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Outdoor sofa in courtyard next to plants and BBQ
Having a small backyard, balcony or courtyard doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on outdoor style. We’ll show you how to create a relaxing outdoor space you, your family and your friends will never want to leave!

Measure out your area

With compact outdoor spaces, it’s important to get the measurements right before investing in furniture pieces. The best way to do this? Use painters’ tape. “This way you’ll get a sense of how all the pieces work together,” says Bunnings magazine style editor Tilly Roberts. Remember to leave enough room around your furniture so people can move through the space with ease.

Empty courtyard with concrete floor and brick wall

Define the area

The best way to transform a small patio into an outdoor room is to define the area, and an outdoor rug is the perfect solution. Tilly recommends sizing up. “Bigger is always better with rugs, even in small spaces,” she advises. Rugs need to be cared for, so always store away when not in use.

Laying an outdoor rug down over concrete

Plan your zones

To get maximum usage out of a small area, it’s important to plan your zones. A comfortable and inviting lounge is a starting point for both entertaining or chilling out on your own. “It will create an instant casual entertaining zone and you’ll get so much use out of the space,” says Tilly. If there’s enough room, create a separate dining area with an outdoor table so you can move easily between sit-down dining and casual relaxing.

6 seater outdoor table and outdoor sofa in courtyard

Accentuate the positive

If the view around your area isn’t fabulous, improve it! Try screens and panels that can be positioned to give a plain wall a new look. “They not only help define the area as a room of its own, but add a textural dimension” says Tilly. Remember to fix them securely in place for safety. A collection of potted plants will add instant greenery and draw the eye. Choose rounded pots to bring softness into the zone.

Outdoor sofa in courtyard next to plants and BBQ

Choose a compact BBQ

Portable options, such as a compact BBQ and a trolley that can do double-duty as a bar cart, are always best for small outdoor spaces. When choosing a BBQ (a must-have in every outdoor entertaining space), make sure you can move it easily. A wheeled stand that can be folded up and stored away when not in use is a great match.

Small BBQ with vegetable skewers on grill surrounded by pot plants

Style up your space

And now comes the fun bit! Decorate your outdoor space as you would your living room, with soft layers and cushions in a pretty colour palette to add cosiness and appeal. Ambient lighting and some stylish citronella candles are also an elegant and practical addition. And the finishing touch? “Twinkling party lights that add a touch of celebration to every occasion,” says Tilly.

Outdoor setting in courtyard next to BBQ and plants

Looking for more ideas to spruce up your outdoor space?

We’ve got heaps of inspiring D.I.Y. ideas to help you achieve the backyard of your dreams.

Photo Credit: Grant Smith

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.