Stuck for ideas on how to get the very best out of a smaller garden space? We’ve got some great hints and tips on how to transform your smaller garden into the ultimate outdoor space.
Any garden offers great potential to add your own stamp and optimise your property’s living space. Smaller gardens are no exception.
You don’t need an abundance of floor space to create an outdoor living area that truly reflects your own taste and lifestyle.
We’ve put together some fantastic garden landscaping and decor ideas, ideal for those with even the smallest of garden spaces. Whether you have a courtyard or rooftop garden, a section of your garden that is underutilised or simply a smaller area to play with, you’re sure to find something in this article that could work for you.
The very first thing you need to do is get out of the mindset that you’re restricted on space and embrace the smaller garden. Just because you have a smaller space to work with, it doesn’t mean that you can’t create your dream garden.
Treat it as a blank canvas. Start to consider what you really want from your garden and how you can best utilise your space for your lifestyle.
Are you someone who likes a spot of alfresco dining during the summer months, or perhaps you see yourself as a bit of a BBQ guru and are the first one to invite your friends over during BBQ season?
Do you want a cosy spot to tuck into a book or even a quiet corner in the garden where you can work outdoors on sunny days to get out of your home office?
Or maybe you have a young family and pets and want to optimise your space, incorporating the perfect area for outdoor play and learning.
It’s all achievable even with the smallest of spaces. It’s all about getting creative, using the space available to you whilst putting your own stamp and personality into the design.
And, it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. If you’re willing to muck in with a bit of DIY and invest some time into your garden, there are so many cost-effective ways to revamp your outdoor space.
A splash of colour in any garden can really go a long way, amplifying textures and creating character. But for smaller garden spaces, in particular, pops of colour help to propel light and openness throughout a space. Colour is also a superb way to shine the spotlight on sections or certain features and areas of the garden, whilst obtaining balance within the overall layout and design.
So which colours to choose? Whites and creams give a clean, fresh, airy feel, reflecting daylight and exposing the rich, natural colours of any plants and flowers growing within the space.
If you’re looking for all-year-round colour, that brightens up your exterior space even on the gloomiest and dullest of winter days, you may wish to consider dabbling in some bolder colours.
How about a spot of mustard yellow, fiery orange, fuchsia pinks, lime green or navy blue? Think about where and how you’ll use these fun colours to create a sense of openness and body.
You could paint a brick wall, raised flower beds, garden furniture or even the fence. Or maybe you might consider how you use furnishings, plants and ornaments to create colourful focal points. The trick is to use the colour wisely, to compliment your landscape design.
If you’re limited on space, it can be difficult to find garden furniture that fits comfortably within your garden, without making it feel cluttered or overworked. But actually, there are plenty of solutions for this conundrum.
Building your own furniture is one solution that offers the opportunity to get creative and have some fun. The beauty of this approach is that you can create pieces that are completely tailored to the shape and size of your garden space. From tables and chairs to bench seating – all are completely achievable and offer the perfect project for any avid DIYer.
And for the materials? With great durability and an attractive natural appearance, sleepers are a superb choice of material for a range of outdoor furniture builds. They can be cut to a size of your choice and are easy to work with.
Dress up your new seating pieces with scatter cushions and blankets and tables with placemats, vases and a selection of bright and colourful crockery.
In need of extra storage space? Create bench seating that doubles up as a storage spot for garden tools, equipment and children’s outdoor play toys to keep clutter at bay.
And, if you’re feeling extra creative, you could even put your new furniture pieces on wheels, giving you great flexibility and freedom to easily move them around the space, as and when you need to.
It may seem counterintuitive to break up an already smaller sized garden into separate sections, but done well, this landscaping method can actually give the illusion of more space to play with. You see, it’s all about addressing what you want from your garden and optimising the space to get as much out as possible.
The whole idea of sectioning up the garden is to create multifunctional spaces with purpose. For example, a smaller garden could be split into 3 sections to include a seating or dining area, a vegetable patch or wild garden and a section of the garden where the kids can enjoy outdoor play all year round. The trick is to do this, without making the garden feel cramped and busy.
