The Meadowlark Blog
Meadowlark Design+Build

Small Outdoor Spaces I Love

By Susan Christian

The arrival of warmer weather in Michigan (finally!) coupled with 3 months of pandemic “shelter in place” has driven me to find any excuse to sit outside on my small deck and enjoy being outside. Throw in a glass of wine and I am in nirvana!

It’s not a fancy or a big deck, only about 9′ X 10′, but the sheer joy I get sitting therein and winding down on a summer evening is indescribable.

It’s most likely this almost innate characteristic is the reason that I am always drawn to the outdoor spaces in our Meadowlark projects. We have some great ones and they come in all sizes and shapes, but I find those which cleverly utilize a small area the most captivating. Probably because I can best relate to them. Or maybe it’s just because selfishly I am looking for ideas that I could put to use on my own deck. Whatever the reason – I feel compelled to share some of my favorites in hopes that you are both captivated and inspired. And yes…maybe you can find a few takeaways you can use in your own spaces!

Small on Size – BIG on Zen

Meadowlark Design Build Master Suite Remodel

Okay,..so I know we all aren’t fortunate enough to have a home sitting almost on top of the Huron River!¬† Obviously the river adds to the Zen, but the point is this very small deck off the Master Suite is certainly something wonderful even if you don’t have the “water feature” next to it. It’s big enough for a lounge chair and a small table (maybe even a small fountain) – but that’s about all – and that’s about all you need. It’s also on a side of the home that is private from other areas, thus making it the perfect spot to sneak away with a good book and a cup of tea. Perhaps a quiet respite after a morning of home-schooling the kids?

Private Yet Connected in the City

side deck on a home in the city

Photo of small deck on a townhouse in Ann Arbor

This side deck is on a townhome just minutes walking distance from downtown Ann Arbor. Our clients love to entertain and wanted a space that would give them the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, but still maintain some privacy from the surrounding homes in the neighborhood. However, they didn’t want it to feel claustrophobic. Loving the street they live on, they also wanted to feel connected to the activity that drew them to this area of the city in the first place.

The 5′ slatted cedar fencing on three sides offers the perfect solution – giving them the privacy they need without closing them in. Leaving the fourth side open and adding steps down to a walkway to the street provides easy access and connection to the hustle and bustle of the area that they love so much.

Bringing the Outdoors In – Literally!

photo of interior courtyard feature on a Meadowlark custom home

This custom home project we did many years ago with its interior courtyard is still something that I think back on and dream about. Imagine being able to have your morning coffee here on a daily basis. I think I could even force myself out there on a sunny winter day for a cup of hot cocoa!

Photo of how interior courtyard is connected to the interior on this Meadowlark custom home

The clients had an interior courtyard on their wishlist because they love to cultivate small ornamental bonsai trees and wanted protection from the deer that are prevalent in their area. This space is in the middle of the home surrounded on all sides. It is accessed to the main living area on one side via the sliding doors and to the garage on the other via a trap door for gardening supplies. Large windows on three sides open the space and bring the outdoors in and vice versa.

View of interior courtyard from from front entry of home

Dreaming about outdoor space possibilities for your home? We’d love to start a conversation.