Outdoor spaces come in all shapes and sizes. There’s the Juliette balcony on the 40th floor of a luxury condo, there’s the postage-stamp concrete slab in your alleyway home or there’s the small patch of high-maintenance lawn you want to rip out. No matter the scenario, you can turn even the smallest space into a gorgeous, enviable and lush oasis. We promise that you won’t need to hire a designer or spend a fortune. You’ll just have to invest some time and a tiny bit of elbow grease.
Laying down sod isn’t an option if you want grass on your balcony or concrete-heavy outdoor space. But, lucky for you, there are many companies that specialize in artificial grass products. When synthetic turf first came on the market, it was created for playing fields. It didn’t bother athletes in sports shoes, but it was rough on bare feet. These days, manufacturers design turf that is exclusively for decorative purposes. So, if you want a grassy look, lay down fake grass, or shop around for shag rugs the colour of fresh green lawn. And while you’re at it, if you don’t have a green thumb, or you’ve got severe allergies to plants, consider silk or other fabric flowers, annuals, perennials and potted plants. Same goes for long stemmed flowers for your vases.
Heading to the garden centre every spring is a wonderful tradition, but if you’re on a tight budget, stay away! Instead, shop garage sales for pots, planters, hanging baskets and plants too. Ask friends and neighbours for clippings, and keep an eye out on garbage day for garden trash that you can turn into treasures with just a coat of paint. If you are not in the market for new plants, consider moving your indoor plants outdoors, and if you just re-pot them into new-to-you containers, you can make your tiny green space look brand new!
Light it All Up!
Who says lush oasis means exotic palms, colourful wisteria and fragrant lilacs? String lights are the superheroes of the cheap and very cheerful design world. A hole in the wall restaurant looks pretty nice under the glow of hanging lights, and just about every restaurant on the planet resorts to lighting to create mood, ambiance and tell a unique story. So, light up your tiny space by trailing and/or weaving string lights through trellises, screens and wicker furniture, or wrap tiny twinkly lights around planters and/or poles. Continue the light show by adding more lights along your balcony, or around your doorframe or window. Another simple trick is to place coils of solar string lights in glass vases, and place them on outdoor coffee tables or on the ground.
Pro Tip: If you’ve got a tiny grassed-in backyard or front yard, but you don’t want to deal with maintenance, artificial grass is an option. Then again, you may just be tired of the grassy look. Gravel, wood chips, and stone slabs are an option, or you may just want to get some extra-large saucer pots and plant low maintenance annuals like geraniums, marigolds and gerberas.
Photo by Andreea Ch