52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (2023)

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These small garden ideas will help you rethink your tiny plot and get so much more out of it. Even small urban courtyards and balconies have the potential to become luscious and productive gardens –you just need to be a bit creative about how you use the space and what you grow.

From planting and landscaping tips, to innovative layouts that will suit a small garden design perfectly, we've rounded up clever garden ideas to help you perfect your outdoor space with even the smallest square footage.

1. Create a coherent garden design

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (1)

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs)

The first rule for any small garden is that even if it's tiny it should have a coherent design. Gardens that are unkempt or haphazard look even smaller than they are. Start with a simple geometric layout for your garden beds, with a neat fence around the perimeter, and you'll see the difference immediately. This neat small garden was created by J Montgomery Designs (opens in new tab).

2. Tiny space? Grow things in raised beds on wheels

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(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Too little room for a permanent raised bed in your garden? You can make yours mobile –by fitting wheels at the bottom. This is a really good solution for plots that are so small that you'd be able to access a fixed raised bed only on one side –which is not good for your back and is just a bit awkward. Caster wheels can be bought on Amazon (opens in new tab) and fitted to a container of your choice on a DIY basis.

3. Make a raised bed a centerpiece in a small yard

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(Image credit: Nature's Realm)

(Video) Small gardens: 3 easy design ideas

Yes, you can still have a vegetable garden in a small backyard, but you'll have to be clever about how you design it. This clever small garden design by Houston-based Nature's Realm (opens in new tab) turns a painted raised bed into the garden centerpiece, giving the space a distinctive look. Learning how to make raised beds is very easy and gives you complete control over growing vegetables, herbs, and even flowers. We also really like the paved path that goes around the bed, which makes the whole design look smarter.

4. Clad your raised beds to add more interest

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (4)

(Image credit: Derek Harris / Alamy Stock Photo)

Not everyone likes the look of traditional wooden raised beds. If you want something a bit different, you can clad yours. There are many different materials and looks to choose from, including metal, stone, and wicker for an easy-going, rustic look.

5. Grow veg in temporary containers

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(Image credit: Ikea)

Growing veg isn't limited to greenhouses, allotments and extensive gardens – almost everyone can have a go at creating a kitchen garden. Whether you have space on your window sill to grow a few herbs, or a spot on your balcony for a tomato plant or two, there are always options for growing (a bit) of your own.

And you don't have to invest in expensive planters either. Here the Samla Box from IKEA (opens in new tab), has been used, and it starts at $1.49 But, you could just as easily upcycle something you already have at home.

6. Create an edible border

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(Image credit: Mabo / Alamy Stock Photo)

A garden doesn't have to use all of your outdoor space. If you want more of a backyard setup where you can relax, you can still grow veg as well –just allocate a sunny border for your edibles. If your plot doesn't have any soil, build a corner raised bed to make one.

7. Include a herb stop

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(Image credit: Thommy Bengtsson x Ikea)

Cute, fragrant and tasty, squeeze in a herb garden station on a covered patio or balcony space and you'll be so distracted by the loveliness of it that you'll forget how mini it is.

8. Keep garden paths neat and defined

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(Video) 21 AMAZING PLANTS IDEAS || DIY Gardening Tricks You Should Know

(Image credit: GKSFlorapics / Alamy Stock Photo)

A small garden should still have all of the things are large garden has –that includes garden paths, fencing, and even outbuildings. Never sacrifice paths in any garden, even if it's tiny –you need to be able to move around freely, so choose garden path ideas that are functional as well as pretty.

9. Keep veg within reach of the kitchen door

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(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Growing fruit, veg and herbs near the kitchen door means that when tomatoes, zucchini and the like are ripe and ready for eating, you can access them easily, without sacrificing any of the loveliness from your garden design.

10. Enhance a small garden design with formal elements

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (10)

(Image credit: Elizabeth Whiting & Associates / Alamy Stock Photo)

There's great news for those who want to grow their own but don't necessarily like a rustic garden style: you can have a more formal-looking garden and still grow plenty of veg. Choose more upmarket paving and dot your garden with a few sculptural plants like cypress or box hedge, and you'll have a space that is both smart-looking and functional.

