cosy corner of a small garden with painted wall and outdoor furniture

10 ways to make the most of your small garden

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

When you’re on a budget, small garden ideas might seem hard to come by. But with some clever thinking and creative use of space, your small garden can become a haven for relaxing and entertaining.

The trick to making a small area seem larger than it is, is learning how to create the illusion of space and using the space you have in clever ways. We’ve researched some small garden ideas that will help you make the most of your outside space, whether you’re looking to spend a little or a lot. 

1. Stick with three colours 

Introducing colour into your garden helps draw the eye to certain areas, but adding too much can cause confusion, making the space feel cluttered and small. Just as you would theme the inside of your home, you can create a colour theme in your garden too. 

Sticking with a few colours helps to give a feeling of unity and space. Pale colours such as pinks, blues, and yellows are unobtrusive, so are good colours for plants at the edges of small gardens.  

2. Introduce different levels 

Adding a step up onto decking, or a step down into a seating area adds interest and gives the garden different perspectives. For a cheaper alternative, or if you only have a paved area, simply use lots of different height pots to create eye-catching planting displays. 

3. Paint the boundaries 

Painting the walls or fences a light colour will help light bounce around and automatically make the garden feel bigger. Don’t be afraid to paint brick walls, the transformation can be amazing. This is one of the easiest ways to make a big impact in your small garden. 

4. Make the use of vertical space 

Plants don’t have to grow on the ground. If ground space is at a premium, hang plants on a wall instead. You can use a trellis or hang hooks to hold the containers, or you can opt to fix planters underneath the windows.  

Creating a vertical herb garden is a great way to make the most of small gardens. You can grow all sorts of herbs this way - basil, coriander, thyme, and more, making your garden look and smell great. 

5. Use mirrors to give the illusion of space 

Still using the walls, hanging a mirror or two in the garden will reflect the area and make the garden seem bigger. Garden mirrors are available to buy for around £40 or you can make your own budget mirror using self adhesive mirror tiles. Leave them frameless or hang a painted trellis in front of them for a quick and easy frame. 

6. Divide your small garden into sections 

Small gardens can end up being a free for all, feeling messy and uncoordinated. So, divide the garden into defined sections and benefit from a much more spacious feel. You could have a shed at the end of the garden for storage (and double it up as a bar in the summer!), a patch of lawn for the kids to play on, and a decked seating area for the adults. 

7. Use leggy or hanging furniture 

Furniture on tall legs helps to create the feeling of space due to the light flowing underneath it. You can take this a step further and buy a hanging chair, or a hammock that can be taken down when not in use. Creating shade in your garden is important, but umbrella bases take up a lot of space. Sails that you can hang between walls are a good alternative for small gardens. 

8. Extend indoors out 

Make a small garden feel like an extension to the house with the use of soft furnishings. Outdoor rugs and cushions aren’t expensive to buy and will give a cosy feel, providing the ideal place to relax on warm evenings. Adding solar or battery powered lights will create a charming atmosphere whilst allowing you to use the area for longer. 

9. Buy space saving furniture 

There’s lots of space-saving furniture that’s been designed for small spaces. Find a table that stores the chairs underneath it when not in use like this table and chairs that can seat eight people. But if you’re really struggling for space, then a small fold down table will hold your drinks and can be put away afterwards. 

10. Create seating on walls 

If you’re making different levels or sections (such as a raised flower bed) in your garden, build simple dividing walls with a flat top. This way they’ll double up as handy seating areas as well as boundaries. Perfect for garden parties and unexpected guests. 

If you think you’ve outgrown your small garden and want to move, read our tips for second time buyers. 

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Sarah Beresford

By Sarah Beresford

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cosy corner of a small garden with painted wall and outdoor furniture cosy corner of a small garden with painted wall and outdoor furniture