Apartment Style: Small Patio Inspiration

by Cary Rogers

Now that spring is finally here and warmer days are just around the corner, I’m ready to spend more time outdoors. For me, this will mean getting out on hiking trails, visiting some of Sacramento’s many public parks, and choosing to sit outside at restaurants and cafes—and daydreaming about having some outdoor space of my own.

But an outdoor space doesn’t have to be grand to be enjoyed. For example, I love the natural feel of this European-balcony patio. It’s simple, chic, and would be easy to re-create at home. A minimal wooden bistro set is enhanced by the terracotta pots, which create an earthy atmosphere. Filled with tall plants, they define the space—and lend privacy.

Here are a few more spaces currently inspiring me, and some pieces for making the most of what you have…

This sleek design lets you soak in all the city has to offer (and who wouldn’t enjoy a view like this one?)

Get the look with low profile benches or daybeds. The cushions keep things comfortable and relaxed, while letting the view do the heavy lifting.

Now that we’ve finally started getting some warmer weather, I’ll be able to take inspiration from restaurants around the city. I love seeing the design choices they’ve made and figuring out how I could make some of those details work in my own space.

String lights are an easy addition that can make any space seem more inviting. Note how all the natural wood adds warmth and feels cohesive, even though many of the pieces are not of a matching set. Wall planters like these, and galvanized box planters bring the nature into the small, urban backyard.

You don’t have to let an absence of dirt stop you from embracing your green thumb. If you want to grow your own herbs, flowers, or vegetables, a mini greenhouse could be just the answer. Rather than crowding limited square footage, a greenhouse takes advantage of vertical space, and it’s so pretty to look at.

While the greenhouse pictured is no longer available, there are a lot of small options out there. Check out these from AmazonHayneedle, and Target.

I love how this tiny patio doesn’t waste a single inch of its valuable space. The designated eating and sitting areas make it feel larger by creating separate zones for multiple activities—including gardening! A small rug brings it all together.

The planters on the railing are especially cool. Here are a few options in wood, steel (with frame), and copper finish. And you can also create vertical gardens with pocket planters.

This all-white patio is so dreamy! And I would love to spend a few hours reading on that bench. Keeping everything simple allows the few statement details to really shine—like tree tables from HKLiving or the beautiful cactus pot from Pop & Scott. The striped pillow is by Pampa.

While this yard is certainly not tiny, it’s an inspiring lesson in inviting (and allowing) contrast. The World Market couch and the pavers balance out the rustic feel of the coffee table—made from a wood pallet and salvaged steel—and tree stumps.

On the other hand, some spaces might feel cramped with a full-sized coffee table and opposing seating. Occasional tables, like this cast aluminum martini table, can be moved around easily in a narrow space. The corner outdoor sectional comes from Ikea.

Maybe it was growing up in the mountains, but almost all of my favorite inspiration includes an abundance of greenery—even if there’s only room for a container garden. Using plants from the same family and sticking to a neutral-pot color scheme, like at this Joshua Tree Airbnb, creates a unified look.

Try these planters in terracotta or sand from West Elm, this one from Anthropologie, or this straight-sided ceramic pot in a beautiful blush tone from Amazon. Then all you need to do is add some chairs to have your own desert oasis (even if you don’t actually have this gorgeous desert view).

Which look is your favorite? And what are your favorite sources for patio inspiration?

P.S. Our small side-patio (where we’ve since added that small greenhouse). Also, our backyard, and some of my favorite garden inspiration and design books.

Cary Rogers is a lifelong Northern Californian with a passion for design, from clothing to home decor. She lives in Sacramento, and when she’s not working for a local hop farm and brewery, she’s probably curating her Pinterest, creating a new playlist, reading, or exploring all that California has to offer. She escapes to the mountains any chance she gets, is never opposed to a solid nap, loves goats, and eats too much Mexican food—if that’s a real thing. Read her first post on maximizing space and style

[Lead image of 1477 Reichhalter via Rue Daily]

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