Small Patio Ideas: Making the Most of a Small Urban Space

Posted by: on April 15th, 2014 | 19 Comments
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Small Patio Ideas: Making the Most of a Small Urban Space

It is entirely possible to create a gorgeous and inviting outdoor space on a small patio, or even a tiny apartment balcony. You can even enjoy some urban gardening in your small outdoor space. You just need a few tips and ideas.

That’s where Gloribell Lebron comes in. She’s a Miami-based designer who writes about decor and lifestyle on I Don’t Know How She Does It! And she just happens to live in an apartment with a small balcony, so who better to go to for small patio ideas? 

That’s why we invited her to take part in our Patio Style Challenge. We send Home Depot patio sets to some of the best bloggers on the Internet and challenge them to create comfortable and attractive outdoor spaces.

Gloribell did that and more. Not only does she share her small patio decorating tips, but she also has some urban gardening ideas, too. And take a look at the gorgeous photos of her apartment balcony!

Patio? I don’t have a patio? Oh, you mean that small outdoor space where I keep all my gardening stuff and where I pretend to have a green thumb? Since I live in a condominium in Miami, I prefer to call this area an urban space (aka balcony… go figure!)

Although I have a very small “patio”, getting on board the Home Depot Patio Style Challenge was a personal challenge I was happy to accept.

Small Patio Ideas: The concept


Succulents and the Color Green

My journey began by designing my area on the computer to give me a better idea of what I needed to take advantage of this modest urban space. I knew from the beginning that two things would have to be in my design: succulents and the color green. So I worked out a concept that included both these two passions of mine (and the small scale of the area).

I also wanted to incorporate an area where I could grow some small herbs and maybe even fruit. I know this might sound like I had extremely high expectations for a 6’x3’ space, but it my mind I already had everything resolved.

Small Patio Ideas: Succulents and the color green

Small Patio Ideas: Succulents and the color green

Small Patio Ideas: Succulents


Hiding the Balcony Floor

First, I knew I wanted to hide the awful floor in the balcony but since this is a rented apartment, the less invasive the solution, the better. In came the Naturesort Bamboo Composite Deck Tiles. They really made a huge difference in beautifying the space even before any styling had been done.

Then the tough part was making a channel along the edge of the balcony inside the railing to plant my succulents. But with a miter box and saw set this part of the job was easy.

Small Patio Ideas: Bamboo composite tiles to hide the balcony floor

Small Patio Ideas: Succulents and the color green


Go Tall on a Small Patio

To balance the height of the Hampton Bay Fenton Bistro Set that The Home Depot sent me, I included a tall aluminum planter on the left side of my urban space with a small Elephant Ear plant. I love the color and how gorgeously its leaves flow.

To make this corner extra special and to incorporate a pop of bright green color (so ”Miami”), I bought an outdoor lantern and spray painted it to be used as a planter for my Sansevieria Trifasciata (hilariously known as “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue”). To finish this area I added one big lantern from the new patio collection from The Home Depot and a small one I already owned and had painted.

Small Patio Ideas: Polanter Plastic 3-Way Planter


Small Patio Ideas: Making the Most of a Small Urban Space


Gardening on a Small Patio

Now for my almost impossible dream of having a home garden on my small balcony.

I bought a Polanter Plastic 3-Way Planter at The Home Depot, which (…. you guessed it) I also painted in green to match my urban space. On it I grow mint, strawberries, basil, and some rosemary. That’s what I call a fragrant and yummy corner!

Small Patio Ideas: Planter turned into fruit bowl


Small Patio Ideas: Spary-painted planter becomes a fruit bowl

For a finishing touch, I found a round dish-like terra cotta planter (similar to this one) and painted it in bright green (Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x in Gloss Key Lime) with a splattered border in silver to match the tall aluminum planter and lantern in the left corner. I love how this planter serves as a fruit bowl, but can also be used to hold more plants later on.

Gloribell Lebron on her small balcony


Small Patio Ideas: A new concept of urban space


Gloribell Lebron on her gorgeous balcony

For me this experience has brought a new concept of urban space. Here in Miami many people live in apartments, and we sometimes forget that no matter how small an apartment balcony might seem to be, with some tall accessories and hanging planters one can achieve the feeling of a spacious patio. In my case, it’s a patio with an exquisite view of the city with a grand sunrise and an amazing sunset to take in everyday!

