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25 Small Garden Ideas To Help Create Your Dream Garden

Posted by Kirsty on

Are you in desperate need of some inspiration and design ideas for your small garden?

Just because you don’t have a lot of outdoor space doesn't mean you can't have a beautiful place to relax in.

Learn how to make the most of what’s available to you and create the garden of your dreams - no matter how tiny your garden is.

We’ve got some inspiring gardenscape ideas to cater for all spaces and budgets no matter how tiny your garden is.

Whether it’s a patio, a balcony, porch, or courtyard, here are 25 small garden ideas for you.

1. Vertical gardens.Think up, and not out and you’ll need next to no space!



There's a reason that cities have tall buildings - you fit more into a smaller space.

Vertical gardens have so much potential.

In fact, the sky's the limit.

By using vertical space in your garden that would otherwise go unused, you can squeeze more from it.

When you display flowers and plants upwards, you start to take advantage of your garden’s height.

Not only does this prevent walls and fences from looking bare, but it also saves valuable ground space, providing more room for furniture and other garden features.

This offers the opportunity for you to sit back and enjoy all your hard work with the space you've gained.

Towering gardens look as amazing as they sound.

Opt for your favourite plants to create a haven that’s unique to you.

Different shapes and textures help to bring even the dullest of outdoor areas to life.

Mix up different varieties of plants to create an eye-catching display for your garden.

One of my particular favourites has to be this succulent wall design idea by Luna-See.

It's a display that would wow anyone who visits you…

Top Tip: Don’t have the wall space for a vertical garden? Try hanging baskets.

You can hang plants in beautiful tiered hanging baskets as they take up so little room for the enjoyment.

Try planting flowers in brightly coloured colanders as a fun alternative to plant pots.

This eye-catching alternative would go perfectly on porches, balconies or in tiny gardens.

2. No planting space? Use plant pots instead!

This balcony is proof that you don't need lush flower beds and yards full of green grass to have a great outdoor area.

Planting into pots is super versatile.

Add your favourite flowers, fruits and vegetables to places that usually wouldn’t see any plants or vegetation.

Now watch as an otherwise dull area springs into life.

Plant pots look particularly attractive on wooden decking, pavings, patios, city garden, balconies and gravelled spaces.

This low maintenance gardening approach is easy to chop and change.

Alter your garden arrangement according to your mood, or the season.

Planting into pots is wonderful solution to your small garden problem.

They’ll add colour and natural beauty to the smallest of living spaces.

3. Folding chairs are your small garden’s best friend.

You just don’t know it yet!

Folding chairs are a blessing for small garden owners.

It might seem somewhat obvious, but this is a great trick for anyone trying desperately to get the most from their small garden space.

The real appeal of folding seats is that you can move them around easily.

Folding them up is a breeze and you can use the space for something else that day.

You can’t do that with a regular garden furniture set!

Having optional seating in your outdoor area allows your space to be used differently every time you set foot in it.

After all, what's the point in having a large table set when you don't plan to use the space only to eat?

One day it could be the kid's play area.

And the next it could become the setting for a romantic meal with your partner as you indulge in some outdoor dining.

And it doesn't stop there!

Suddenly it’s a place to hang your clean laundry as you complete your weekly chores.

I bet that you didn’t think you could have the best of all worlds, eh?

4. Artificial grass is for more than bald spots. You can apply it to almost any kind of garden.

I'm sure that we would all love to have a pitch worth of grass at our doorstep.

But this isn't an option for most small garden owners.

In fact, you won’t get the benefit of any grass if you have a patio, balcony, gravelled or decked garden.

There isn't the space!

It's even worse for those of us who live in the city - sometimes you’ll go days without seeing a proper piece of grass.

Or any nature at all for that matter.

If you're sick of missing out on a beautiful lawn, I’ve got the ultimate tip for you…

Artificial grass isn't just for covering old, dying lawns - it can be used on all sorts of surfaces.

Mind = blown.

You can use fake grass to add depth and colour to plain patios or decked areas in your urban garden.

The change in texture will help make your garden look brighter and more kept.

Fake grass can be used something like an outdoor rug.

Now you can have the natural look of a lawn without the watering, mowing or feeding.

And with artificial grass looking so real nowadays, chances are your neighbours will struggle to see the difference!

It's a no lose situation.

5. Are you longing for a great seating area in your small garden? Corner sofas are a major space saver.

I know what you’re thinking…

"But won't a large piece of furniture take up even more space?"

No, it's like magic!

We all have that dark, neglected corner of the garden that hasn’t seen any love since you moved in.

