Design Ideas for a Small Garden

Close-up of purple flowers

If, like a lot of us, your garden is a small one, then you may think that your design options are somewhat limited. After all, surely there is only so much that you can do in such a small space?

Thankfully, this isn’t the case; there are still plenty of ways in which you can use your garden effectively! From planting recommendations to clever lighting tricks, we have compiled a list of some of our small garden design ideas that will help you make the most of your garden.


Your garden may not cover a lot of ground, but that does not mean there’s no way of extending it. Lots of small garden owners find that growing their garden vertically is a fantastic way to make use of their limited space. You could invest in raised beds or tiered planters so that you can layer your plants. Or, if you’re feeling more creative, you could even place your greenery along the steps of an old ladder or inside the drawers of a workbench.

Use the Walls

You only have a limited space, so you might as well use all of it! A great way of enhancing a small garden design is to invest in some climbers that will fill up your empty wall or fence space. Some suggestions for this are a clematis (such as the clematis koreana), or, if you want colour all year round, then you could opt for the evergreen, confederate jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides).


One important thing to remember is that, as your garden is quite small, you should avoid overcrowding it. The best way to manage this is to stick to minimal colour choices; with too many colours, your garden can look cluttered and unattractive. We suggest 2-3 complementary colours, such as yellows and oranges.


When it comes to lighting up a small garden, designs should be tactical. You may not have enough space to place lights everywhere, but you can place them around objects that you want the eye to be drawn to. For example, you could layer them along your fence, around a small water feature or a blooming flower.


This final small garden design idea is a little unconventional, but when done correctly, it can be very effective. To create the illusion of a much larger outside space, you can place mirrors strategically around your garden, nestled in the flower beds and up against the walls. The mirrors can reflect the flowers, or perhaps even the whole garden, giving the impression that it is much larger than it really is.

More Planting Suggestions

If you’re still not sure how to make the most of your small garden, then here are a few popular plant choices:

  • The Hybrid Lenten Rose (Helleborus x hybridus) – a semi-evergreen that forms a bushy plant in a range of different colours.
  • The Hart’s Tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) – like most ferns, this plant thrives in shady areas, which will allow you to utilise your negative space.
  • The Hayes Starburst (Hydrangea arborescens) – the wonderful thing about the hydrangea is that it is a multipurpose plant. It can be potted in a shady corner of your garden, or else encouraged to tumble down a fence or low wall.
  • The Coral Bark Maple (Acer palmatum) – the acer is another versatile plant; it grows in a wide range of colours that can really brighten up a garden. The coral bark maple is well-suited for small gardens, capable of producing bright greens, reds and oranges.

Now, before you rush off to the nearest garden centre, we have one final piece of advice that we want to share with you: the best designs need a plan. Consider various colour schemes and any small garden design ideas you already have before implementing them. If you follow this plan through, you will be able to turn your small garden into a rural paradise.

For more tips and inspiration, why not take a look at our blog? Or, if you want to know more about making the most of your garden, get in touch!

Posted on August 23rd 2018

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