Small Backyard, Patio, and Porch Ideas



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High-density living often means going without a great deal of outdoor space. With some creativity, however, it is possible to carve out an exterior niche without major home remodeling. Adding to existing structures or making the most out of small outdoor spots you do have creates a way to connect with fresh air and sunshine.

Small Backyard Ideas to Expand Your Living Space

Small Porch Ideas

Screened or open, porches are the quintessential indoor/outdoor space. For buggy areas, a screened porch allows you to feel the breeze without getting bit by mosquitoes. Open porches invite neighborliness. A comfortable porch size that allows plenty of furniture and free circulation is 8 feet wide and 10 feet long, but any porch that allows you to tuck in some seating will provide a spot to sit and watch the world go by.

Small Balconies and Galleries Ideas

For rooms or apartments on upper floors, balconies and galleries are a great bonus. Expand and retrofit an existing window with a French door to access the extension. Balconies are narrow – about two to three feet wide – and supported by brackets. Galleries are wider than balconies and supported by columns. Three feet make a comfortable width for walking, while 4 feet allows room for some furnishings. Two feet should suffice to be serenaded.

Small Rooftop Garden Ideas

This special spot makes room for dining al fresco, accommodates spillover for a party, and offers premium star-gazing. If your home has a flat roof, consider taking over this unused space. It will provide the perfect perch for bookending your days with a cup of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine in the evening.

Small Interior Courtyard Ideas

When designing a new home on a tight lot, consider the shape of the structure. A horseshoe shape will create a natural courtyard that could become a patio at the front of the house, or accommodate a small pool at the rear. A completely enclosed interior courtyard – something seen more often in Europe – will give you a yard, but in the center of your home.

Safety first — make sure your structure is sound

Before moving furniture or any heavy objects onto a balcony or rooftop for the first time, it’s very important to ensure it can handle the weight. A general contractor can verify the load-bearing capacity and soundness of the structure and reinforce it if needed.

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