Type to search

9 Small Garden Design Tips


A small garden is heaven sent. With minimal maintenance required, you can enjoy a pleasant outdoor space. But it can also feel like it is constricting your gardening ambitions as many of us labour under the misapprehension that a small garden means no clutter and scant detail.

How to Improve Your Small Garden Space

If this is how you view your small garden space, think again because with these handy small garden design tips you can turn that small patch of the outdoors into something extraordinary.


Use the walls

In the home, we use walls for hanging mirrors and artwork so why not outdoors? In the smaller garden especially using any wall space is a great way of adding small nuggets of detail that transform it into a delightful garden.

Use outdoor mirrors hanging securely on shed or garage exterior walls, as well as using them as the surface up which beautiful climbing plants can extend their wiry tresses.


Hidden secrets

It is tempting to see the smaller garden as a what it actually is – a smaller square, rectangle or an oddly shaped bit of outdoor space. But there is nothing in the rule book that says the small garden cannot be zoned or compartmentalised.

For example, create a dining area in the space closest to your kitchen, and have a raised vegetable plot in one area and a beautiful flower-laden hidden secret that unveils itself as you walk through an arch.


Pave diagonally

Just as in a small room in the interior of a property, the flooring can make a big difference in creating an illusion of length or width. The same is true in a small garden. Lay patio flags diagonally to your property so that they give the sense of bigger dimension to the garden.


Bright colours

When it comes to plants choices, keep the colour as bright and vibrant as possible. Bright colour can make a small garden appear lighter and bigger. As a rule, hot colours – reds, yellows and oranges – make a garden feel more intimate whilst cool colours – purples and blues – can make the outdoor space feel bigger.


Add trees

Most people with small gardens assume that a tree will simply swallow the space available but actually, trees work just as well in the compact backyard as they do in the acres of a manicured garden. They give height, a stunning backdrop and privacy, something that is important even in a small outdoor space.


Attract wildlife

From garden birds to creepy crawlies, these creatures are important to your environment for so many reasons. Just as they should be welcomed in a larger garden, they should also be encouraged to explore the smaller garden.

Bird boxes to bug hotels are a must, as is planting some examples of native flowers and shrubs that provide homes, food and nesting materials for everything from the smallest bug to a cacophony of garden birds. Imagine sitting on your garden bench on a warm summer’s day enjoying the beauty of butterflies and the chatter of small birds…


Choose garden furniture with care

There is no reason why you cannot sit out and enjoy your smaller garden, whether that is reading a novel whilst reclining on a sun lounger or enjoying your evening meal in the fading light of the day.

As well as folding garden furniture sets, investing in hardwood two-seater garden benches is also ideal. Hardwearing and long-lasting, with a protective cover to shield it from the worst of the weather, a hardwood bench will happily sit outdoors all year round.


Pots, pots, pots…

… but not too many, as pots all over the place simply clog the vision and lead to a cluttered and overfull look to the small garden.

Instead, choose pots…

  • Of the same colour – creating a sense of cohesion is achieved in many ways but choosing plant pots of the same or similar colours is one way of adding detail without adding clutter.
  • Of different heights – rather than opting for pots of the same height, choose ones of varying height. Create added detail by placing them in descending height order from the tallest to the smallest (or vice versa).


Don’t forget sound and movement

Gardens should be a full-on sensory experience, but we often forget about movement and sound. Ornamental grasses, for example, are a great way of introducing both – the rustle of the grasses in the breeze is a sheer delight.

Ponds also work well in the smaller garden – great for attracting wildlife too – but with a gentle waterfall too, the sound is simply heavenly!


With these nine clever design tips for the smaller garden, you can enjoy the great outdoors and everything that nature has to offer.

Anna Sharples

Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches - a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.

  • 1