Don’t let limited space stop you from creating a wonderful garden. We had our team of designers give us their best small garden ideas to help you unlock your creative side. Let’s get designing in small spaces!
Potted Perfection: Container Garden
Containers allow us to grow a variety of small plants within a small space. Containers don’t have to be bland or uniform either, switch up the size and shape of containers to increase the attractiveness of your small garden design.
Growing Your Own Spices: Herb Garden
Most herbs are smaller plants that don’t require a lot of space. Potted herbs are easy to care for and can save you money in the kitchen. A perfect option for tiny spaces. Consider growing the following herbs.
Eating Your Garden: Edible Garden
A small vegetable patch is an excellent option to fill space in a small garden. Vegetables can also easily be grown in containers if room is especially limited, and this might even be preferable for beginners.
In an outdoor space without much sunlight there are still plenty of options for growing; lettuce, spinach, radishes, carrots and the majority of herbs can all be grown in lower light conditions.
Create a Buzz: Pollinator Garden
One of our favorite small garden ideas is a pollinator garden. Fill your outdoor space with color, whilst also creating food sources and habitat for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
Popular plants for this type of garden include:
- Bee Balm
- Purple Coneflower
Go with something native to your area if you can. We also suggest placing a water source in your garden to maximise the chances of attracting pollinators. Even just a dish can do the job.
Pollinator gardens may need a bit more maintenance than the other garden ideas on our list.
Going Up: Vertical Gardening
A vertical garden is the best way to maximise your outdoor space. By utilising verticality, you get more garden to play with for the square footage you have. Here are some ideas for a lush vertical garden:
- Hanging baskets or pots
- Shelves for containers or potted plants
- Lattices or trellises to support climbing plants
- A living wall
These are fantastic uses of vertical space in small gardens, but still be mindful to make sure plants get enough nutrients, sun and water.
Go With The Flow: Water Features
Not only can water features add a pleasant backdrop of flowing water, but they also attract wildlife and can raise humidity, helping certain plants to thrive.
Water features also act as great focal points. Try adding one for an easy improvement to any compact garden design.
Hang On In There: Hanging Plants
You can grow more than you would otherwise expect in small gardens by hanging your plants. Hanging your potted plants will look great and they give more space to work with on the ground. You can then use this space for furniture or something more functional whilst still enjoying some lush foliage.
Adding plants higher up in your garden adds that extra dimension and will increase visual appeal. Don’t hang up heavy large pots to avoid accidents in case they fall.
Plant Power: Grow Plants for Different Uses
A great way to get the most out of your small garden is to focus on growing plants that have multiple uses. No, we’re not suggesting you wear your lettuce – many plants can have multiple benefits outside of their visual appeal.
On top of planting an edible garden (a previous suggestion) you could focus on plants that have a variety of medicinal benefits. Many of these plants won’t produce large flowers or fruits, so it’s an enjoyable way to maximise a small garden space.
Jump In The Deep End: Hydroponics
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants using nutrient-rich water instead of soil. Growing in this way has several benefits for small gardens.
Uses Less Space: It’s ideal for a small garden because you need less space. This is due to only needing water and not soil for growing, so plants can be grown closer together.
Sustainability: Everything is controlled when using hydroponics, so there’s much less waste. Being able to grow with precision saves on water and is more sustainable.
Efficiency: Hydroponics can improve efficiency over soil-based gardening. Plants are getting what they need directly from the water and are able to absorb nutrients quicker. You’ll get faster growth and abundant harvests.
Micro Magic: Fairy Garden
If you’ve ever fancied your garden as a fantasy escape, then a fairy garden is going to be your choice. A fairy garden is a miniature garden that is designed to look like it is inhabited by fairies.
They’re gardens that are filled with smaller plants and accessories that are meant to create an atmosphere of enchantment. To make a fairy garden, you can use containers or small pots to plant a variety of miniature plants, such as ferns, flowers, and succulents.
Cut It Out: Cut Flower Garden
A cut flower garden is a garden that is designed to grow flowers to be cut and used for bouquets or other arrangements. These gardens are beautiful and vibrant because they’re typically filled with a variety of wonderful flowers.
In order to make your own cut flower garden, you need to have an area that gets plenty of sunlight and has soil that drains well. You will need to pay close attention to your flowers in order to care for them properly. A cut flower garden is not low maintenance but can definitely work within a small space.
Choose different seasonal flowers to have a variety of flowers to cut year round. Growing flowers in this way is a great way to foster year round interest in your garden. Some popular choices of flowers are roses, lilies and sunflowers.
Stop And Smell The Roses: Create a Sensory Garden
Sensory gardens are a great way to create interest, and they don’t need too much space. The idea is to incorporate elements that engage with any of our five senses: Sight, Sound, Smell, Taste and Touch. They’re a great option for any outdoor space and ideal for a small garden.