11. Fill your entire small garden with raised beds

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(Image credit: Mark Pinkerton/ Casa Smith Designs)

If you're serious about growing your own food, you may choose to dedicate your entire garden to doing just that. Raised beds provide by far the easiest method for doing this in a smaller space, and you can still make the garden look nice by carefully planning the layout of your beds.

We really like this striking garden design by Casa Smith Designs (opens in new tab), with the central star-shaped bed adding design interest as well as making the garden easier to walk around.

12. Contain invasive crops

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(Image credit: M.Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo)

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If you've ever tried to learn how to grow mint, you'll know that it will take over your whole garden if you don't contain it. Avoid your small garden becoming a monoculture – know your invasive crops and plant them in pots.

13. Maximize vertical space with a DIY shelving unit

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (13)

(Image credit: kcline / Getty)

Narrow garden? Look to vertical garden ideas. You can use old pallets or wood planks to build a shelving unit that will house several tiers of pot-grown herbs and veg. Add a few hooks at the top and hang some hanging baskets for more variety.Making use of vertical space is one of the best options if you're figuring out how to make a small garden look bigger.

You can also buy a plant stand from Amazon (opens in new tab) and use that if you don't feel like DIYing this idea.

14. Create a container display with herbs

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(Image credit: Lagoon)

'In a small space, a few large features are better than many small ones. Two or three big pots will have much more impact and look far more stylish than a dozen ill-assorted smaller ones,' says gardening expert and TV personality Alan Titchmarsh. Potting your herbs in a few large, beautiful pots will always look nicer than using lots of tiny ones.

15. Note that greenhouses are not just for large gardens

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(Image credit: L Feddes / Getty)

Think that greenhouses are for large gardens only? Think again. There are plenty of DIY greenhouse ideas that are perfect for small spaces, some suitable for even the tiniest of spaces. And even the smallest greenhouse will make a huge difference to what you can grow if you live in an area with cold winters.

16. Use old guttering to create a tiered herb garden

(Image credit: martinwimmer / Getty)

Not all crops need lots of soil in order to survive and thrive. Many herbs and even lettuces will grow perfectly well in narrow and shallow troughs. We really like this DIY idea where old guttering has been repurposed as an ultra-slim vertical garden. You can also use old plastic bottles or even tree bark.

17. Be clever with your choice of containers

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(Image credit: jeangill / Getty)

If, on the other hand, you are set on crops that need a lot of root space – potatoes, looking at you – you'll need to be flexible with what you use, even if it's not the best-looking container. Grow bags are invaluable in smaller spaces –they give your root veggies the space they need to grow while taking up minimal floor space – and they look great weaved in with other container garden ideas.

18. Create a living display with climbing vegetables

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(Image credit: taikrixel / Getty)

Breaking news: many vegetables are also beautiful plants that you can use to create a living wall. Tomatoes and cucumbers, but also zucchini, beans, and peas all make for lovely climbers that look beautiful grown on a trellis or frame.

19. Grow your veg next to your outdoor kitchen

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(Image credit: A Garden / Alamy Stock Photo)

Many outdoor kitchen ideas are suitable for small spaces – and there's no reason why you can't have a veggie or herb patch right next to yours. Just imagine the joy of preparing a fresh salad you've grown outside. Just avoid placing your grill too close to your plants, especially if yours runs on gas.

20. Don't forget the flowers

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(Image credit: fotolinchen / Getty)

Finally, a garden can –and should – include flowers and all manner of colorful garden plants – they're not just for decorative backyard spaces. Get some wildflower seeds for a wildflower patch or just dot some of your favorite flowers in between the veggie beds. They'll add color and attractive pollinators.

How do you layout a small garden?

The best way to layout your small garden mostly depends on how small your outdoor space is, and what you're growing in it. Planting vertically is your friend, even if it's a vegetable garden. And, although it's a small area you're working with, you shouldn't be afraid of filling it with a variety of decorative touches and different areas as a busy space looks and feels more spacious than an empty one. Consider water features and more to add interest for the whole family but also for wildlife to keep your space biodiverse.

