31 January 2014 How to enhance your small outdoor area Did you know that you can enhance your lifestyle and the value of your home by creating an inviting outdoor space? With the rise in urban living, more and more of us are finding ourselves with very little outdoor space in our homes. But with clever design, even the smallest courtyard, balcony or rooftop can become an outdoor sanctuary - somewhere to connect with nature and unwind. When creating an outdoor area with limited space the first thing to ask is: what will it be used for? Will it be a place to relax, entertain or somewhere for the kids to play? Before you start, clear the space of any unnecessary clutter - in a small area less is also more. Next, follow these simple space saving tips to create an area that is both beautiful and functional. Smart seating Your outdoor space should be somewhere you can just 'be' - therefore seating is important. Multi-functional pieces are key in small spaces so consider storage boxes that double as benches or stools that can also be used as tables. You can also use bench seating built around the perimeter of the area or a hammock to free up valuable floor space. Lastly remember to furnish according to your needs - if it's just you and your other-half most of the time, a table for two is all you need. Living colour Plants are the masters of multi-function - providing colour, scent, privacy, focus and a connection to nature in a small outdoor space. Vertical gardens are great space savers and help dress up bare walls. A climbing plant attached to a trellis placed against a wall will do the same trick. Another way to go vertical is by creating a simple tiered planter using a small stepladder to hold various potted plants. Plants in pots are perfect in small spaces. Go for a cluster of tall pots with small footprints or hanging pots containing herbs to create a beautiful focal point. When choosing plants always consider the conditions in your space - wind and sun can make or break a garden. Simple screening High density living can often compromise our personal space. A simple screen can provide privacy and shade, mask unsightly views and create a sense of intimacy in your outdoor space. If your space and budget permits, timber slats are a great option but for a more cost effective solution try timber lattice - attach climbing plants or hanging pots to maximise privacy and add colour and texture to your garden. Another great way to create a screen is with potted plants. A row of well-placed yuccas or bamboo will look beautiful and can provide all the privacy you need.