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Townhouse patio ideas to make cozy spaces seem larger

When the weather permits, using your outdoor patio space at your townhouse seems like the natural thing to do. Moderate and even chilly temperatures don’t stop people from using that space because it allows for larger gatherings. We have some great decorating options to make that cozy space look larger and more inviting.

Extend the space with pavers and deck boards

Now we know you can’t go putting pavers and deck boards onto your neighbor’s space, but your eye will think you did if you put the boards or pavers at a slight angle toward the farthest corner. The boards and/or pavers should be at about a 45-degree angle. Even in a small area, the angled design will make it seem larger.

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Use longer, narrow pavers instead of square blocks to either pave the outside area or extend a concrete slab.

You don’t want to necessarily pave or use boards In the entire space. Different levels, like stepping down from pavers, boards, or a concrete slab, give a sense of space.

If there is a small space remaining with no room for pavers or boards, think about artificial turf to add some great green that doesn’t need mowing!

Use plants and furniture to create zones

Make areas of interest with plants and furniture. Your mind perceives “warm” colors like reds, oranges, and yellows as “cozy” and colors like pink, purple, and blue as “cooler.” Put the warmer colors closer to your townhouse to cozy it up, and put the plants that bloom in cooler colors in the distance to make the space seem larger.

Violet planter on patio

Use a cafe table and chairs to make a dining space. Use a bench with hidden storage so it does double duty — along with a small table — to create an inviting space to sit and chat with a beverage. There are even decorative coolers that can be used for seating. Don’t be afraid to break out a couple of folding chairs that can be tucked away later for some casual seating.

Even in a small space, use some larger plants because varied heights add interest. Look for some plants with larger, variegated leaves. Vertical plants move the eye up and that adds space. Leafy plants with large, textured leaves are especially helpful to hide cables or cords you may have on the patio!

Use raised beds around the perimeter for plants or even a vegetable garden, and use a wider brick to make the walls so they can be used as a seating area. Plants with smaller leaves will reflect more light so use them in perimeter areas as well as container gardens.

Go for variety in planters and container gardens

When you are planting or buying container gardens or planters, look for those that have plants with different colors as well as different heights and leaf textures. While uniform plants look great in large gardens on estates, in a smaller area they draw in the space instead of enlarge it.

Have some plants that trail out of the planters

If you have a wooden partition separating your space from the neighbors, and/or a wooden fence around the patio area, don’t forget to make use of the area with planter boxes that hang from the top of the fence or attach to it.

Use flowers with powerful scents judiciously — you don’t want your cozy space to become the neighborhood hangout for a bunch of bees. But do use some scented flowers because a light, lingering scent adds to the overall ambience.

Don’t forget about art, hardscape, and the unexpected

Making the space cozy is an overall experience. If you’ve got a lovely piece of artwork that would be perfect outside, and you can bring it in when you need to, by all means use it. Remember, reflective areas trick your eye into thinking the space is bigger so hang a mirror on the fence or partition. Use a stainless-steel or weatherproof frame.

patio artwork

A small pergola — even an arched trellis — hung with lights will create some awesome atmosphere and there are even solar-powered string lights on the market now.

A small water feature is a great idea. The soothing sounds of trickling water may be just what you need after a stressful day.

Greenery with some great floral accents to add interest, some comfortable seating, soft lighting, and great conversation with friends will make that townhouse patio a cozy enjoyable space.

If you are considering building a patio yourself, read our guide on how to build a raised patio on your own. Or if you have a much more snug vision for your place, read on further to learn how to create a cozy patio space for fall.

Kathleen Ostrander
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kathleen has worked for United Press International and she's written about everything from style to pets for newspapers…
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