Then you need to be clever with how you fit it out, furniture-wise. If a convivial atmosphere is important for you, choose furniture that can work flexibly – much like your space will. David Hough from home improvement specialists, SMART Balustrades (opens in new tab) recommends that 'Where possible, choose non-fixed outdoor seating – so it can be moved at leisure to create different spaces, and packed away when not in use for those with smaller outdoor spaces such as balconies.'

How do you brighten up a small garden?

Brilliant planting will without a doubt add color and life to your small garden space. Bright plants will not only add vibrancy to your garden, but will also encourage wildlife in, making for a more dynamic and wholesome area to enjoy too.

In a study mentioned by UK-Rowse Honey (opens in new tab) apparently, gardens in urban areas take the top spot in producing the most nectar per unit area for bees... Proving that you can keep bees happy even in a tiny garden.

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'Did you know that simply planting a few bee-friendly flowers in a window ledge container or hanging basket can help keep our buzzing buddies happy and healthy?' says Rowse Gardening Experts. 'Any outdoor space, no matter the size, can be transformed into a foraging wonderland for pollinating insects. Every space has potential, and a mini makeover will help to brighten up the place while giving bees the food they really need!' Lavender, Catmint, Valley Valentines, Sunflowers, Chives, Cosmos and Wildflowers are some of the favorite flowers as recommended by Rowse to transform your small space, using a window box placement or small ground container. 'Wonderful wildflowers don’t just grow in fields and grass verges – they’re perfectly happy sitting in a pot, too! Planting wildflower seeds will bring natural wonder to your outdoor space, no matter how big, and they really are the blooms that bees love best. A bee-autiful display of blossoms will brighten up your day, and help feed our buzzing friends at the same time – it really is a win-win.'

Tiny but lovely.


How do I create different areas in a small garden? ›

Divide your garden into sections, using bamboo screens, trellis or walls of foliage and decorate each area with different plants and garden furniture. These are perfect for hiding small seating areas and comfy garden getaways.

How do you make a small garden look good on a budget? ›

  1. Repurpose old wooden crates to make stylish shelves. ...
  2. Use old jars as mini planters. ...
  3. Try DIY terracotta candle holders. ...
  4. Create a cool, industrial-style aesthetic with oversized planters. ...
  5. Make an upcycled hanging planter. ...
  6. Guide the way with a cute garden sign. ...
  7. Glow up your shed. ...
  8. Create a gorgeous garden display wall.
1 Apr 2022

How do you do a limited space garden? ›

A few ways to rotate in a small space include building raised beds to delineate spaces, growing in pots, and coordinating with your neighbors. For example, one neighbor could grow tomatoes this year and another could grow cucumbers.

What Colours make a garden look bigger? ›

Light, cool-coloured paint shades in a garden colour scheme will make a small space feel larger, whereas bright, hot colours and darker shades will have a dwarfing effect. The same applies with plants.

What colour fence makes a garden look bigger? ›

All shades of green will complement the existing shade of your garden and simultaneously make your garden look bigger. Green is also a fairly neutral colour and will work with most of your garden furniture and decking.

How do you make a long thin garden look wider? ›

Use larger plants and trees as a starting point, then add a second, shorter layer around them and then fill in any gaps with shrubs or smaller flowering plants. This layering, especially when used around the edges of a garden, will blur to boundaries of the space, making it feel more spacious.

How do you decorate a small garden? ›

How To Design A Small Garden - YouTube

What vegetables can you grow in a small space? ›

  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are the John Mayer of the vegetable world: They're universally well-liked and pretty laid back. ...
  • Herbs. ...
  • Radishes. ...
  • Lemons. ...
  • Pole Beans. ...
  • Lettuce. ...
  • Shallots. ...
  • Cucumbers.
1 May 2020

What do you put in the bottom of a fairy garden? ›

Ensure proper drainage by adding a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of your container. It's also a good idea to include a layer of charcoal to keep the garden fresh. Fill the container with potting soil and add bark, pebbles, or moss on top to create paths for the fairies.

