10 Garden Design Ideas for Small Gardens
With 83% of us living in urban areas, it is quite clear that a large number of us own what would be classed as a small garden.
However, even if this is the case, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create a stunning outdoor space that will give your property the wow factor. It might just mean that you need to be more creative and make the most of every square foot to get the best out of your garden.
If you are looking for ideas and inspiration on how to transform your small garden, then you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve put together a list of 10 ideas that will help you make the most of the space you have.
Some of these ideas will, of course, require a greater financial outlay than others, but many stunning gardens have been built on limited budgets and the majority of our ideas won’t cost you the earth.
Let’s dive straight in with our first garden design idea.
1. Create a Living Wall
Living walls will, in fact, add interest to any garden, regardless of size. However, they are especially effective in small gardens.
If you are tight on space, you really need to make the most of what you’ve got and creating a living wall is a great way to bring drab looking walls to life.
Living walls are built using modular panels or pots that are fixed to suitable walls and fence panels. We recommend that you fix your system to something that will be strong enough to hold the weight, so if you’re fixing to a fence panel ensure that it is sturdy enough and isn’t showing any signs of rotting.
The great thing about living walls is they take up barely any space at all and are sure to add colour to any garden. You can make it virtually zero maintenance, too, by adding an automatic watering system.
2. Fix Planters Under Kitchen Windows
In a similar vein to a living wall, you can fix a small, trough shaped planter underneath your kitchen window. It pretty much allows you to achieve the same effect, albeit on a smaller scale.
Not only will it add colour and interest but, of course, this would be the ideal location to grow herbs.
If you find yourself needing some fresh, home grown herbs whilst cooking, simply open up the window, reach out and grab them.
3. Use Folding Furniture
During the summer, there’s nothing better than relaxing outside with a cool refreshing beverage, regardless of how big your garden is.
But when it comes to small gardens, the last thing you want is for the garden furniture to take up a large amount of your already limited space, making it feel cluttered.
The simple way to get around this is to purchase folding tables and chairs that can easily be collapsed and hidden away from sight, either in a small garden shed, tucked away behind some shrubs or even put away in the house.
It will then be easy to grab just a chair, your book and a cold drink when the sun comes out, or the whole set, if you have family or friends over for a BBQ.
Incidentally, if you like to grow plants from seed – maybe sweet peas, for a climbing frame, or herbs for your kitchen window planter – or need to protect tender shoots in late spring, you can also get a temporary greenhouse. It’s effectively a frame with a plastic cover. They come in various sizes, so there’s bound to be one to suit your needs, and when you’re done with it, you just break it down and pop it in the loft until next year.
4. Utilise Small Walls to Create Additional Seating
Following on from the topic of seating, why not convert low walls and raised beds into additional seating?
When you have a small garden it’s important that you try to give as many aspects of your garden dual purposes, to make the most of the space you have.
For example, if you have any small walls or raised beds, we recommend that you convert them into additional seating areas. You might need raise the height by adding additional bricks or sleepers, in order to make your wall a more convenient height to sit down on, or widen it, by adding a coping stone to make it a more comfortable perch.
This has the additional benefit of adding interest to a garden whilst at the same time retaining earth that can be used to plant lots of colourful plants.
5. Use Plenty of Pots
When you lack bed space, it’s important to make the most of pots and planters.
They can be placed all over the garden and are great at adding life to patios and paved areas.
These days, pots can come in all shapes and sizes, so you’ll be sure to find something to suit your garden and your tastes.
Utilising pots is a great way to keep things low maintenance, too, as you’ll find that maintaining pots is far easier than looking after a bed.
And remember, it’s not just decorative plants that can be grown in pots – you can grow fruits, vegetables and herbs in them, too. And, in the case of mint, a pot is probably the best place for it, to stop it taking over the whole garden!
6. Install Artificial Grass
Most small gardens suffer from a lack of sunlight, which can make growing real grass tricky.
And, if you have lots of plants and thirsty trees, you could find that keeping a real lawn looking good is next to impossible.
But just because nature is against you, it shouldn’t mean that you can’t have a lush, green lawn area.
Artificial grass might be the perfect alternative. Of course, it doesn’t need sunlight or water, so it can be used in areas where the real thing just won’t grow.
It also requires very little maintenance, which is another huge benefit, as it will give you more time to focus on other parts of your garden. An additional benefit is that you can get rid of your lawnmower, which will free up a bit of space in the shed.
It is child and pet friendly, too, so will create the perfect space for them to use whilst outside in the garden.
The quality and realism of fake turf has increased to the stage where it is now difficult to tell the difference between real and fake, and having a fake lawn is no longer the taboo it once was.
To see for yourself just how realistic it is, why not request your free samples?
7. Add Texture to Your Garden
Another good tip is to ensure you have plenty of texture within your garden.
By this, we mean that you should have multiple forms of surfacing within your garden.
If a large part of a small garden is taken up using the same style of paving it will further increase the feeling of being in an enclosed space. You just need to count the paving slabs to feel the squeeze!
However, if you incorporate multiple forms of textured surfacing, such as combining paving, resin-bound gravel, bark, decorative aggregates and grassed areas, it will help give your garden more texture and a feeling of space.
8. Avoid Straight Lines
Adding a curved path or lawn is a great way to break up courtyard areas and give them the perception of greater space.
It also helps to break up the line of vision, meaning that you have to move around the garden to see everything, which will help to make your garden more interesting.
When your beds curve, it will also create more planting space, so try planting small plants at the front, with larger shrubs further towards the back, to give your beds a greater perception of depth.
9. Paint the Shed, Walls and Fence Light Colours
To make your small garden feel more spacious, we highly recommend that you stain your fence panels and garden shed a pastel colour. Masonry paint will lighten up the walls.
The lighter colour will help reflect the available light and open up your small garden space.
When you have a small garden, the chances are that large parts of it spend the vast majority of the day in the shade. This means it’s very important that any items that will be in those shaded areas are as light in colour as possible, to help brighten up the garden and stop it from feeling drab.
10. Hang Garden Mirrors
Another way to create light and a perception of space, is to hang garden mirrors.
Not only will they add depth, but you can also get your hands on some stunning architectural mirrors that won’t look out of place in any garden.
You can either opt for a simple frameless mirror or be a little more adventurous and choose an elaborate framed mirror to enhance the aesthetics of your small space.
Outdoor mirrors can be hung on walls, fences and garden gates to give your garden another dimension. Use tall mirrors to give the impression of more garden space, and small mirrors to open up a window into ‘another’ garden. Hide the edges with foliage to amplify the effect.
The main thing to watch out for is what is being reflected. You don’t want to show off your drain pipe or satellite dish! Also, while mirrors can be great for reflecting sunlight into dimly lit corners to brighten them up, make sure you aren’t likely to scorch any plants – or start any fires – on bright, sunny days.
And, if you are worried about your mirror breaking, fear not, as many garden mirrors are, in fact, made from acrylic or polished metal, and so are far stronger than standard glass mirrors. They won’t shatter, either.
Just because you have a small garden doesn’t mean that you can’t have the garden of your dreams.
By using some simple design tricks, you can make the most of even the smallest garden space and create a little urban oasis that’s perfect for relaxing and entertaining family and friends.
We hope our small garden design ideas will help you transform your small space into the garden you’ve always wanted.
Do you have any garden design ideas that you can share with us? Then why not leave us a comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!