Small Gardens With Big Inspiration For Outdoor Living Area Ideas

"outdoor living area ideas"

For a nation that is often obsessed with the weather one thing is certain, when the sun comes out so do we! And our love of making the most of the great outdoors whatever the weather has been a growing trend for several years. After last year’s long dry summer more of us (even with small back gardens) are investing in upgrading those white plastic patio sets to glamorous new outdoor rattan sofas, dining sets and more as we enjoy more comfortable outdoor living spaces than ever before.

Inspired by both our European neighbours and their stunning courtyards and of course the USA, Australia and New Zealand where BBQ’s and outdoor cooking and entertaining are a way of life (having more sunshine helps!) so this week as the great British weather forecasters predict a long period of warm sunshine is on the horizon, we’ve put together some of our favourite outdoor living areas for small and medium-sized gardens that will have you rethinking your outdoor living spaces over the next few weeks.

Feature Article: Small Gardens With Big Inspiration For Outdoor Living Area Ideas

1. A Covered Balcony With Glass Screens All Round

"decked patio area outdoor living space"

Even if you have a balcony or decked area outside your patio with clever screening and a pergola roof area you can enjoy plenty of summer evenings in front of a cosy outdoor fire relaxing and enjoying the company of friends and family in a setting like the one above.

On trend right now are long open flame fire pits which can be a hazard for young children, or indeed adults that may have enjoyed a few too many glasses of wine 🙂

The oiled smooth hardwood decking adds warmth to this Mediterranean style outdoor living area that can easily transport itself to your back garden or balcony relatively easily.

The whole look is complimented by the rattan outdoor all-weather furniture and warm Mediterranean colour accents and pots 

2. Green & White Look Just As Fresh Outdoors

"outdoor living area ideas"

Proving  that green and white as a colour scheme work equally aswell outdoors as indoors is this stunning formal garden pictured above. With the white large steps leading across the vibrant green lawn and the white decking providing the perfect backdrop for soft landscaping this is a lovely way to create an area for outdoor living that creates a “get away from it all” area at the bottom of the garden.

What adds to the overall effect is the continued white and green planting and soft landscaping that picks out the white accent colour amongst several types of architectural leafy green plants and grasses either side of the outdoor living area.

The whole look is finished off by green scatter cushions on the lovely rattan outdoor furniture and the infinity style pond built into the raised decking area.

3. Small Garden, Great Design

"small garden big inspiration "

This back garden is typical of the size of the small plots that come with new housing today but it just goes to show that with a clever design you can have areas for work, rest and play off the central circular lawn.

Small family gardens have to work hard so careful planning and design are vital if you are to have everything you need in such a small area. Making space for family pets, outdoor eating and a summer-house or shed provides interest and variety that can be enjoyed in the summer time.

With a small garden like the one above, planting for screening and privacy is important so think tall planting, climbing plants and evergreen if possible. Defining each area of the garden first makes it easy to maintain and keep clean and tidy.

4. Lighting As A New Dimension At Dusk

"outdoor living area ideas"

This garden reminds us of the one in the Notting Hill film providing a formal garden in a built up area for family and friends to enjoy. The outdoor seating allows for dining and relaxing with the outdoor sofas tucked away in the centre of the design for maximum privacy.

Topiary style planting adds to the formal design style and lighting helps create a totally different mood as the sun goes down. Low maintenance is achieved by the use of paving, decorative gravel and low box hedging that will need a trim every now again.

The small perfectly formed trees frame the garden space adding height and interest at different times of the year. This is the kind of outdoor space for people who like to create something in an outdoor living space that doesn’t require hours and hours of work in the garden to keep it looking good.

5. Rattan Outdoor Furniture Provides Comfort And Style

"patio outdoor living area "

Creating an outdoor living space today is more of an extension of our dining / living room than ever before and the look can easily be achieved by investing in the lovely ranges of rattan outdoor furniture that we all have available to us. Try Ebay for some amazing deals at this time of year, as the Summer months take hold the prices go up.

We have certainly come a long way from those white plastic patio sets! Remember them?

Wooden planters are the perfect way to echo the rattan colour and style and solar lights are by far the easiest way to make sure your outdoor living area looks magical at night too.

Adding solar lights to the base of a tree or large shrub will change the mood of any garden (much like they do in your favourite holiday resort).

Add some (insect repelling) candles and lanterns and an outdoor cooking area and you have the perfect end to your day for months to come.


  1. For all original sources and more details of all 4 outdoor garden designs check them out on the Contemporary Log Living Pinterest board.
  2. Proving that lots of space is not a barrier to being creative within the space available careful planning is the key.
  3. Green and white are a fresh combination both inside the home and out.
  4. Rattan outdoor furniture completes any outdoor living space beautifully, most ranges have rain covers available and you can add colout with waterproof scatter cushions from places such as Ebay.

As always we look forward to your thoughts and comments below or join in the conversation on our Facebook Page !

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About The Author

Diane Cossie

Diane Cossie is a blogger and social media enthusiast who is the face behind our popular Facebook page, creator of our website and one of our annexe and specialists.

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