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Ideas for an Outdoor 10' X 10' Patio

Anne Hirsh

Your 10- by 10-foot patio can become a valuable outdoor living space if arranged for efficient use. Take advantage of the view or create a cozy space for visiting with friends. Your small patio area can also provide the perfect extension to your home, creating a space that allows you to enjoy the area all year long.

Outward-looking Patio

A pergola keeps your small patio feeling open.

If your 10- by 10-foot patio overlooks a hillside, lake or other interesting view, build or purchase an outdoor bar-style counter and stools and place the bar along the outer edge of the patio, facing the view. Add a pergola--a slatted roof made up of planks with space between them for sunlight and star viewing--to tie the patio into the building's structure and add a bit of shade without obstructing the airflow or view. Keep the rest of the patio open except for a mini-fridge under the bar or up against the house and near the door; and lay a 6- by 8-foot indoor/outdoor area rug on the ground between the door and the bar so it fills and colors the remainder of the floor space.

Social Space

A 10- by 10-foot patio is the perfect size for a 3-foot diameter round table, leaving plenty of space for chairs around the edges. Choose low coffee table-height unit with a fire pit in the center to keep your small patio feeling open, rather than a standard height table. Finish off the decor with a tall, narrow ceramic planter or vase in each corner of the patio. Place dried sunflowers, bamboo rods or tiki torches in the vases to add visual interest without taking up patio space. If necessary, bolt or cement the vases to the patio and drill drainage holes in the bottoms.

Enclosed Nook

If you step out onto the patio from your kitchen, consider enclosing the area into a cozy breakfast nook for all-weather enjoyment. Enclose the patio with solid walls about 2 feet high, and then fill the rest of the vertical space with screened windows. In warm climates, use screens only; in cold or variable climates, choose windows you can open or close according to the season. Add a roof that ties the patio into the rest of your house and indoor-outdoor carpeting along the floor. Place a small bistro table and chairs in the space and add roll-up window shades so you can have privacy when you want it and a relatively unobstructed view when you want to see out.