Big Ideas for Small Urban Outdoor Spaces

Clay coloured garden bistro table and chairs

Living in the city comes with a whole host of benefits, but outdoor space is not usually one of them. Having an outdoor area, no matter how small, is something to cherish, and with summer on our doorstep, now’s the time to make the most of your patch. Here are some creative ways to create an urban oasis in the heart of the city. Your neighbours will be green with envy…

Two striped deckchairs next to pots of palms

Go Vertical

Vertical planters and ‘living walls’ are a clever way to bring greenery to outdoor areas without taking up too much room. By planting upwards, instead of outwards, you maximise the space you have for an outdoor table and chairs or a rattan sofa maybe, whilst giving you the chance to be as green fingered as your country cousins. And the best part? It doesn’t have to be expensive. DIY planters made from everyday objects or a simple trellis is a wonderful way to add plant life to your urban pad.

Green hanging plants on white wall


It’s a tried and tested interior design trick to use mirrors to create the illusion of space inside our homes, but did you know the same principle can be applied outside? Cleverly placed mirrors in small gardens, especially walled ones, help to bounce light into dark corners, giving the illusion of depth and space. It also adds a focal point to your courtyard, balcony or terrace. Just be sure to place the mirror with care and out of direct sunlight to avoid any glare and potential fire hazard.

Gold mirror against brick wall and round bamboo mirror

Create Flow From Inside Out

Taking the floor level inside straight out into the garden or outdoor space is a proven strategy to create a sense of one bigger space. The natural flow from inside to out is achievable by using the same flooring and wide open doors or bi-folds. Another top tip to help make your balcony or courtyard feel like a natural extension of your living space is to position a pot with a tall plant right inside the doorway to your outdoors. It helps create a strong indoor-outdoor connection, making both appear more spacious.

Grey sofa with large windows to balcony

Create some privacy

By adding a choice of tropical evergreen plants, you can create a lush secret haven in any type of small urban space. Bamboo is ideal for privacy and as it’s hardy and fast growing, you don’t have to be a master gardener to make it work. Place in a large container to not only contain its size (as we said, it’s a grower!), but a large planter will make your urban space look grander. Style with rattan furniture or a bamboo bench, such as the Hampstead Outdoor Bamboo bench or Bamboo armchairs for a classic colonial feel.

Garden sofa set with wood frame

Go natural

To truly enjoy your outdoor haven you need somewhere to sit and relax. Keep it simple with natural reclaimed wood furniture or a rattan outdoor furniture; the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle on your doorstep. For small patios, terraces and even roof tops, a laid-back garden sofa set with a low table or footrest, is ideal for lounging.

Bamboo bench with black metal legs

Or how about a sleep-inducing hammock for a real castaway mood? If space really is on the tight side, keep it super simple and create a cosy corner with a floor cushion tucked into a corner. The cushions can be kept inside and brought out when needed for added flexibility. A garden bistro set is also a great option for small areas as they can be folded away when not in use.

Metal bistro table and chairs in clay

Whatever outdoor space you have, summer in the city has never looked so good. Don’t you think?