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How to Make a Smaller Garden Feel Bigger

Are you short on space, but love to spend time in your garden? Here are a few ideas to make your garden feel bigger, better and more you, without taking up too much space.

From clever tricks that make use of vertical space to garden-optimising layout hacks, there are lots of different ways that you can get the very best out of your smaller garden.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to make your garden feel more spacious, whilst creating an outdoor sanctuary that you absolutely love.

small garden white fence

Create garden zones

The garden zoning technique is certainly nothing new, but it can be one that many get the wrong end of the stick about, particularly when talking about smaller garden design.

Many jump to a false conclusion that zoning your garden means splitting the space up into smaller spaces. However, that’s not quite how it works.

Zoning is all about packing a garden with functionality, whilst creating a harmonised and balanced space that does more.

When done well, it’s a great way to make a garden feel more capacious, whilst giving you more bang for your buck when it comes to your garden area.

So here are a few zoning techniques to try out during your small garden redesign:

Zone with a purpose

garden zones with deck and patio

One of the most logical ways to zone a garden is by creating areas with different functionality.

This is a fantastic way to kick-start your space-creating garden redesign if you’re unsure where to begin.

Start by considering how different members of your family use the garden space. Then, design each zone around yours and their needs.

This will enable you to get the very most out of your homely garden while creating a sense of more space throughout the landscaping design.

Different types of zones could include:

  • An outdoor dining area for alfresco dining
  • A cosy corner or fire pit corner for get-togethers on balmy summer evenings
  • A BBQ zone or pizza oven for the outdoor chef in the family
  • A fruit and veg patch for homegrown organic goodness
  • A DIY zone or workshop for at-home projects
  • An outdoor games or play area for younger members of the family or furry friends

Even in a smaller garden, there are so many possibilities to get the very best out of your space to create an outdoor environment that works for you and your family.

You don’t have to go overboard with trying to cram in as many zones as possible. 2 or 3 zones in a smaller garden work really well.

Small garden flooring ideas

decking grass and patio slabs
Once you have an idea of what you need from your garden, you can create distinguishable splits of space by mixing and matching between different flooring styles.

Consider the purpose of the space, then find a suitable, yet stylish outdoor flooring finish.

For example, a deck may be the perfect option for an outdoor dining area or chillout zone, but not the best option for your BBQ area or kids’ outdoor play area.

So here are some outdoor flooring options you may wish to consider for different garden zones:

Shingle: perfect for weed-free pathways and path edging, BBQ areas, and throughout wild garden sections and home allotments

Decking: ideal for creating a sun deck, hot tub zone, chillout area and outdoor dining area

Bark: a great way to create a pathway or children’s outdoor play area

Lawn: perfect for creating a pet and child-friendly play area as well as a light and bright open area

Patio or block paving: ideal for BBQ areas, outdoor kitchens and patio furniture zones

Zone your way to more space with colour

colourful garden

Whilst zoning is about creating distinguishably different spaces, it’s important to keep a sense of flow throughout your garden.

To avoid an unbalanced feel that you have two separate gardens, finding a level of consistency with a colour theme will ensure that you maintain a natural, balanced zonal feel.

Then you can match and pair colours against each other across your zones to add a touch of personalisation, whilst drawing the whole garden design together.

When using colour to zone your garden, pick one or two key colours that will feature across every zone in your garden.

So which colours to choose?

grey garden design

White and cream are the most popular colours to choose when it comes to making an outside space feel more open.

Dabble a little bit of this lighter tone across each zone in your garden. There’s an opportunity to express a little creativity as you do this.

Cover up any unattractive garage walls with white paint, paint your fence panels white or even give your sleepers a fresh and bright white new look with paint.

If white is just a tad too bright for you, grey is another option you may wish to consider.

Bang on trend, grey garden design is another firm favourite, particularly in smaller gardens.

Just like white, it works so well with a broad array of colours across the colour wheel as well as natural timber tones and rocky textures.

You could also paint a deck grey, or if you’re looking for a lower-maintenance option, consider grey Trex composite decking.

How to build colour throughout garden zones

blue bench in garden

When it comes to building upon your base colour, colour can be sploshed and dabbled across your garden in so many different ways.

Use different colours, materials, textures, plants and florals to express your design through colour.

Let’s start with paint. Use bright and bold pigments such as blue, burnt orange, yellow, fuchsia pink and lime green to paint garden furniture and features such as benches, sleeper walls, fences, cladding, sheds and bird feeders.

Or for a more natural approach, opt for florals, planted in raised beds and colourful pots across the garden.

If it’s an organic green space you’re looking to create, contrast shrubs and hedges against modern greys or classic white to create a bright and open space.

