Top 7 Outdoor Spaces in Our Small Space, Big Dreams Home Awards
These compact yards go big on style
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Winner: Entertainer's epicenter
When the home was purchased, the 10-foot-wide side yard had not been touched since 1972. Because the house is only 1,400 square feet, the homeowners created an outdoor dining space as an extension of the living room. They placed a solar lit arrow directing guests to the other outdoor entertainment areas. They designed a barbecue area with a concrete counter top with horizontal siding and a large contemporary planting cube. Concrete step stones lead guests alongside the sculpture garden to the raised deck. The deck features a fire pit and reclaimed 1960's chairs and old street signs.
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Private front yard
Reclaimed wood creates this peaceful, private, usable living space in the front yard. The space features a water fountain, Adirondack chairs, a picnic table made of the same reclaimed wood with an umbrella, a Japanese maple, and potted olive and fir trees. The beautiful living space made room for relaxing and entertaining.
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This 16'x60' backyard was transformed by moving some dirt around, adding a metal herb garden/retianing wall, artificial grass, and a water saving irrigation system.The two stage deck is a barbecue/party place all year long.
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From sandbox to oasis
This pint-sized yard (previously a sandbox) satisfies all of their needs — shade, privacy, grilling and gathering space, grass for their dog Otis, and a distinct California feel. They designed the patio like a loose checkerboard surrounded by beds filled with succulents and natives. A verdant Palo Verde gives some dappled shade without closing everything in. Raised concrete planters topped with mahogany slats provide seats for gathering, with the 18”-high boxes giving extra height to towering incense bamboo for sanctuary-like privacy. Finally, a wide grassy patch serves as Otis’ special space.
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For this hillside home in Los Angeles, the homeowners transformed a hot, narrow service patio into a shaded backyard lounge. To match the floor level of the house, they first built a simple wood deck attached to concrete piers set directly on the existing slab. They then designed an awning with a profile that provides generous shade and airflow, while maintaining views to the hillside above. The awning’s oversized height and width integrate the lounge space with the surrounding landscape and make it feel far more generous than its 8 foot width.
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A formerly neglected small patch of gravel got transformed into a cozy space complete with a variety of plantings, plus a burbling fountain, a concealed fire pit, and seating for four.
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A place to party
An unused back patio became command central for entertaining, with a grill, seating for up to 8, and a hot tub--not to mention storage space.