If you’ve downsized from a large family home to a smaller townhouse, or property, you’ll be looking to make the most of your outdoor entertainment area – even if it’s smaller than you’re used to.

As we’ll show you, big isn’t always better, and you can achieve an intimate outdoor space on a smaller footprint.

Define the entertaining space

In a smaller outdoor area, each space needs to work that little bit harder. So demarcate your entertainment area with paving, timber decking, gravel or even fake grass.

Tip: Use large rectangular planters to create an edible garden (and a soft boundary).

Tip: Citrus trees in pots add height for more visual interest and can help to create a sense of intimacy in your entertaining area.

Make your furniture work harder

If you’ve come from a larger space, your furniture might be too bulky for your new home. In a smaller outdoor entertaining space, you might be better off commissioning some built-in furniture that doubles as storage space.

Tip: Chairs can be foldable or stackable so they’re out of the way when you aren’t using them.

Tip: Your table should be practical so you can use it for other purposes besides dining.

Grow up, not out

To enhance your space, you want to green it up with a few plants but it can be challenging in a smaller space. So go up with a vertical garden.

Tip: Install an easy-care watering system and your vertical garden will practically take care of itself.

Tip: Use your vertical garden as a ‘wall’ and consider growing herbs you can use every day.

Shady business

Consider when you’ll be using your outdoor entertaining area, and where the sun will be at different times of the day. For our harsh climate and scorching days in summer, some kind of shade is a must. This can be either attached to your home or separate.

Tip: A free-standing pergola over which you grow plants that will shade you in summer and let the sun in winter will also give your outdoor space some delineation.

Tip: If you aren’t prepared for the maintenance of a pergola, then invest in an outdoor umbrella so you can enjoy your space throughout the year.

Let there be light

Even if you don’t think you’ll need permanent outdoor lighting, it’s worth investing in some kind of lighting so that you’re able to use your outdoor entertaining area after dark.

When you consider that your outdoor area plays the role of another room, you can see that lighting will help you enjoy that outdoor room even more.

Leave yourself room to move around

When you keep permanent furniture to a minimum and choose sizes that are appropriate for a smaller space, you’ll be able to move through the area comfortably.

You might want to use your outdoor room for drying laundry, crafts, potting plants and so on; you don’t want to be negotiating the furniture every time you move.

To barbecue or not to barbecue?

This is where you need to be realistic. If you use a barbecue often, then it’s worth spending the money and buying a top-quality barbecue. On the other hand, if you use the barbecue only occasionally, then a large fully featured burner unit is going to take up valuable space.

Use two or three colours only

Too many colours and patterns will make your space look overcrowded. Use neutrals with one accent colour to make your outdoor entertainment space appear larger – and calmer.

Can we help with advice on downsizing?

Having navigated the home sale and downsizing process not only for our real estate clients but also for members of our own family, it’s an area in which we’ve amassed a wealth of knowledge. So don’t hesitate to seek out our help – no obligations.

Free downsizers guide

Michael & Rhiff Larkings

As a specialist team, focused on Caringbah South and the surrounding suburbs, we've been providing real estate services for over 20 years. With numerous real estate awards to our name, we're in the top echelon of licensed real estate agents in the Sutherland Shire. We regularly set new street, suburb and area sales records. Most importantly, we understand that real estate is a ‘people’ business where the development of relationships and trust, with both our clients and purchasers, is vital to achieving your all-important sales result.

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