And finally, take the outside-in approach and introduce fun textures and patterns throughout your zones.

Cushions and throws for garden furniture, colourful ornaments and decorative features as well as parasols and outdoor tableware will give your garden a homely feel, whilst splashing a subtle dash of colour across the garden.

Make a small garden feel bigger with different levels

garden with different levels

Just in the same way that zone alludes to the idea of more space, incorporating different garden levels will do the same thing.

Tricking the eye into thinking there is more going on whilst utilizing the vertical space rather than floor space will also help to make your smaller garden feel bigger.

And, if your garden is already on a slope, this is a superb way to fully embrace any banks, slopes and split levels you may have.

There are a few different ways to incorporate vertical space into your smaller garden redesign:

Do it with decking

decking with lawn area

One of the easiest and most obvious ways to create different levels in your garden is with a raised deck.

With this approach, you’ve got a lot more flexibility to choose exactly how high your deck is, as well as how big your deck is to be.

What’s more, there’s a lot less digging and groundwork required. A deck can usually be installed quickly by either a professional, or DIYers.

Maybe your deck will only be ever so slightly raised off the floor, without the need for steps, or perhaps you’ll take the deck high off the ground, and integrate a few steps or a sloped access point. It’s completely up to you.

Raised beds

raised beds made from sleepers

Another way to mix between different levels is to raise your flower beds up.

Bring plants and flowers up to eye level, whilst adding more texture to the space when building raised sleeper beds.

Not only does this add a subtle vertical layering to your garden, but it can offer a more comfortable gardening experience when beds are raised from floor height.

Once again, you can choose the height of your raised beds, integrate raised beds into a slope, or vary the height of each bed.

Grow upwards with trellis

Marry together height and colour when using trellis in your garden.

Add a touch of life and character to dark and forgotten areas of your garden, whilst making the most of all of the space.

Perfect for Wisteria and Clematis, as well as Tomato plants, build an extra element of depth and texture to your smaller garden without taking up too much space when choosing a trellis.

And, if you’re looking for something a little more subtle, why not opt for a fence with a trellis top instead?

Create a garden focal point

garden with focal point

Smaller gardens benefit from having a focal point, that offers a sense of balance and alignment across the space.

This focal point could be positioned anywhere around the garden, drawing attention as the standout feature to achieve a beautifully, harmonised outdoor space.

From a mini water feature or an ornament to practical elements such as a bench, pergola or even a brightly painted shed, there are lots of different ways to create a focal point that works to create a sense of more space in your garden.

Keep clutter at bay

purple shed

Instantaneously create more space when you declutter your garden.

It can often feel like it doesn’t take long for your garden to become an overflow space for things you don’t have an everyday use for.

Instead, be mindful of the things you do need, and the things you don’t. Have a declutter session to free up space.

And, if you have lots of belongings that you use seasonally and are in need of practical outdoor storage, why not consider a small shed?

Make the shed into a garden feature by painting it, hanging flower baskets off of it or even giving it a dual purpose by turning it into a garden bar.

A little bit of housekeeping goes a long way

lattice trellis top fence

Garden maintenance also plays an important role in ensuring that you make the most out of your space.

Overgrown hedges and trees can impede space and make a garden feel smaller. Be sure to trim back any overgrown foliage and remove any weeds to keep your garden looking clean, tidy and more capacious.

When redesigning your garden, aim to use weed control ground covers, which will help to reduce the number of weeds breaking through paths, decking and other areas of the garden.

And, don’t forget to brush away any leaves and debris that have fallen into your garden.

Fix up any broken garden features. Leaning fences and damaged panels can make your garden feel messy and therefore smaller. To avoid such issues in the long run, opt for Durapost or concrete posts, which usually require less maintenance than wooden posts.

Light up your garden day and night

festoon lighting in garden

The more you can allow natural light to flow through your garden, the bigger it will feel.

If you have large, overgrown trees or hedges that are blocking natural light, consider how they can be trimmed, or even removed to create the visual sense of more space.

Mirrors are also another great way to bounce natural light around your garden during the daytime and can work as an attractive garden feature.

During the evening, consider using a range of lighting fixtures and fittings to add depth and body.

Mix and match between sunken lights in decking and sleepers, festoon lighting and fairy lights across the space, to create an ambient outside homely environment that can be enjoyed once the sun has set.

Start your small garden revamp project with Equestrian Fencing

Here at Equestrian Fencing, we specialise in all things timber and fencing. From beautiful freshly cut sleepers and decking to a wide choice of cladding options, sheds and fencing products, we’ve got you covered. Shop online or visit our yard today!

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