Is your garden looking a bit tired? Or maybe it’s just outdated and has you at the end of your tether? You may not know it but small gardens, tiny terraces and petite patios can be transformed, but they may need a little more planning compared to a larger space.
Whether you’re looking to create a space to impress, want to squeeze in some garden furniture or just want to be surrounded by greenery, you’ll find lots below to inspire you to transform your space.
1. Think vertically
A great example of space saving is the living wall (sometimes called a ‘green wall’). A living wall is a vertical structure that has different types of plants and other greenery growing up it. It’s a great way to draw the eye upwards, make the space feel bigger and add a massive ‘wow’ factor.
Use creepers such Trachelospermum (star jasmine) and Lonicera (honeysuckle) and trailers such as the vibrant Phlox Subulata (McDaniel’s Cushion) to decorate high spaces and get flowers blooming up high.
A living wall doesn’t necessarily have to grow up a wall either. Get creative with the space you use, working on a stretch of bare fence or the side of a balcony. Almost any small outdoor space can be transformed with a vertical garden.
2. Pave diagonally
Paving laid squarely can easily make your garden seem much smaller than it is. Choose diagonal paving to simply trick the eye and increase the visual size of your garden.
Lay your patio slabs out on the point so they are in a diamond shape to give the optical illusion of a bigger garden, or to make use of mixed and broken slabs, create a more unusual garden of different shapes and colours.
3. Create a multifunctional shed
Create a more usable space and make your shed work harder! Clean up your old garden space with a lick of paint and some fairy lights and turn your shed into a bar for garden parties in the summer months, and pack it all away to house garden furniture in the winter.
4. Attract wildlife
Bird boxes, feeding stations, roosting pouches and insect hotels will help bring your garden to life with exciting bird and insect activity. Garden wildlife can thrive in even the smallest of gardens, so make space for lots of wildlife in your garden design.
5. Lots of sound and movement
Add points of interest to your small garden design that bring both motion and sound to the space. No matter how small your garden is, find space for a water feature to create an excellent focal point and give the feel of a more tranquil environment. It’ll become the perfect space after a long day at work!
6. Add some privacy
A common problem with many small, urban gardens is other people looking in on them from surrounding buildings. Arches and Pergolas are a great way to create a secluded seating area and covering them with climbers is a great way to add a bit more privacy. Try some Clematis, Lonicera (honeysuckle) or Jasminum (jasmine) to add a great scent as well as coverage.
Trees are also a good way to add both height and privacy. Try some canopy trees such as prunus cerasifera (Cherry Plum) that will give you a leafy roof without taking up much space on the ground. You can even make a bit more space by clearing away the lower stems too.
More decorative and ornamental trees can also look great, with a good example being olea europaea (olive) trees, which help transform any space into a beautiful Mediterranean paradise.
7. Use every corner
When planning your garden layout, take a step back and think about how you can use every inch of space to its full potential. Often a courtyard can feel very enclosed by the looming brick walls. Adding clever corner seating and a living wall can use the space effectively and distract away from the imposing walls, creating the illusion of space.
8. Add planters under the kitchen window
Old, reclaimed railway sleepers can be used to build a simple trough that can be fitted directly under your kitchen window. This will give you a great place to grow herbs and small flowers, which gives you the space to open the window and grab what you need.
9. Paint walls white
Think of the exterior of you home just like you would the interior. White paint is often used to make the most of a small room because of its brightening and lightening properties, and gardens can benefit from this trick, too. Paint your brickwork and garden furniture white to not only give off the illusion of a large space, but to also bring together a beautifully mediterranean scheme that has serious style.
10. Use containers
Pots and planters can be a great choice for small trees or flowering bedding plants, which allows you to change them and move them around easily. This can create a huge impact on a small space, as it gives you the freedom to revamp your garden design whenever you like.
You can also grow fruits and vegetables in pots to make the most of your space. Tomatoes, beans, lettuce, peppers, chillies, radishes, carrots and even potatoes can all be fully grown in pots and containers!
11. Put up some shelves
Create some extra precious surface area for pots and pretty garden decoratives by putting up some shelves. Keep in mind that for maximum safety, they should be mounted into a brick wall.
Old railway sleepers can be an inexpensive reclaimed solution, easily supported by wrought iron brackets.
12. Keep the space bright
Even the tiniest space can be easily transformed into something outstanding. Brightly coloured plants and features can make a small garden appear much lighter and brighter.
Reach for plants such as rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed Susan) and Alyssum Montanum for a pop of colour to brighten up dark patches.
As a general rule of thumb, hot colours, like reds and dark yellows make a space feel more intimate, while cooler colours such as purple, white and blues recede into the field of vision, making a small space feel larger.
13. Pretty up with soft furnishings
If you live in a more urban, built up area – your garden may require more careful planning. A garden bench can create a practical and stylish way to make an impact and by adding some soft furnishings, you can create an easy cosy corner. Pair a streamlined modern design with colourful exotic cushion to add some ‘wow’ factor to your space.
14. Play with bright colours
Britain is known for it’s fairly unpredictable weather, but us Brits love to get out in the garden, rain or shine. Even if your space is small, there’s no reason why you can’t transform it into a vibrant space to use all year round. Create a vibrant dining area using a small round table, a few chairs and a large parasol. Dress the table with colourful pressed glass tableware and a bright tablecloth to brighten up any sheltered spot.
For extra space-saving, be sure to choose furniture that either folds away or stacks when not in use. You’ll thank yourself later!
We hope that our range of small garden ideas have given you some inspiration to allow you to fall in love with your space again.
Freya works with Sansums Sand & Gravel, leading stockist of high-quality fences in Swindon, to help provide expert information on a variety of gardening solutions.