With the average garden size across Britain of 188 square metres (226 in Scotland, 140 in London), most of us have to learn to make the most of limited outdoor space. The good news is that there are so many ways of creating a wonderful outside area without rolling acres of land.
Here, we offer our top tips for creating glorious patios in smaller gardens:
- Keep it light
Small patios benefit disproportionately from a light colour scheme, since these shades allow them to feel larger immediately. Keep everything from the floor to your fencing in pale hues and everything will look roomier.
- Have impact with a feature wall
Feature walls can lend panache to any patio space, and the eye is drawn to them instantly. A wall can be painted or tiled, or you could add greenery with a living wall. A feature like this diverts attention from the size of the patio, while if you have a design with horizontal lines, this helps to make the space seem much bigger than it really is.
And if you have a single wall across the entire width of your patio, you’ll make the area appear bigger and wider.
- Creating intrigue and texture with your plants
A patio doesn’t have to be super-sized for flowers and shrubs to look amazing. You just need to choose with care and look after them well. Don’t be afraid to use bold colours. Things that grow up rather than outwards work well in smaller spaces.
Options include pots, raised beds within low-level retaining walls around your patio edge, or hanging baskets. So there are lots of things you can do. Even a small kitchen garden is a possibility, since some aromatic herbs like chives or sage do well in pots. Meanwhile, courgettes, chillis and tomatoes all thrive in smaller greenhouses.
For a distinctive finish, combine your plants with some rustic garden furniture or maybe a fire pit so you can enjoy your patio all year round.
- Terrific tiling
Bold paving stones and outdoor tiles can make your smaller patio look highly distinctive, while varying texture without dominating the space if you stick to tiling a limited area.
Go for high-quality natural stone or porcelain for long-lasting results and a sleek, professional finish requiring minimal upkeep.
- Choose furniture with care
With smaller patios, keep furniture smaller and minimal, so you don’t overwhelm the space with chunky, oversized items. And maybe you want furniture you can pack away if yours is a multi-purpose patio. You could also complete the look with throws, lights, floor cushions and seating in strong hues. Having straight-edged pieces which go flush against a wall or fence will also free up space.
- Give your patio some structure
It’s a popular idea to have a wooden structure over a small patio – and with good reason. You can have wooden arches or a pergola; there are many ways to use a structure to amplify the design of your patio. You can also thread outdoor lights around the posts if you have them.
A pergola will also frame the view across a garden nicely, while providing a strong focal point.
- Give your patio a lift
Create a feeling of height by lifting up planted areas, if only by a foot or two. A retaining wall, for example, will direct the eye upwards.
So, when it’s thoughtfully styled, a small patio can be every bit as rewarding as a larger one. And clearly there’s no ideal size of patio – yours just has to suit the space available.
At AS Landscapes, we can design and build a patio that’s perfect for your garden, and we work across Surrey, Ascot and Windsor. We use everything from clay pavers to natural stone and porcelain tiling.
We also have four sets of outdoor furniture from our supplier Garden Impressions, currently on display at our show garden in Lyne, Chertsey.
Get in touch to learn more about what we could do for your garden, whatever its size.