Landscaping Ideas for Small Gardens

 In Garden Design, Landscaping, Landscaping Services

Great things come in small packages and that definitely applies to outdoor space. Check out my landscaping ideas for small gardens and discover how easy it could be to add value to your property.

An attractive garden has the potential to add value to your property and that applies to small or courtyard gardens just as much as it does to large acreages. There’s more to life than money though. In recent months, I’ve been chatting to people who have really valued being able to spend time in their own outdoor space. It’s helped their mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic and will hopefully continue to do so.

Don’t be put off from landscaping your garden just because you feel it’s tiny. Careful garden design and top class landscaping can totally transform the space. Garden designers have lots of tips to help a small space look larger and feel more inviting.

The rule of three

The secret to designing a small garden lies in the careful use of materials. We garden designers refer to this as the rule of three.

Sticking with a palette of three materials, three colours and where you are using groups of plants or containers – use three of them.

Stick to the rule of three and you can’t go wrong

small garden observing the garden design rule of three for materials

Applying the rule of three to a small garden in North Curry. The main materials used are natural stone slabs, red clay pavers and natural timber.
Take not of the circular and the direction of the slabs….all optical illusions to make the space appear wider.

If you can’t go out – go up

No matter how wide or long your garden might be, it goes right up as high as the sky. Make the most of that height with tall plants, living walls, beautiful fences or screens and wonderful lighting. Pleached trees take up very little space on the ground but they bring a feeling of intimacy to a small garden, soften the view of and from neighbouring properties and attract birds. What’s not to like?

Your garden is 3D – flooring is important, but so are walls. When you are relaxing with a coffee outside, it’s great to let your eye wander upwards instead of staring at the ground. Try not to keep everything on one level. Using raised beds, steps, platforms and built in seating all helps to create interest on several different levels.

small garden design with artifical green walls

Sadly not my work. This tiny courtyard garden was designed and built by Decking Design from Cumbria. It’s actually a basement light well – so very small indeed.
The cedar slats and artificial green walls  make terrace feel comfortable without using up valuable floorspace.
Image courtesy of Arbour Landscape Solutions


Create a journey around your garden

You may not have enough space to go for a long wander, but you can still take your feet and your eyes on a journey around your garden. Use features that encourage you to wander into all four corners.

Sometimes large features give the impression of more space. A beautiful piece of art, the sound of trickling water a bright splash of colour are all little tricks used by garden designers to create interest. If you love tech, you could even introduce an outdoor movie screen and some speakers.

brightly coloured summer planting plan

This is a small section of a larger garden. We’ve used different heights of planter, some steps and layered planting to keep the space interesting all day every day.
Lighting extends the garden’s interest into the evening and is especially valuable during the winter months.

Manage the maintenance

Choose the materials for your small garden wisely. Personally I would always opt for some kind of hard landscaping. Paving, setts, decking, gravel or artificial grass are all practical and manageable. Much as I love natural lawns, looking after a tiny lawn that receives lots of foot traffic can be quite a challenge. And if your tiny lawn gets muddy it will make the whole garden look unkempt.

If you love plants you’ll be amazed at how many can be crammed into a small space. Use the layering technique. So go for tall plants with slender stems and then underplant them with medium sized shrubs and perennials and then some low growing beauties. Don’t forget to plant some spring flowering bulbs too and bring in some scented stunners and you’ll be happy all year round. Positioning plants so that they are close together means that there’ll be no room for weeds to establish. You will have to keep on top of watering and feeding – but these days, that can be automated and operated from an app on your phone.

Spark your imagination

A great place to research landscaping ideas for small gardens is Pinterest – I could spend all day looking at the ways that people from all around the world have designed their outdoor space.

Need help deciding which ideas will best suit your property and your lifestyle? Talk to Dan at SilverBirch Gardens. It doesn’t matter if your garden is too dry, too wet, sloping or shaded – Dan can offer a wealth of unique and individual solutions.

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