I did some gardening this week! I know, I know, hardly something to rave about, but I am not a fan of gardening (massive understatement). I have said it before: my garden is not really a garden: it’s a very small space (no bigger than my living room) and it is crammed with stuff: bins, motorbike, kids’ bikes, garden stuff… Sorting it out required a large dose of creativity, so when I was challenged by Mumsnet and Homebase to create a patio garden, I accepted straight away. When you have such a minuscule place to call your garden, it’s important to make the most of the space you have and create a functional patio. Here come my tiny patio ideas!
10 Tiny Patio Ideas
1- Dust your patio like you would your home
Start by cleaning it. The beauty of having a small outdoor space with no grass is that you can give it a spring clean at the start of the sunny season and it should be fine until autumn. Hello low-maintenance! Just get your dustpan and brush out or even give your outdoor space a quick hoover.
Whenever I tell people, I vacuum my garden, they think I’m mad, but it’s much quicker than the old dustpan and brush and the little ones are always keen to help!
2- Give your patio a good scrub
Our paving stones looked ugly, with moss growing between them. The decking decidedly looks tired. It hasn’t been stained in years. That’s a job for another day! A good scrub and a wash really helps make stone and wood look a lot better. Armed with a bowl of soapy water and a scrubbing brush followed by a good rinse, it takes hour or so and is really worth the effort.
Weeds just grow everywhere, even in a small patio! Between paving stones, between raspberry bushes, between the walls and the floor. Pulling all these nasties is satisfying and takes no time at all. I bought a pair of gardening gloves for the children and they loved using them to help weed and plant our fruit and veg.
4- Make space
If you have a small patch where you grow flowers or fruit and veg, give it a makeover. I have a very small patch where I grow flowers and raspberries and the raspberry bushes take over all the space every summer. Look how overgrown it looked last week!
I took off a few raspberry canes last year, and to keep it all under control, I also dug out a few more this week.
5- Start with what you already have
There’s not much point going on a shopping spree before you’ve checked what you already have. This time round, I got rid of a few things (old table, rusty bike, old plastic pots) but the rest is not going anywhere: our patio has to ‘work’ with the things we have to have in there. The bins, motorbike and children’s bikes are there to stay. I wish we could store them somewhere else but we can’t, so I had to work around them. We also had a lot of pots, so we gave them a good wash and decided on our colour patterns and what things to plant based on the pots we were keeping.
How pretty are these blue and yellow pots?
6- Don’t waste money on tools
When you have a tiny patio, you definitely don’t need a lot of tools. We have a small kids’ rake somewhere but we couldn’t find it this week so I used a fork to give the ground a bit of a stir stir before adding some compost. I couldn’t find my pruning shears either and scissors worked fine for what I was doing.
7- Tiny patio or edible garden?
If you’re after growing food in your small space, go for things that are easy to grow like raspberries, strawberries, carrots, peas, beans, tomatoes and radishes.
Get little ones to help by labelling the herbs and veg you’re growing.
A herb garden is easy to maintain. Who doesn’t love fresh herbs?
Hanging baskets are ideal to increase your ‘growing space’ and it also keeps snails and slugs away from our tumbling tomatoes and strawberries.
8- A tiny patio that fits around your lifestyle
With 4 children, I want to give them the opportunity to help with gardening (hence the herbs, fruit and veg), but also to have fun in the sun.
We have a large paddling pool the children love. To make it easier to take it out and put it away, I just bought a small (cheap and cheerful!) electric pump on Amazon that inflates and deflates it in minutes. Perfect!
9- A ‘hero’ piece of furniture
A few pops of colour really can really bring a small space together, give it some oomph. I chose this cute bright blue bistro set for our garden.
I filmed myself a I was building the kids’ picnic table (as you do!). I sped up the video and uploaded to YouTube. I find watching it strangely soothing! I look grumpy on there though! Can you tell I’m not a natural DIYer? The number of interruptions by the kiddos is impressive. Luckily, it only took 20 minutes to build.
Details can make a world of difference. Dress your patio with accessories like you would a room in your house. Who doesn’t like fairy lights? These little nautical beach house solar lights were way too cute not to buy.
Mini succulents and colourful pots will add a bit of contrast on your table. Citronella candles can also give you a bit of light at dusk and help repel mosquitoes.
Now this is not necessarily what I would have spent a couple of hours on, but the kids put together a scarecrow for our garden.
Mr Scarecrow will have to leave at some point, but I’ll let the children have it for a couple of days.
I wrote about my garden goals a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to turn my patio into a nice, inviting place where we could make the most of the sunshine. Although there are still a few things I want to change in my garden, I feel I achieved my garden goal and I even feel more confident to take on more gardening projects.
Have you got any other tiny patio ideas or tips?
Feel free to share them the comments section: I’ve got a lot to learn!
Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. Homebase sent me tips, ‘how to guides’ and a set of useful challenges to help me achieve my garden goals. They also sent me a voucher to help towards my purchases. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. All photos and opinions are my own.