What kind of trees do fairies live in? ›

Hawthorn trees are also known as “fairy trees”. It is believed that fairies (or the sidhe) live underground and in certain trees, namely the hawthorn.

What flowers are in the secret garden? ›

Search for Plants from The Secret Garden
  • Lily. ...
  • Herbs and Vegetables. ...
  • Robin. ...
  • Delphinium, Columbine, and Campanula. ...
  • Squirrel. ...
  • Ferns and Foxgloves. ...
  • Late Roses and Autumn Trees.
13 Aug 2017

How do you make a square garden look interesting? ›

Create curves

Let's face it – a square garden with a square lawn isn't particularly exciting. If you want to jazz things up, try changing your lawn shape – circular, oval or curved irregular shapes will all distract the eye from the box shape, and make your garden appear more creative.

How do I make my backyard look like a forest? ›

You'll need to do some homework to identify the best trees for the soil and sun exposure in your yard. Select several kinds of native trees and native shrubs, and consider adding native ground covers, such as ferns. To be part of Doug Tallamy's homegrown national park, at least one kind of oak is a must.

Is there a free garden planner? ›

Better Homes and Gardens- Plan-A-Garden

This garden planning app is a free tool from Better Homes and Gardens; all you need to do to get full access is sign up for an account with their website.

How can I make my front garden look nice? ›

Be inspired by our tips for designing a front garden, below.
  1. Use complementary colours.
  2. Use white to create a focal point.
  3. Hide bins with bespoke screening.
  4. Use containers to enhance paved spaces.
  5. Use topiary for a formal look.
  6. Use hanging baskets for height and colour.
  7. Use pots of different sizes.
3 May 2022

How do you decorate a flower bed without flowers? ›

How to Go Plant-Free in Your Landscape Design
  1. Choose your hardscape carefully. ...
  2. Choose non-living ground covers for texture, color and visual appeal. ...
  3. Use landscaping fabric. ...
  4. Bring in a water feature. ...
  5. Avoid clutter. ...
  6. Include functional features. ...
  7. Bring in color and textures. ...
  8. Light it up.
9 Apr 2014

What are some innovative garden designs? ›

Gardening Innovations – 10 cool ideas to make you smile!
  • Expandable step gardens. These sure give equal sunlight to all your plants and at the same time save tons of space. ...
  • Square Foot Gardening. ...
  • One Pot Garden. ...
  • Gutter Gardens. ...
  • Vertical Gardening. ...
  • A Wee Tree Wall of Plants. ...
  • Planter Bags. ...
  • Shoe Organizer Garden.
16 Jan 2021

What is a fantasy garden? ›

Fantasy gardens are beautiful, whimsical landscapes filled with myths, mysteries and magic, drama and dreams, secrets, adventure and romance.

What is a magic garden? ›

The magic garden summary describes a magical garden located in a school playground. There were different flowers in the magical garden like the marigolds, poppies and pansies. The flowers in the garden spoke to the birds and told them they loved the children because they water the plants and dig the ground well.

What is a low maintenance garden? ›

More on low maintenance gardening. Keep planting simple – hardy shrubs and evergreen plants are key. Shrubs are great because they're long-lived and won't need replacing every year. Evergreens such as these sedges and hellebores look good all year and drop fewer leaves than deciduous plants.

How do you make a pretty flower bed? ›

How do I make my flower beds look good?
  1. Use a complementary color palette for a well-balanced look.
  2. Make sure your flower bed ideas have something for all seasons, to maintain visual interest all year.
  3. Keep on top of weeding and deadheading.
  4. Top-dress beds and borders with mulch – bark chippings add a pleasing look.
31 Mar 2022

How do I start a garden with no money? ›

Here are 10 ways to garden without breaking the bank.
  1. Be on the lookout for plant swaps. ...
  2. Shop for plants in the off-season. ...
  3. Start from seeds. ...
  4. Save seeds. ...
  5. Accept cuttings from friends. ...
  6. Build a raised bed from found materials. ...
  7. Make your own soil amendments. ...
  8. Find free mulch.
14 Jan 2022

How do you make a small garden look wild? ›

It's super simple: all you have to do is reduce how often you cut the grass (or stop all together) and watch as grasses grow high. If you want to go that extra mile, we recommend planting flowering grasses (such as fountain grass or pampas) to provide food and shelter for garden wildlife.