See more of Gloribell’s beautiful small balcony on her blog.

Gloribell Lebron is a graphic and interior designer in Miami. She writes about decorating on her blog I Don’t Know How She Does It! There you’ll find decorating ideas and easy tutorials to decorate your space. Read more about this Patio Style Challenge and see more photos on her blog. 


To decorate her small patio, Gloribell used the Hampton Bay Fenton 3-Piece Patio High Bar/Bistro Set from The Home Depot.

For more small patio ideas and inspiration, see other Patio Style Challenges as well as our Patio Style Challenge pinboard on Pinterest. And browse our online Outdoor Living Department for everything you need for your patio, yard or garden. 

Style Challenge is a series of posts from guest contributors who aim to bring you fresh inspiration and ideas for your home and garden using a single Home Depot product as a starting point. Gloribell received the Hampton Bay patio set from The Home Depot and a gift card. The opinions and ideas Gloribell expressed are her own.

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Leave a Comment

  1. SO beautiful! Makes me wanna live on that patio all day long :)

  2. [...] of I Don’t Know How She Does It, has a unique approach to incorporating succulents into her small patio design. When installing new bamboo flooring, Gloribell created a “channel” along the edge next [...]

  3. BJ Rassam says:

    Some nice ideas from Gloribell. When in Miami, look her up for help.

  4. This is fantastic!! Beautifully done- love the plants on the back of the seating, so clever!

    • Gloribell says:

      Thank you so much, Krystine. I’m more than glad to know that you liked this. Those plants were mere decoration but I loved how it completed the whole look!

  5. Isabelita Febles says:

    Expectacular idea de crear ambiente en espacios pequeños. Eres ingeniosa, creativa y ofreces alternativas para ver cualquier rincón del hogar agradable y acogedor. Te felicito Gloribell!

    Expectacular idea of ​​creating atmosphere in small spaces. You’re witty, creative and you offer alternatives to see every corner of the nice and cozy home. Congratulations Gloribell!

    • Gloribell says:

      Saludos Sra. Isabel (mami)! Gracias por haber pasado por aqui y dejar un mensaje encantador. De veras que me gustó mucho este projecto pues contiene dos cosas que me apasionan: el diseño y el color verde.

      Hello Mrs. Isabel (aka mom)! Thank you for stopping by and leave such a lovely comment. I really enjoyed a lot this project because it involves two things that I’m really passionate about: design and the color green.

  6. Katerina Velikopoljski says:

    Being an interior designer and a real estate agent, I know how small the balcony is and have to tell you Gloribell you accomplished an amazing and classy design. Congrats!!!

    • Gloribell says:

      Wow, Katerina, what a lovely surprise to have your visit here. Thank you so much for your kind comment. Coming from an interior designer with such a great refinement like yourself, it is a huge honor. Thanks!

  7. I love how much thought was put into such a small space! The greenery along the edge is pure genius!

    • Gloribell says:

      So nice to have received your visit here, Stacy. I loved creating this edge, I think it gave the area a sort of deck feeling. Have a great weekend and thank you for stopping by.

  8. Amy says:

    The flooring looks amazing and I love how you put greenery in every nook and cranny! Love it Gloribell!

  9. OMG Gloribell! It looks absolutely stunning! You seriously packed so much style and beauty. All the details make it entire space amazing. The succulent border is awesome! Thanks for the beautiful small space decorating ideas:)

    • Gloribell says:

      Thank you Shavonda for being one of my fabulous cheerers during all this time. You don’t know how much your words of encouragement meant to me! Thank you very much!

  10. Amber says:

    Love what you did…and I love it even more because we are both in Miami!!! Congrats on a beautiful outdoor space.

    • Gloribell says:

      OMG Amber! All this time I thought you were from mid Florida! Wow, so cool and thank you so much for stopping by and for your kind words! Can’t wait to see your take on the challenge! Yay!!!

  11. I LOVE all the green! I can’t believe how many gorgeous plants you fit into such a small space! It looks fantastic.

    • Gloribell says:

      It was a great personal challenge. A lot of ideas going through my mind, but with such a small space it seems almost impossible! But yet I think it was all achieved and the best part is that it is all a non-invasive design (perfect for this rental) where I can take all the pieces out and place them in another location. Thank you so much Stephanie for stopping by and commenting! Have a great week!