10 great garden design ideas for small spaces

With the warmer weather, thoughts turn to sprucing up our gardens. If you want to transform your small garden into a calming oasis or a vibrant outdoor area for entertaining, there are lots of creative ways to enhance your outdoor space.

Whether you’re an urban dweller or have limited outdoor scope, we’ll explore 10 fantastic ideas for revamping your garden design, providing inspiration for every taste and style.

Garden design plan

The first step is to consider the overall design of your garden. Dividing the garden into areas or rooms by incorporating flower beds, low walls or raised beds can make it look larger and add interest. Eliminating a lawn and using gravel or paving instead, allows more generous areas of creative planting, making for a sense of spaciousness. Another useful hard landscaping approach is to place large rectangular paving slabs horizontally to make a garden appear wider.

Vertical gardening

Help make the most of limited space by going vertical. Install wall-mounted planters, or shelves to create a green wall bursting with foliage. You can grow flowers or even vegetables vertically, adding visual interest and maximizing your growing area without encroaching on precious floor space. It’s also a low maintenance garden option. A tiered herb garden close to the kitchen will allow easy access to fresh herbs for your cooking as well as adding fragrance to your outdoor living experience.

Multi-functional furniture

Choose outdoor furniture that serves multiple purposes to make the most of space. Look for benches with built-in storage, folding tables or modular seating arrangements that can easily be reconfigured to suit different activities: this will allow you to enjoy al fresco dining, or host gatherings without cluttering your garden.

Container gardening

This is a great way to add colour and contrasting textures to a small garden design. Pots, planters and hanging baskets create a portable garden that can be rearranged throughout the seasons. Different shapes and sizes can add visual interest and incorporate a variety of plants, from flowers and shrubs to succulents and ornamental grasses. Repetition is effective: a group of three identical containers planted with the same flowers creates a sense of harmony.

Compact trees and shrubs

By opting for dwarf or compact varieties of trees and shrubs you can introduce height and structure to your garden without overwhelming the space. Plants suited to small gardens include patio fruit trees, columnar evergreens or busy shrubs that won’t overgrow their designated area. Using climbing plants to hide garden boundaries can create an illusion of space in a garden design. Tall bulbs such as lilies, and agapanthus add height while not taking up a lot of space, and sweet peas can be grown up a trellis to add height.

Intimate seating areas

It’s important to create a place to relax and unwind amidst your garden oasis, making it a welcoming year-round retreat. Make the most of a secluded corner by adding a bench and pergola for some peace and quiet, or group chairs around a fire pit for social occasions. Add cushions, throws and outdoor lighting to make it comfortable and add ambience.  


If you envisage making the most of your garden in the long summer evenings, get creative with the lighting. Solar-powered lights that don’t need to be connected to the mains can transform a garden into an atmospheric night time space, while on-trend glowing globes add a sense of fun.

Artistic accents

Decorative features can infuse your garden with personality: think about sculptures and mosaics and choose pieces that reflect your style and complement the garden’s aesthetic. Place artwork strategically to create focal points in the landscape design.

Seasonal plantings

Clever garden design will use seasonal planting that changes throughout the year and always look fresh by using a mix of flowers, foliage, and ornamental grasses to create texture and colour. Cool colours such as blues and purples recede into a garden, making it feel bigger, whereas hot colours like orange and red appear closer: using a limited colour palette will be more effective than lots of colour. Shade-loving plants such as hostas and ferns can brighten a dark corner, while scented plants like lavender work well next to a path or bench.

 Water features

Water soothes the senses and attracts wildlife. A bubbling fountain will bring sound and movement to a garden design, while a nature-friendly pond can be planted with water-loving plant varieties like water lilies or ferns and allow you to introduce fish and welcome insects and amphibians. While creating a water feature may mean some hard landscaping work, they offer an opportunity to introduce geometric shapes and work as well in an urban space as a country garden.

Final thoughts

Updating your garden design doesn’t require a vast expanse of space or technical expertise. With a little creativity and planning, you can transform your small garden into a beautiful and functional outdoor retreat. Whether you’re a novice gardener or a seasoned enthusiast, these 10 garden ideas offer endless possibilities for enhancing your outdoor living experience. So, now’s the time to set your imagination free and release your inner garden designer!

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