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Adding Garden Furniture to Your Small Outdoor Space

Small outdoor spaces, such as gardens, patios, or balconies, offer unique opportunities to create intimate and inviting areas. With the right garden furniture, you can transform even the tiniest of spaces into a cosy retreat for relaxation, entertainment, and enjoying the beauty of nature. In this article, we will delve into detailed strategies and creative ideas to help you make the most of your small outdoor area by incorporating carefully selected furniture.

Measure Your Area

Before embarking on your furniture journey, it is essential to measure your available space accurately. Grab a tape measure and note down the dimensions of your garden, patio, or balcony. Take into consideration any irregularities in shape or obstacles that may impact furniture placement. By having precise measurements, you can plan effectively and select furniture that fits perfectly within your available area.

Types of Garden Furniture for Small Spaces

Folding or Stackable Furniture

When space is limited, opt for furniture designs that can be easily folded or stacked when not in use. Foldable chairs, collapsible tables, and stackable stools are excellent options that allow you to maximise space utilisation and store them away conveniently.

Bistro Sets

Bistro sets are specifically designed for smaller areas. They usually consist of a small table and two chairs, providing an ideal setting for enjoying a cup of tea or intimate conversations in limited spaces. Look for lightweight materials such as aluminium or rattan for easy manoeuvrability.

Hanging Chairs or Hammocks

Consider suspending a hanging chair or hammock if your outdoor space allows. These unique seating options not only save valuable floor space but also add a touch of relaxation and playfulness to your small garden or balcony. Ensure proper installation and adequate support for safety.

Built-in Seating

Incorporating built-in benches or seating along the edges of your garden, patio, or balcony can be an effective way to optimise space utilisation. These structures can double as planters, storage compartments, or even as boundaries for raised beds. Explore options like integrated wooden benches with built-in storage beneath the seat.

Creating the Illusion of Space

Strategic Placement of Mirrors

Hanging a mirror on a wall or fence can give the illusion of a larger area by reflecting light and views. Place them strategically to enhance the visual depth and open up your small garden or balcony. Consider weather-resistant mirrors specifically designed for outdoor use.

Vertical Gardening

Utilise vertical space by installing wall-mounted planters or hanging baskets. Growing plants vertically not only add greenery but also creates an illusion of a larger area by drawing the eye upwards. Choose trailing plants like ivy or vibrant flowers to create a stunning vertical garden display.

Light Colour Scheme

Opt for a light colour palette for your furniture, cushions, and accessories. Light colours reflect light, making the space feel brighter and more spacious. White, pastels and neutral shades can create an airy and open atmosphere. You can also use pops of vibrant colours as accents to add interest and personality.

Transparent Elements

Incorporate furniture pieces with transparent or translucent materials, such as acrylic or glass. These pieces create a sense of openness and allow light to pass through, giving the illusion of more space. Consider a glass-top table or acrylic chairs to maintain a visually light and uncluttered look.

Making Furniture Multi-Purpose

To maximise functionality in a small outdoor area, choose furniture that serves multiple purposes:

Storage Benches

Incorporate storage benches that double as seating, providing a place to sit while also offering ample storage for gardening tools, cushions, or other items. Look for benches with waterproof compartments or removable lids for added convenience.

Folding Tables

Invest in folding tables that can be expanded when needed and folded away when not in use. These versatile tables are perfect for hosting small gatherings or enjoying a meal outdoors. Look for options with adjustable heights or folding leaves for added flexibility.

Modular Furniture

Consider modular furniture that can be rearranged to suit different occasions and adapt to your changing needs. These customisable pieces allow you to create various seating configurations and optimise space usage. Look for modular sofa sets or sectional seating options that can be rearranged as per your preferences.

Practical Furniture Arrangement

Clear Pathways

Ensure there are clear pathways for easy movement within your small outdoor space. Avoid cluttering the area with too much furniture, leaving enough room to navigate comfortably. Create a flow by arranging furniture against walls or around the edges while keeping the central area open.

