Creative Small Deck Ideas to Maximize Outdoor Space

Want a beautiful, functional & long-lasting deck but have a smaller space? Get inspired by these unique small deck ideas. Learn how to make the most of your deck space!
Renee Lewis
Renee Lewis
Last Update:
May 30, 2024

Taking advantage of creative ways to layout your small deck is an excellent way to maximize your outdoor space! Small decks are just as good as large decks at getting you out of your cave and into the daylight, and can be really cute when decorated intentionally. There are many tips and tricks to utilize all the space you can on your small deck that we will share in our ideas below. You will be surprised how much you can do with your small outdoor space and how versatile your small deck can be!

Utilizing Vertical Space

When you have a small space for your outdoor deck, or a small backyard deck, utilizing vertical space is critical! Whether you are on an open small deck or a small covered deck, you can make good use of walls, trees, or other features.

Hang up string lights to create a warm atmosphere in the evening! If you have a green thumb and love plants, there are vertical gardens or hanging planters you could put up even on a small deck to create a tropical deck feel!

If you have at least one wall to work with, think about installing some wall-mounted shelves. You can use these to put up cute things like candles, smaller potted plants, or pictures. Or, you could use the shelves to make sure your already limited small deck space does not get taken up by clutter. The shelves are a great choice for storage on a small deck.

Compact Furniture with Built-in Storage Options

Furniture for small deck

If you have a small deck but still want outdoor furniture for a spot to sit, fear not! There are options for furniture that is compact and can be set up to fit in different shaped zones. Think sectionals, deck furniture with built-in storage options, coffee tables of all shapes and sizes. Some of them easily tuck into a corner when not in use, or even fold up!

When you are planning your patio design, make sure your patio furniture maximizes the floor space you do have. For example, set up the patio furniture against the walls or edges of the small deck. There are even small tables that fit onto the rail on your small deck and you can push one or two bar stools up to it for a very compact dining area.

Creating Zones for Functionality

Using the compact furniture we went over above, you can create an entire dining area on your small patio. That way there is plenty of space for your table and chairs, and even some other small features of your patio design like potted plants or art. Imagine outdoor dining on your new patio!

Instead of a dining area, you could also create an outdoor living space that would be the equivalent of your indoor living room. There are compact sets of couches and tables that you could set up and ready to relax on in your small deck.

If you do not want a full on outdoor living room with the couch, table, and such, you can always decide to just create a simple diy lounge area. That means outdoor rugs or big, cozy cushions to sit on. Or it could also just be a simple hippie style deck with a hanging hammock chair and string lights. Outdoor lighting really creates a relaxing ambiance. You can decorate your small deck just the way you want - there are so many options!

What if you really cannot fit everything that you want onto your small deck? There are many deck design ideas to work with, even for the smallest of small decks. There are multi-level decks that can give you extra space to work with. That way even if you did not have enough floor space before, you can add more!

Cooking Area: Portable grills, mini bar setups, compact kitchen islands

Small deck outdoor firepit

Portable grills are not just for camping in the summer! And they can also be really cute! Some of them pack up like a little purse and can be set on tabletops. You can get smaller grills that roll as well and stand on their own. In fact, there are even portable smokers that you can get that will fit in nicely right on your small deck!

If meat smoking is not really your thing, maybe a mini bar is? There are a few different ways to set up an awesome mini bar on a small patio. First, the rolling bar that has a couple of shelves on it - one for the glasses and drink mixing essentials, and a second for the beverages! Another way to do it is to get a standing balcony bar set. This consists of a long but narrow standing table that you can push up against a wall and two matching bar stools.

Did you know it is possible to create an entire outdoor kitchen in a small deck? If you are looking forward to cooking in your new outdoor space, there are plenty of options for compact kitchen islands that you will be able to fit in almost any small deck area. These kitchen islands consist of a little sink, a grill, and a fridge, and they can be placed anywhere on your small patio. That means you can cook outdoors without having to run inside over and over to grab things from the refrigerator or wash things in the sink.

Incorporating Greenery and Natural Elements

Nothing warms up an outdoor deck like adding some greenery and other plants! Potted plants or even small containers can be used on the smallest of patios. Go to your local nursery and find some beautiful flowers, grasses or other plants and some pots for them to go in - then design your pots however you want.

Walking out onto a deck and smelling the scent of flowers is very pleasant! If you want more functional greenery, you can have a mini farm on a small deck the same way you could have it in a small side yard. Imagine growing some raspberries or carrots right on your porch! You can design your small deck greenery to match the landscaping in the rest of your yard, or you can make it its own unique design!

If all of your floor space is taken up on your new porch, then look into window boxes that can hang from vertical surfaces or on your deck railing if you have them surrounding your small patio. That way you can enjoy the flowers without giving up any space!

Maintenance and Care Tips

Small deck maintenance

Let’s go over a few maintenance and care tips so that your new small deck can last as long as possible. No matter what decking materials you have, the maintenance on a small deck will be fairly minimal - which is always a good thing, right?

Regular Cleaning and Inspection

We should start from the floor up! If you have a wood deck, then you will need to plan on staining or painting it every couple of years to keep it looking its best. This will also give it a long lifespan and prevent you from having to replace it early. Since it is a small deck, this will not be a huge time investment.

If you have composite decking, then the maintenance is a little easier. Just keep it clean and make sure the deck boards are all fastened tightly and nothing is coming loose every once in a while. Composite decking does not need to be stained or painted regularly like a wood deck does. If you do notice any loose boards, just repair those and keep an eye on it for other issues that might need repairs!

For any kind of deck, sweeping or spraying it off with a hose if it is summer time is a good way to keep it clear of debris and clean as possible! With a wood deck or a composite deck, with regular cleaning and maintenance, you can be sure you will have a beautiful deck for many years to come!


Hopefully this article has inspired you with some small patio ideas for your small deck - whether that is an apartment balcony, or a wood deck in your side yard if you are a homeowner! There are so many ways to design a small deck.

With any type of space, you can decorate your outdoor space with any combination of these small deck ideas! Get creative, and personalize your small deck so that it becomes the beautiful deck you always dreamed about having!

Want Your Deck Installed by a Pro?
Let us take care of your deck installation project with no hassle and zero hidden fees. Start with a free quote in just a few clicks: it’s easy and takes just a few minutes
Get a Free Quote