Patio perfection - outdoor inspiration

Designer Jo Alcorn lets her creative juices flow as she dreams up a California-inspired small patio space

Canadian summers are short, so that means you want to maximize every minute the warm months have to offer. For this patio space, I took inspiration from California and transformed it into an LA-style getaway but in the middle of Toronto! Do you have a small patio that could use a little TLC? Read on to discover design tips that will help you get started.

Size matters, especially in a small space. When it came to selecting seating, I chose a small, grey-tan profile L-shaped sofa from HomeSense ( with a lower back (so that it didn’t close-in the space). Side chairs and floor pillows also provide extra seating for guests.

When dealing with a balcony in the city, privacy is always an issue. I created a modern free-standing privacy fence with one-by-six-ft. wood planks bought from Lowe’s ( I installed the boards horizontally to save on wood but to also create a more urban, modern look, which is a continuation from inside the home. An oversized umbrella not only provides shade and comfort, it also blocks the view from the neighbours above.

Colour code
In small spaces, try to stay away from adding too many different colours with decor items. Keeping a simple colour palette can give the illusion of a larger area! For this space, I added a touch of pink with the indoor/outdoor pillows from my Alcorn Home collection (

Adding planters of different heights to any balcony helps keep the space interesting. Choose low-maintenance plants so you aren’t fussing with them all summer long. I mixed faux and real greenery for easy care.

Entertaining- friendly
A bar cart not only looks great in a space, it’s also a must for those summer parties. This one from HomeSense blends in so well with the rest of the decor.


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