Cue & Co of London, original photo on Houzz

By Laura Gaskill | Houzz

Whether you have a sliver of a side yard, a petite patio or a compact urban lot, limited size does not have to mean missing out on lush plantings or cool features — as these 8 creative spaces attest. Creating an outdoor space you love takes careful planning, but it starts with the spark of inspiration. See which of these outdoor spaces captures your imagination, and start planning your garden makeover now.

1. Modern and mirrored. Horizontal wood panels can camouflage a neighbor’s siding mishmash while bringing a warm, modern look to the patio. A large mirror hung along one wall enhances the light and creates the impression that the garden continues into the distance. Petite Landscape Design Inspiration.

2. Urban jungle. Deep, wide planters of bamboo placed along the back wall have transformed this formerly bland urban backyard into a lush oasis. Layering plants with appealing foliage behind the seating area, as was done here, will make it feel like you’re sitting in a jungle.

3. Pint-size party patio. This sliver of a yard in San Francisco’s Mission District could easily have been a forgotten space sandwiched between two tall buildings. But with the addition of a few well-placed climbing plants, a picnic table and string lights overhead, it is now a vibrant place to gather with friends.

4. Mini destinations. As part of a flower show installation, this garden designer created a space with several small, connected seating areas. Built-in benches flow into a short staircase to a raised dining platform. Planting beds tucked between and behind the seating areas help the compact garden feel surprisingly roomy. Squeeze an Outdoor Bench in a Tight Corner.

5. City balcony. Every square foot has been put to good use on this New York balcony, with built-in planters and benches wrapping around the tight corner. A restrained palette of weathered wood and green is simple and elegant.

6. A bit of green. Long to stretch out on the grass with a good book, but have only a tiny square of yard to call your own? Take a cue from this innovative space and build in a mini terrace with room for a cafe table and soft green grass.

7. Eclectic chill zone. Embrace the shade beneath a mature tree with a platform deck where you can lounge away the afternoon. Mirrors and platters hung on the wall, and birdcages and lanterns suspended from tree branches create a whimsical, creative mood here. Bring Life to the Garden With a New Bird Bath.

8. Cook’s backyard. This patio is packed with details an avid cook would love, from the wood-fired pizza oven and pocket-size kitchen garden to the overhead rack made to hold pots and pans. Ornamental flowers and flowering herbs mixed with the edibles make the garden as beautiful as it is useful.