Take this section and give it a quick tidy up.

You can add a corner sofa to fill the otherwise unused area.

This gives you a luxury seating area.

If it's a suntrap, you’ve opened up even more usuable space to your home.

It also means that the central part of your garden won’t be packed with garden furniture.

This allows you to introduce water features, a space for kids to play or an outdoor dining area.

Once you have chosen your dream sofa, give it your unique flair by accessorising it with cushions and blankets.

You can even drape some lights over the fence like Ideal Home have done to provide it with an extra cosy feel for you and your family.

6. Let there be light! (And a great place to sit.)

It's amazing what good lighting can do to a space.

This space from Garden Decors is a great example.

Try to imagine it without any lights.

What are its main features? A couple of bushes and a furniture set - that’s all. 

But doesn't it still impress?

Carrol Bucknell from Houzz agrees that lighting can improve your outdoor space dramatically:

"Outdoor lighting significantly increases your enjoyment of the garden so it can be used or viewed
at night as well as in day. Today, many people work long hours and only see their gardens after
dark during the week. If your outdoor space is largely a night garden, then lighting is an
essential ingredient..."

By putting up a set of string lights overhead, the area has been transformed into a cosy spot that you would be more than happy to sit in.

Can you imagine relaxing here with friends on a warm summer night? (I can almost taste the wine…)

There is a whole load of ways that you can use outdoor lighting to your small garden's advantage.

Try out wall features, garden stakes, low-level lighting or throwing fairy lights onto trees, bushes and fences.

Give it a go!

Lighting is so relatively inexpensive nowadays that you can't go wrong.

You’ll soon see that any small outdoor area can change from dark and dingy to warm and welcoming.

7. Pack a punch! Colours don’t have to stop in your living room.

No matter what you garden style is you should think of it as an extension of your home.

Whatever the shape or size, adding a splash of colour to your garden is always a winner.

Even the smallest, most run-down terrace can change into something out of this world with the right bright touches.

Look at what Ikea has managed to do with this tiny space.

By adding a few brightly coloured cushions to an otherwise dull outdoor area, they've transformed this patio into a luxury hang out spot.

8. Goodbye nosy neighbours. Planting trees can have more than one benefit for your garden.

Remember how vertical gardens add height to your garden?

This rule applies to trees too.

When you plant trees, you’ll notice how they make your garden look bigger.

Having these green giants tower over your outdoor area will bring its unique character to life.

But, there's another benefit you might not have considered.

How often do you notice your neighbour peering over your fence?

Or passersby gawking through your gate?

The crowd of trees covering the outskirts of your garden will protect it from prying eyes.

It'll be as if you are in a countryside retreat!

9. In desperate need of a garden extension? I’ve got the ultimate tip for you.

How lovely would it be to get a garden extension?

But it's expensive and messy.

(Not to mention a lot of extra grounds keeping.)

Maybe it’s not such a brilliant idea after all?

But by adding mirrors to the walls and fences of your garden, you can give your tiny garden a bigger feel without all the fuss.

Ronee Saroff from Apartment Therapy agrees:

“…urban gardens bounded by walls can sometimes feel oppressive. Fortunately,
the same principles of refraction that make mirrors a godsend to apartment
dwellers, can work in outdoor spaces as well.”

Here's how it works - the surrounding plants and trees will reflect off the mirror.

The reflection will give the illusion of a more extensive garden.

The mirrors will look like windows to a secret section of your outdoor space.

It's a win-win situation for you and your bank account.

10. Goodbye clutter. Hello window boxes.

Window boxes are an underrated garden feature.

You’re sure to draw the eye with this beautiful garden detail.

Window boxes prevent your window area from looking bare and unloved.

They let you make the most of the limited space you do have by saving on ground space, and cheer up the neighbourhood too.

Top Tip: Try using succulents. They don't grow as fast as other breeds of plants meaning that they won't suffocate each other.

11. Your whirligig has got to go. It’s taking up valuable space.

There's no denying that 'whirlygigs' (or rotary clothes lines) are a staple in most households.

Every time I picture my granny's house I always imagine her old, rusty whirlygig twirling in the wind.

Although practical, whirlyigigs are an eyesore and can take up a large part of your garden.

This sacrifice of precious room isn’t something that small garden owners can afford to waste their already limited space on.  

It might be time to remove your whirlygig and make better use of your outdoor space.

This doesn't have to be goodbye to hanging your laundry outside.

Afterall, what beats the smell of fresh sheets that have been drying in fresh air all day?

A good alternative is to buy a washing line.

