If you have a small garden, you’ll more than likely want to make the most of all your available space. With smaller outdoor spaces, it can be tempting to think your options are limited but with a well-thought out garden design, some clever planting and some key accessories, you can make your small garden become your own little slice of heaven in no time at all.
One of the best things about smaller gardens, of course, is that they’re low-maintenance but with a few little additions, you can quickly create a big impact, much more so than you can in a bigger, open space. However, it definitely does take more detailed planning to make the best of your garden when you do have limited space, which is why we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite ideas for small gardens that will add depth, drama and intrigue.
Add depth with texture
One of the most effective ways of adding depth to your garden is by filling it with different textures. A blank stretch of lawn will not immediately provide the eye with any sense of contrast so often makes your garden appear smaller. Mix up decking, paving slabs, tiles, grass and stone chippings to create variety. Having a couple of different textures is great for naturally creating distinct zones in your garden as well, such as a relaxing reading corner.
Draw the eye upwards
A powerful way of making your garden appear larger is by providing intrigue with different levels of height in the garden. Don’t be afraid to introduce a carefully placed tree or two into your outdoor area. A tree that won’t grow too tall is perfect for attracting the eye upwards in a small garden and will instantly add depth. Choose varieties such as small flowering cherry trees, the Japanese maple tree, magnolia and the moonbeam sweet gum.
Get growing vertically
Staying on the theme of drawing the eye upwards, another impressive way of accomplishing this is by growing vertically. Whether that’s by using a trellis to trail up plants such as clematis and honeysuckle, or getting inventive with other planting methods, the results are always very effective.
For a really unique look that’s simple to implement, get your hands on some rustic mesh that can be fixed to a wall or fence and attach terracotta pots filled with different types of flowers and herbs to create instant 3D attraction.
Maximise growing space with pots
Pots and planters are ideal if you have a courtyard or balcony that doesn’t have any growing space, and they’ll immediately bring colourful life to your outdoor area. For ultimate impact, choose a variety of coloured pots that have different shapes and sizes to add even more textured intrigue. Throw in some pretty garden accessories and you’ll have an area full of personality. Use a mixture of garden plants, herbs, bright blooms and veg to amplify the effect.
Raise it up
If you have a small garden, you’ll often have limited access to good growing soil. Avoid any problems that come with poorly drained soil and help add more interest to your small garden design with raised beds. Perfect for growing anything from shrubs and annuals to veg and herbs, raised planters really are the gardener’s best friend. Allowing you to control soil moisture and pH level, raised planters have endless growing options. Depending on how high you want to make them, the bed’s edge can also double up nicely as extra seating – perfect for utilising the entirety of your small space.
Create calm with water
Instantaneously create a sense of calm in your garden with the use of water features. This can be a big and grand feature to create a key focal point in your garden or it can simply be a clever adaptation of an old piece of furniture. This is also a perfect opportunity to inject a different material into your garden. Think about metals such as rusty steel for traditional gardens or shiny stainless steel for adding to the clean cut lines of a modern garden.
Generate intrigue by blurring the lines
One of the most important things to consider when planning the design of your small garden is how you can trick the eye into thinking your space is bigger than it is. The easiest way to do this is by using tall plants to obscure a section of the garden. This will create the appearance that there is a lot more around the corner, making it appear larger. This technique not only makes your garden look more aesthetically pleasing, it can also make you feel as though you have your own secret hideaway even in the smallest of outdoor spaces. Place an object of interest behind your tall plants to increase the intrigue and draw the eye. If you can hide some comfy seating in this area, all the better!
Light it up
Outdoor lighting can be a perfect way to turn you small garden into a cosy retreat. Along with garden ornaments, lighting is one of the quickest ways to add personality to your outdoor area. Hang string lighting around your dining/seating area to keep parties going when the sun goes down. And dot brightly coloured lanterns around the garden to draw attention to the different areas of your space whilst creating a truly magical setting.
Include an optical illusion
Mirrors are well known for bringing light into rooms and making them feel larger than they actually are – the same goes for using mirrors outside in your garden. A well-placed mirror that reflects green, leafy interest in your garden can create the optical illusion that your space goes on much further than it actually does. Window-like mirrors will give you a portal into another world – if you don’t have room for a massive mirror, a small round mirror can be just as effective at achieving this look.
And there you have it, our round up of how you can quickly transform your small garden. We’d love to see pictures of your gardening projects and hear any of your top tips. Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.