With an increasing tendency for void nesters, youthful couples and singles towards higher density downtown living, and the desire to spend negligible time on keeping up gardens or other outdoor spaces, most new apartments, townhouses, and condominiums tend to have just pocket-sized backyards, courtyards or balconies. So it becomes particularly important to benefit as much as possible from such limited areas via landscaping and using the space in the best possible way.
But you don’t need to be a professional landscape architect to create an inviting patio space – you just need to pursue a couple of basic design principles. Whilst you can’t physically increase the size of a small garden, you can positively utilize a couple of visual tricks to create the illusion of space.
One important way of doing this is to create a topical connection between the indoor and outdoor areas. Connecting the backyard or patio to the family room or kitchen, breaks down the division between inside and outside, making the complete territory seem bigger. To establish this connection, attempt to use clearing materials that are similar to those used in the house. If you have a tiled territory inside, consider extending the same or similar tiles outside.
If you have a solid wood or wood overlay floor, one simple solution is to lay interlocking wood deck tiles on the outside yard or patio (see for instance http://www.ezydeck.net). Albeit such tiles are best laid over a solid cushion, they can also be laid over a level and very much compacted rock surface. Furthermore, they can be moved and re-laid voluntarily should you choose to change the design of your outdoor space whenever.