They do the same job but don’t stay up permanently  in your garden and are much easier to remove and store when not in use.

12. It’s always nice to share. Invite wildlife into your garden.

Admittedly, this won’t help much with the space problem.

But having a garden that's packed full of wildlife can bring a sense of purpose to your small garden.

You'll love sitting and relaxing in the summer as you listen to the bird's chirp and bees buzz past your ear.

Imagine coming down in the morning to your little garden and seeing that the hedgehogs have eaten what you’ve left for them?

What your garden is lacking in size it will more than make up for with wildlife.

Check out our easy guide to help you get started.

13. Growing your own produce is always possible no matter how small your garden is. Start today!

Enjoying the fruits of your labour is one of the precious joys of owning a garden.

I love making a mojito from mint leaves grown in my garden.

They always seem to taste so much better.

Whether you have a tiny garden, a balcony or a porch, growing your own fruit and vegetable garden is completely achievable.

The Middle-Sized Garden recommends starting small and working your way up:

"If you want to grow food in small spaces, I’d recommend starting with salads and herbs.
You can grow salads in a guttering pipe or an old crate.

Herbs will do well on windowsills – especially if you plant them in slightly larger pots
than you get with supermarket herbs.

Courgettes and tomatoes do well in pots, but they do need really large ones."

By starting small, you'll be able to get a feel for gardening.

The more you grow, the more you'll master it.

It won’t be long before you’re serving salads to friends straight from your vegetable garden.

14. Bistro sets are stylish & functional. Your small outdoor space is going to love them.

Bistro sets are designed for small garden spaces.

Perfect for balconies and small patios, these are the go-to seating option when space is at a minimum.

These sets seat up to two people and are great for enjoying your morning cuppa or sharing an alfresco meal and a bottle of wine with your partner.

There are all sorts of colours and styles of bistro sets available for you - you’re sure to find something to suit outdoor space.

I love how John Lewis have managed to bring this plain decked area to life by matching green chairs with the plant boxes mounted on the wall.

Stylish and romantic, I can’t think of better seating for my garden!

15. Squeeze more out of your balcony. Decorate your railings!

When it comes to balconies or rooftop gardens, it’s important to squeeze the most out of what little space you have.

With usually only enough room for a couple of chairs and a plant pot, you have to get creative when it comes to decorating your little slither of space.

By making use of the railings, you can jazz up your balcony in some wonderful ways.

Add window boxes, string lights or any other accessories that you think will give that extra bit of flare to your space.

16. Furniture isn’t just for your home. Upcycle old dressers and introduce them to your garden.

We all go through the home renovation period at some point.

That time when everything must go!

Before throwing out your old wardrobe or dresser, why not consider using it in your garden?

Creating your own garden dresser is so easy:

1. Give the dresser a fresh lick of paint. You can choose something bright and funky since it will be sitting in your garden.

2. Place plant pots directly into the drawers.

3. Find the perfect place for your your new garden feature.

Yes, it's that simple.

Your new garden dresser will make a great feature on your porch, balcony or hidden between raised beds.

17. The sky's the limit. Training climber plants is easier than you think!

Training plants to climb a wall is the perfect way to liven up an otherwise dull part of your garden.

It’s sure to add a “wow” factor to any small outdoor area.

This can be done with a huge choice of plants including flowers, trees and most breeds of climber plants.

I particularly love what House and Home have done with this wall of ivy.

The wall will draw the eye to anyone who enters into the space.  

It even helps to draw attention away from the small size of the garden.

Although the thought of it may be scary, training plants to climb garden walls is much easier than you think.

Check out Passionate Gardeners guide on how to introduce wall climbers into your garden.

18. Play with pallets. There’s so many uses for them in your garden.

Pallets are a great resource for any garden space.

There are all sorts of ways that you can upcycle them for your small garden.

They can be fashioned into tables, chairs or shelves.

You’d be amazed at what you can do with them.

This pallet looks particularly good as a plant pot holder.

Displaying flowers and herbs like this would, once again, allow you to use the height of your outdoor space to your advantage.

Not only is this a massive space saver, it also adds a rustic look that looks brilliant.

19. Revive narrow spaces. Change things up with a picnic table.

Picnic benches were created for lunch at the park, taking a break halfway up a steep hill or enjoying a book on a lovely summer's day.

Fortunately for you, they also look great in small gardens.

Long and narrow shaped gardens can benefit significantly by introducing a picnic bench.

By using a long shaped picnic table you can take advantage of an awkwardly shaped space.

