Do you have a small patio space that you don’t quite know what to do with? It’s easy to get discouraged looking at photos of outdoor living spaces with sprawling outdoor kitchens, massive patios and natural fire pit areas. But if you have a smaller backyard space, you just need to get creative in your design. This is where a micro patio comes in.

By focusing on key design elements like the color scheme, plant spacing and artistic pieces, you can create a stylish, usable space that anyone would love to relax in. Read on to learn how to rethink those tiny outdoor spaces.

A single long table adds visual length and more usability to a small patio space. Image: Kate Eyre Garden Design

Turn “small” into “cozy”

The first step in making the most of a small patio is reframing how you see the space. Rather than thinking about what you don’t have, think about what you do. The fact is, with smaller patios, you have an opportunity to create a space that is highly intimate and cozy.

The photo above demonstrates this philosophy. By surrounding an eating area with plant life, the area looks intentionally cozy rather than cramped. Never mind that this might be the extent of the patio; with a design this private, it’s all you need.

Create a stylish outdoor “dining room.” Image: Cato Creative

Section off the micro patio with fencing

When it comes to a small outdoor space, it may seem like fencing is the last thing you need. You might think that fencing would merely box in the space. However, many small patios likely butt up against other yards, making fencing necessary if you want privacy.

From a design standpoint, fencing also makes the outdoor space look like its own contained room. Think of it like an outdoor dining room. From there, you can add plant life and other design elements to make it more stylish. The photo above also shows how horizontal, narrow fencing design helps the fencing and space itself appear longer and more open.

Add chic style to an outdoor space with an accent wall. Image: Randy Thueme Design

Install outdoor accent walls

Accent walls aren’t just for the indoors. Adding a unique accent wall achieves a few goals. On one hand, you can get the segmented privacy that smaller spaces in urban areas often demand. However, it’s also an easy way to add texture and style to the space. And since you don’t have a lot of ground space to work with, using an accent wall is a great way to make that fencing double as a design element.

Cool color schemes work well with surrounding greenery and flowers. Image: June Scott Design

Focus on color and design

Small space require you to focus on individual style elements that much more. This adds cohesion to the micro patio and draws the eye away from the size of the space itself.

For instance, the patio above uses green cushions to match the surrounding plant life, with purple pillows to accent the flowers in the foreground. Highly textured plant life also makes this space a visual treat. The size of the space truly becomes secondary to how all of the colors and textures work together in this area.

White fencing visually opens up outdoor spaces. Image: Cato Creative

Choose light colors

A common way to open up a room inside is to use light colors, but the principle holds true for the outdoors, as well. The white, solid walls in the photo above don’t box in this little micro space.

Patios, of course, usually have cement on the ground. However, if you have a very small space, consider putting down some bright turf to add color. Added green and white plant life pulls the green turf and white fence together into a cohesive look. The bright green plant life also stops the white from looking too sterile.

Hang wall art outside as a way to wow guests. Image: Jetton Construction

Use art outdoors

You don’t have much space to work with in a micro patio, so every detail must be in place. One way to create instant style in a space is to select a design theme using period pieces and artwork, like in the photo above. This Victorian/classic-era patio would be wonderful for enjoying tea. Guests will be too busy admiring the art to notice the smaller space inherent in the micro patio.

Small spaces can be daunting anywhere inside or outside the home, but a little out-of-the-box thinking can transform your micro patio into a cozy outdoor oasis. Are you inspired by any of the ideas above?