including multi-functional furniture that can be transformed, adding function and flexibility to your small patio.

Smaller Furniture Pieces

When choosing outdoor patio furniture for small spaces, opt for smaller pieces since they take up less floor space, improve foot-traffic flow, and make the patio look and feel larger and roomier.

As an example, bistro sets are versatile small furniture options that are great additions to a patio or balcony. Rattan and wicker furniture are also useful for making spaces feel bigger because these types of furniture allow light to pass through.

Place Items in the Corners

Placing tall items in the corners of your patio will draw the eyes to areas around your patio and to the edges of the space to make it look and feel bigger.

Consider placing tall outdoor lamps and plants in the corners to draw the eyes up and around.

Use Pale, Soft Paint Colours

Consider painting your fences and walls soft, pale tones. Pale colours recede—as in, they appear to move away from you instead of closing in on you. So, a small space will feel less enclosed with pale colours—e.g., pale blue, pale green, or pale violet—compared to darker shades.

Also, try to use furniture that is the same colour as the background, so it blends in, appears smaller, and takes up less visual space. For example, pale green furniture will blend into a lawn and garden background.

Incorporate Oval or Rectangular Shapes

Oval and rectangular shapes make areas appear longer. So, try to incorporate one or both of these shapes in your outdoor living space. For example, you could have an oval lawn and a rectangular patio area broken up with a narrow curving path.

Rectangular tables are also particularly ideal for narrow spaces.

Hang String Lights

Patio décor isn’t complete without lighting. And string lights help add depth to a garden and outdoor living space at night by brightening up dark corners, drawing the eye upward, and visually opening the outdoor area. To optimize the depth effect of string lights, consider loosely hanging multiple strings at one end of the garden.

Add Tall Planters

Tall planters help draw the eyes upward, making the place feel larger overall.

For inspiration on tall planters, consider the following:

  • Fill tall planters with annuals, perennials, or succulents
  • Add a small cedar tree or ornamental tree
  • Add a boxwood shrub or tropical plant
  • Fill a tall planter with branches and faux floral sprays for a no-maintenance option
  • Create your own tall planters by stacking pots from big to small. And consider filling these pots with succulents or perennials

Divide the Space

Organizing your backyard into defined spaces with different uses will make it more spacious. Try defining the dining or lounging area with a stone patio or separate the play area from the dining area with plants.

With multiple living areas, these divided areas will make it seem like there is more space overall.


Adding levels is another way to divide the space into designated areas and make the yard appear larger. You can use terraced landscaping which provides more space for plants and lower walls that also act as benches.

Also, consider elevating your dining area and creating a lower pit for conversation and lounging around an outdoor fireplace.

While you may not be able to fit a pool in your small outdoor space, you can still create a nice little escape in your backyard without making it feel cramped. So consider these small patio design ideas to make the most of your space and enjoy a roomy feel, even in the tiniest of spots.