Flooring is a great way to do this, sectioning off the garden with different textures underfoot. Your dining or chill-out zone may include a modern deck, the vegetable garden surrounded by pebble aggregate and your child’s outdoor play area may feature grass or artificial turf.
Sleepers sunk into the ground or stacked into small sections of sleeper walls also offer another option for breaking up a garden space, creating subtle divisions between garden sections. Pebble edging and pathways also mimic the same effect.
Whilst maintaining an open feel is one way of breaking up the garden space, you may wish to create more defined sections. Trellis, hazel hurdles or even fencing can all be used to create multifunctional spaces. Or, if you’re opting for a more intimate feel, arches and arbours are an alternative option you may wish to consider.
Just because you have a small amount of space, it doesn’t mean you can’t play with the depth and levels within your garden. In fact, multiple layers are another easy way of visually enhancing smaller spaces and breaking up the garden into separate areas. The addition of a raised deck, or even a slightly raised ground level deck, is one of the most cost-effective ways of doing this.
Decking can help to create perspective and body without taking away from the natural flow of the garden. And if you’re looking for somewhere to create an outdoor dining space for summer BBQs or maybe a space for outdoor furniture to incorporate the ultimate relaxation zone, a raised deck could just provide the perfect spot. Sleepers can also be used to create steps leading up to a raised level.
Not only do raised decks look great, but they are relatively easy to maintain. If you’re fed up with mowing the lawn or de-weeding a patio area every few weeks, a decked area might just be ideal for you. Asides from the odd sweep, pressure wash and annual treatment, a decked area doesn’t demand too much time and attention on a regular basis.
One of the most effective ways of creating the illusion of more space in a small garden is to utilise vertical space. That means taking advantage of a blank fence or wall and transforming it into something beautiful, functional, or both.
Why not brighten up a tired-looking part of the garden with a gallery plant wall? Fix plant pots to your wall or fence and plant your favourite plants and flowers to add a dash of natural colour or greenery.
Experiment with different colours to create a stunning natural centrepiece for your garden. Not only do flower walls look great, but they attract natural wildlife such as bees and butterflies into your garden, and certain flowers will permeate their floral scent through your garden.
Alternatively, you could incorporate a herb wall – ideal if you love to cook and want to experiment with fresh new flavours. From basil and parsley through to fresh oregano and dill, pick fresh herbs from your very own back garden. And, you don’t have to spend a fortune on plant pots. Try upcycling old paint tins or bread tins for a rustic finish.
Rather than plant pots, you could also fix trellis to your fence or wall, or opt for a fence with a trellis top. This offers the ideal growing space for climbing plants such as Wisteria, Clematis or even a Rose bush.
In need of somewhere to store away garden equipment, tools and outdoor toys? Make use of your vertical space. Try fixing hooks or shelves to walls and fences. Keep clutter at bay but keep your most commonly used out tools and toys quick to hand.
Over the past year, so many people have jumped on the garden bar bandwagon. And, it’s not surprising – what a fantastic feature for any garden space. Mixing up a few cocktails and mocktails, laying out the nibbles and sitting back and enjoying the sunshine was the closest thing we could get to a pub or bar during the national lockdown and it’s a garden trend that has continued.
A bar is ideal if you have a smaller garden space, or simply want the flexibility to fold your bar away. Attached to a wall or a strong fence or wall, it can be folded up and down, offering a space-saving and highly sophisticated solution to making your very own garden bar.
Lighting, and in particular the amount of natural light in your garden, can make a big difference to how spacious a garden feels. If you have a smaller space, the more natural light you allow into the garden, the more open it will feel.
As with an interior space, one of the most effective ways to create the illusion of a bigger space is to incorporate mirrors. This also allows light to reflect around the garden, brightening the space and providing a more spacious feel.
You can buy garden mirrors that are designed to do just that. Or, you can create your own by mounting a trellis or an old garden gate onto a mirror to achieve a more subtle mirrored effect. Experiment with positioning, finding out where to best place your mirror within your space.
A garden can be enjoyed just as much by night as by day if you are able to light your garden sufficiently. With smaller gardens, overhead lighting, such as festoon lighting or fairy lights, is perfect for achieving great light coverage and adding to the ambience of your outdoor space, without cluttering the garden’s floor space.