What can you put in outdoor planters besides flowers? ›

A mix of foliage plants and flowers provide instant color—just choose the palette to suit your site. Or, create a feast for the senses with potted herbs. Aromatic herbs such as mint, lavender, basil and rosemary infuse the air with their natural scents and enhance your favorite dishes.

What is the best color for a garden fence? ›

We see a fence as a backyard's canvas, so we usually recommend simple colours. Light ones: whites and light greys OR the dark palette: dark browns, charcoals and black. Colorbond colour palette which includes 14 hues, is a good example of beautiful, balanced shades inspired by nature.

How do you make a small garden look bigger with a mirror? ›

Use mirrors to make a small garden look bigger

Adding mirrors to your outdoor space will instantly make it feel bigger, just like it does inside your home too. Try adding a long row or mirrors on the wall or fence at the end of your garden. This will create the illusion that your garden is 'doubled' in length.

Will dark grey fence make garden look small? ›

The answer to this is 'definitely not'. In fact, the opposite is actually true. By painting your garden fence a dark colour, you are allowing your garden foliage to stand out against it and this takes the focus away from the actual boundaries of your garden, thus giving a sense of more space.

Is grey a good colour for garden fence? ›

'Gray is an incredibly versatile color and it can work well with any style of fence and almost any garden decor.

What color fence goes with a white house? ›

Best Fence Color for a White House

While certain homeowners like matching white vinyl fences to white vinyl siding, most people prefer a contrast. Both the striking black of an aluminum fence and the natural brown of wood pair naturally with the clean white look.

How do you make a long narrow flower bed? ›

12 'narrow garden' design tips and ideas - YouTube

How can I make my shallow garden look deeper? ›

Use plants and materials to give a feeling of space or depth

Choice of plant colours can really affect our perception of depth. Recessive colours like mauves and blues appear further away, and therefore make a garden seem deeper and / or larger than it actually is.

How do you separate gardens into rooms UK? ›

How to divide your garden up
  1. Edging. You could consider classic metal lawn edging around a lawn section. ...
  2. Tiers. If you have a sloped garden, you could consider separating it into different flattened 'tiers'. ...
  3. Walls. You could use walls to separate sections so that sections really are like rooms. ...
  4. Fencing. ...
  5. Screens. ...
  6. Trees/hedges.
28 May 2021

How do you zone a square garden? ›

Sectioning; break your square garden into different zones

A dining area either right next to the house (for convenience) or at the far end of the garden (for a more getting-away-from-things feel) could be useful, while a shady spot, kids' play area or small vegetable patch could be useful and easily accomplished.

How can I make my front garden look nice? ›

Be inspired by our tips for designing a front garden, below.
  1. Use complementary colours.
  2. Use white to create a focal point.
  3. Hide bins with bespoke screening.
  4. Use containers to enhance paved spaces.
  5. Use topiary for a formal look.
  6. Use hanging baskets for height and colour.
  7. Use pots of different sizes.
3 May 2022

What should I put on my garden wall? ›

What can I put on my outdoor walls? Aside from transforming outdoor walls with a fresh coat of paint, adding shelves, artwork, trellis or wall-hung planters are all easy ways of brightening up dreary wall space.

How do you make a rectangular garden interesting? ›

Use dark colours for your decking and furniture for a modern look. Use different ground materials to break up the rectangular space so your garden will feel wider.

What is a small garden size? ›

Average Size of Small Garden

Generally, anything that's less than 100 square meters can be said as a “small garden”, and most of us have gardens under this size. 50 to 100 square meters can be considered a good size for household gardens.


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