Here are some sensory garden ideas.
Stunning colorful flowers that are a joy to look at.
- Sunflowers – Bright yellow petals that shine like the sun. Perfect for warm weather.
- Cosmos – Elegance with delicate graceful petals.
- Roses – Velvet like petals in a variety of stunning colors.
- Lilies – Flowers of luxury with large exotic petals.
- Daisies – Simple petals that can lighten up your day.
Sound can be added by attracting certain insects or by selecting plants that sway in the breeze.
- Morning Glories
Plants use smell to attract insects, creating some wonderful fragrances that will add a special touch to a small garden.
- Lavender – Sweet and floral, known for its relaxing effects.
- Roses – Strong smell that evokes romance and love.
- Mint – Crisp and refreshing smell. The scent of cleanliness.
- Jasmine – Exotic scent used in perfumes, essential oils and aromatherapy.
- Lilacs – Sweet smell that reminds us of spring. Popular in candles and perfumes.
This one is easy and there are too many options to list them all. If you’re not sure, then you can always pick your favorite vegetables.
Plants have a variety of different textures that can be enjoyable to touch. Hairy, corse, smooth; it’s up to you. You don’t have to use just plants either. Here are some of our favorite sensory garden ideas for things to touch:
- Pebbles – Smooth to the touch
- Tree Bark – Corse and rough
- Lamb’s ear – Soft fuzzy plant that’s great for ground cover
- Moss – Squidgy feeling
Trash To Treasure: Repurposing For Your Garden
A great option for any size garden, and especially if you want to design on the cheap, is to repurpose things. It’s surprising what can be achieved with relatively little effort and space, using items that people are giving away.
Here are a few repurposing garden ideas:
- Use an old garbage can as a compost bin.
- Convert old tires into planters for flowers or vegetables.
- Change a ladder into a vertical planter by attaching plant pots to the steps.
- Make a water system using old buckets and containers.
- Use old glass jars as decorations.
- Grab an old bathtub or sink to use as a planter for large plants.
- Repurpose an old wooden pallet into a vertical garden.
- Make a coffee table out of old wooden furniture.
If you want some more imaginative repurposing ideas, check out this list from Ideal Home.
Surprisingly outdoor furniture can make small gardens feel more spacious, rather than less.
We recommend selecting pieces that fit neatly into corners you otherwise wouldn’t use, like a set of chairs for a small seating area. Or perhaps if all you have to work with is a tiny patio space, a slim bench might be the perfect fit.
Choose Pieces with Dual Functions
Try using furniture that has dual functions. Here are some great examples of items that save space:
- Seat with hidden storage
- Bench with an inbuilt planter
- Dining table that folds into a side table
Limited floor space shouldn’t stop you enjoying a garden to its fullest; there are plenty of double duty options out there!
Make Furniture Lightweight and Movable
Make the most of your small space by buying furniture that can be easily moved. Every so often you can change the look of your space. Changing layouts means you have a different garden for all seasons.
Having lightweight movable furniture allows you to have an outdoor living space one minute, and a dining area the next. Perfect for petite patios lacking adequate space for a dedicated seating area or dining table.
Make Sure It’s Durable
Choosing high quality furniture might seem unappealing to designers with limited budgets, but it saves money in the long run. Consider the weather conditions where you live before committing to cheap furniture.
Here are examples of outdoor furniture you can add to your small gardens or deck area to enhance the outdoor living experience:
- Coffee table
- Garden bench
- Alfresco dining set
- Swing Chair
- Outdoor sofa
Low maintenance and long lasting, decorative stones take up very little space and are great options for a small garden. Use them as borders, edging, or even accents in planting beds.
A perfect practical choice to add extra visual appeal without overwhelming the eye.
Add a small statue or a bird bath to mix things up visually whilst not looking out of place. A bird bath can be an excellent focal point in a small courtyard.
Banners and Bunting
Banners won’t take up much of your space but can add a dash of color.
Gentle movement and a relaxing sound in the breeze. Wind chimes can suit any sized space.
Use lights around the edges of small spaces can help to make a small garden feel larger than it is. The illusion of space is created by light reflecting off of brighter coloured walls and floors. So if your garden is confined, this will help open the whole space. An outdoor mirror can also be used for this same effect.
Add lighting that creates a relaxing atmosphere around a seating area and enjoy a beautiful summers evening.
Another option to try in a small garden layout is zoning. Zoning refers to sectioning off your garden into distinct areas for different functions or visual appeal.
We like zoning for a small garden in particular because it can give the perception of having more space than we do. Also, by splitting up the available space we make the garden look organised.
If you’re stuck for ideas then try adding a different ground plane (using decking or paving materials) to section off a small garden.