Scale and Proportion

Choose furniture that suits the scale of your area. Oversized furniture may dominate the space, while undersized pieces can make it look empty and lacking. Strike a balance by selecting furniture that complements the proportions of your garden or balcony. Consider furniture with slender frames and streamlined designs to maintain an uncluttered appearance. We have some more tips in our article How to Arrange Garden Furniture for Comfort and Functionality.

Create Zones

Divide your outdoor space into different zones based on their intended use. This division not only adds structure but also enhances functionality. For example, designate an area for dining, lounging, or gardening. Use furniture placement, rugs, or different flooring materials to define these zones clearly.

Utilising Vertical Space

Wall-mounted Shelves

Install wall-mounted shelves to display potted plants, decorative accessories, or small garden tools. This not only saves valuable floor space but also adds visual interest to vertical surfaces.

Hanging Gardens

Explore hanging garden systems or vertical planters that allow you to grow herbs, flowers, or even small vegetables vertically. These innovative solutions maximise space and create a stunning focal point in your small garden or balcony.

Trellises and Arbors

Incorporate trellises or arbours to add vertical elements and create a sense of height. Climbing plants like jasmine or morning glories can be trained to grow on these structures, adding a touch of natural beauty while maximising space.

Lighting Solutions

Ambient Lighting

Install string lights, lanterns, or LED candles to create a warm and inviting ambience. Strategic placement of lighting fixtures can visually expand your small outdoor space during evening gatherings or cosy nights under the stars.

Solar-Powered Lights

Opt for solar-powered lighting options to minimise the need for electrical outlets. These eco-friendly lights charge during the day and illuminate your outdoor space at night without any additional cost.

Spotlighting and Uplighting

Use spotlights or uplights to highlight architectural features, plants, or focal points in your small garden or patio. Properly placed lighting can draw attention to specific areas, creating an illusion of depth and adding visual interest.

Introducing Water Features

Compact Fountains

Consider installing a small water feature such as a tabletop fountain or a wall-mounted spout. The gentle sound of running water not only adds a soothing element but also masks noise from nearby surroundings, creating a tranquil atmosphere.

Miniature Pond or Water Garden

If space permits, create a small pond or water garden by utilising a container or a preformed liner. Incorporate aquatic plants, such as water lilies or lotus, to add natural beauty and create a serene focal point.

Weather Protection

Umbrellas or Canopies

Provide shade and protection from the elements by using umbrellas or canopies. Look for compact and easily adjustable options that can be positioned to shield specific areas of your outdoor space.

Retractable Awnings

Consider installing retractable awnings that can be extended or retracted based on weather conditions. These versatile additions provide shade when needed and can be conveniently stowed away when not in use.

Outdoor Curtains

Hang outdoor curtains to create a sense of privacy and shade while adding a touch of elegance to your small garden, patio, or balcony. Choose weather-resistant fabrics that are easy to clean and maintain.

Maintenance and Care

Regular Cleaning

Keep your garden furniture clean by regularly wiping down surfaces and removing any debris. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning recommendations based on the material of your furniture. Need more details about cleaning your garden furniture, read our article From Grime to Shine: How to Clean Garden Furniture Like a Pro.

Seasonal Storage

If possible, store your garden furniture during harsh weather conditions or during periods of non-use. This helps prolong their lifespan and keeps them in optimal condition. Not sure where to start?

Read our article Winter Care & Storage: Tips for Your Garden Furniture.

Protective Covers

Invest in protective covers designed for your specific furniture pieces. These covers shield your furniture from sun exposure, rain, and dust, extending their durability.


Maximising a small outdoor space is a creative endeavour that requires thoughtful planning and careful selection of garden furniture. By measuring your area accurately, considering different furniture options, creating the illusion of space, incorporating multi-purpose furniture, utilising vertical space, lighting solutions, introducing water features, providing weather protection, and maintaining your furniture, you can transform your limited outdoor space into a functional and visually appealing sanctuary. Follow these detailed tips, unleash your creativity, and embark on a delightful journey to make the most of your garden, patio, or balcony. Embrace the potential of your small space and create an outdoor retreat that reflects your style and provides moments of relaxation and enjoyment amidst nature’s beauty.

Updated on May 17, 2023

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