It seems as houses have gotten larger, yards have gotten smaller.  Don’t let that keep you from entertaining; just get creative.

Residential lots haven’t changed in size but houses are growing to maximize every buildable square foot.  In neighborhoods with zero-lot-line houses and garden-style patio homes, there are minimal side yards and shallow backyards.  While these modest lots are perfect for busy lifestyles and low maintenance, what do you do when it’s time to entertain?

Entertaining in small spaces

Color, texture, furniture, and accessories can turn a small patio into place to entertain

Use the patio as an auxiliary entertaining space. Prop open the doors and let party-goers flow back and forth between the indoor and outdoor spaces. You don’t have to confine them to a single space. Place food and drinks inside with seating on the patio.

Create texture, color, and points of interest in your outdoor room. Planting vines to grow on the fence for a softer texture is a great way to give yourself a view. Use container gardens to make the most of seasonal color when you do not have the space for in-ground flower beds. By using smaller, movable furniture pieces, a patio remains a versatile space for entertaining.

What do you do if your pool occupies most of your backyard? You may have a few planter beds around the perimeter, but there’s not much open area to use for hosting your guests. If that’s your situation, and you think you’d like to have a larger party, there are rental companies that offer pool covers, including acrylic see-through covers, which can create additional space for seating or a dance floor. While one of these custom pool covers is more of an investment, it will certainly ensure the “wow” factor for your party.

With a little planning, you can create a dynamic space for an enjoyable party in any small space.

Dallas Architect Laura Davis, AIA is a Principal and Director of Marketing at HPD Architecture. She and her partners offer custom design services for residential, commercial, and institutional projects in the North Texas, Dallas area. For more information please call 214.751.2300.


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VP, Architect, hpd architecture + interiors
Laura Davis is a Texas and Colorado registered architect and interior designer, and a co-founder of hpd architecture + interiors. With a diverse portfolio spanning residential, commercial, retail, and historical projects, Laura’s heart lies with her specialty in Historic Preservation. She loves to revitalize older properties, cherishing their character and the stories they hold. Her true passion lies in understanding her clients deeply, uncovering their desires and motivations, and crafting designs that turn houses into cherished homes.