The look isn’t ‘over the top’ trendy but is a great way to add a bit of fun to your townhouse garden or to encourage outdoor dining in your household.

20. Pave diagonally for the illusion of more space.

When it comes to paving your small outdoor area, here’s a trick that will make your garden look larger and give the illusion of more space.

When laying the paving, don’t lay it with the flat edge facing towards the house.

Instead lay it diagonally. 

The diamond shape will make any tiny yard look bigger.

Paving diagonally is the perfect look for smaller garden areas.

21. Chop your garden into little chunks. Segmenting will make it look larger.

Create hidden areas by dividing your garden into sections.

Segmenting your garden will make it seem large because you won’t be able to see everything at once.

No matter how small, you’ll have no problem separating your garden into areas.

Archways and hedges are great ways to create barriers and divide up your space.

You can add a bench and other garden features to give each area their own little purpose and unique look.

22. You don’t need a huge grill to cook outside. Portable BBQs are super handy.

I’ve always been so jealous of people who have the space to BBQ.

The drinks, the food, the company - it’s so much fun to host a gathering like that.

When I heard the phrase “portable barbecue” I imagined one of those ugly disposable trays that people take to the beach.

But I was wrong - and pleasantly surprised!

Portable BBQs are small grills that can be used time and time again. And nowadays they look amazing.

Usually these BBQ’s  are used for heading to the beach, park or big camping trips.

But they could just as easily be used for your small garden.

So if something like our Azuma Smoker BBQ is too big for you, this is the perfect solution.

These small grills are great for anyone who doesn’t have the space to keep a large BBQ in their garden, garage or shed.

Now you can cook for family and friends with a portable BBQ and store it away when you’re done.

You’ll be grilling up meats, vegetables and other BBQ favourites in no time.

23. Cabanas are a fun feature for any garden. You’ll never want to go indoors.

How often do you spend your time on Pinterest gawking at garden pictures and DIY projects?

My personal favourite has got to be cabanas.

Although they may look complicated, they’re so much easier to build than you think.

Think about it.

You could have your own adult-sized fort to protect you from bills, deadlines and other adult stuff.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

Ok, it might not give you all that but at least you’ll get a bit of headspace for a while.

Cabanas are easy to build and are a great feature to add to any garden, no matter the how small.

Check out this easy guide by Jaime Costiglio here.

You’ll be relaxing under the stars in no time!

Not only are cabana’s super easy to make but they're also super stylish.

They’re excellent shady spots for when the beating sun starts to get a bit too much.

24. Murphy bars are a stylish addition to your garden. They're compact and 100% doable yourself!

Another excellent backyard garden project to undertake is a Murphy Bar.

Murphy bars are creative space saving solutions that are ideal for smaller garden spaces.

The handy design looks like a hanging cupboard but you pull it down to create a small table.

Place a couple of stools around the table, and you’re ready to serve drinks to your family and friends.

Once the party's over, fold it away again to use another time.

This space-saving solution maximises your outdoor space.

Murphy bars don’t just have to be for drinks either!

Store garden tools, BBQ accessories or display family photos in this handy cabinet.

To make your very own Murphy Bar, check out DIY Pete’s video for a walkthrough.

Or you can visit  DIY Pete’s blog here to check out the full set of plans.

25. Don’t forget to accessorise! Your garden will benefit from a few finishing touches.

Bring brown furniture and a dull landscape to life by throwing some accessories into the mix.

Little extras like cushions, candles, string lights and tablecloths bring any space together.

Choose a colour scheme for your full garden or mix and match to create something unique and wacky.

Remember, your garden is an extension of your home.

These small details will make your garden as popular as your living room to relax in.

Still stuck for inspiration? Here’s a list of our top 3 favourite garden bloggers.

1. Vertical Veg was created by Mark Ridsdill Smith, a garden designer who is on a mission to inspire people who live in the city to grow vegetables. His blog is full of tips and tricks for those of us who have little or no living space and want to take up gardening.  
 

2. The Urban Veg Patch is a blog all about growing vegetables, fruits and flowers in the gardens of flats in North London. It’s an excellent source of garden inspiration for those of us with limited space. 


3. One Small Garden was created by Juliann B. Gardner, a garden designer who began her career in gardening 17 years ago specialising in container gardening. After reading her blog, you’ll be bursting with ideas for your garden.

Did you find any of my tips helpful?

Perhaps you have some small garden ideas of your very own?

If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Send them over to me in a tweet to @xsstock or tag us in any photos of your small garden spaces.

We always love to see what you’re up to!

Whatever size your garden. we wish you many years of growth and bliss!

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