Ideas for Maximizing Space in a Small Garden

Small garden design with lots of planting and well used space

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With the warmer weather finally here, many people are turning their attention to gardening. But if you have a small garden, it might seem like there’s not much you can do with it.

Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

There are plenty of ways to maximize your space and make the most out of your small garden.

Whether you are looking for a modern or traditional garden, We’ve compiled some ideas for maximizing space in a small garden so you can get started on making this year the best yet!

Use trellises

Use a trellis to grow beans, peas and cucumbers. This will save space in your garden while providing you with the opportunity to enjoy fresh produce year round.

Trellises can be purchased from home improvement stores or they are available on Amazon at an affordable price!

Trellises are a great DIY project and open the door to lots of other ideas to make your garden look great.

Make use of vertical space

Hanging plants and creepers making use of vertical space

With limited ground space the walls, fences and shed can all be used to grow veggies. If you have a fence, plant climbing plants like cucumbers and peas to give them something to grow on.

You could use the shed for more storage space by installing shelves or hooks for pots, baskets and garden tools!

A small garden can provide you with a lot of options when it comes to decorations. Consider climbing plants, hanging pots that will tumble with herbs and fresh vegetables like tomatoes and salad leaves.

Have a green wall

Live wall gardens are a great way to fill up an empty space, and they also look modern.

One easy way to add an unconventional feature to a wall is with an old wooden pallet. Plant pots can be stacked much like layers in a cake, topped by foliage and bushes before the wood is hidden from view..

For a living wall, we recommend  planting succulents like strawberries and   Campanula persicifolia along with edible plants like lettuces.

container plants

Pot plants/ container plants

Have small contained plants which can be placed in different parts of the garden.

Look for small plants which can grow easily, and make sure you take care to water them regularly so they don’t dry out.

Plants that work well are succulents like cacti or clover, as well as herbs such as parsley and thyme which need less sun than some plants.

You can also used raised beds which elevate parts of the garden to make it feel more full than it really is.

Keep the bushes and trees pruned

Like to have some foliage around? If you have a small garden then keeping your trees and bushes in check is a must.

Make sure to check the limits of your plants, and prune them when necessary.

Be cautious as trimming branches can affect their growth for future years. A good rule is to only remove one third of the tree or bush’s leaves at a time so it has enough energy to grow back healthy foliage in a short amount of time.

Keep them pruned regularly to stop them getting to the point where they are too big for the garden.

Why not take it to the next level and go for a more Japanese garden design?

Choose evergreen plants

With limited space for plants its a good idea to pick those which will look good all year round.

Evergreens are a good choice as they have leaves all year round, so you will always get to enjoy them.

You can also use evergreen plants strategically when planning your garden layout or by planting some in groups for more impact.

For instance, plant tall shrubs near the house where people can appreciate their height and around

Multipurpose furniture

In the UK, garden furniture is a must if you want to make the most of the garden but with a small garden we have to be strategic with our choices. One way to do this is by picking multipurpose furniture which can be used for more than one thing, like a seat or small table.

For instance, benches cab be used as casual seating and as seating around a table. A bench with an area to prop feet up can also be a handy place for people who enjoy reading in the garden.

Tables are always useful as they allow you to put things on them and use them for eating too, but tables that function as seats or have storage underneath are more versatile yet again.

A hammock is ideal as it can be taken down and easily stored away when not in use.

If you are designing your small garden on a budget you could consider upcycling or reusing old furniture.

Storage furniture

On the same note as multipurpose furniture you could opt for a few items which include storage and serve a dual function.

A bench with storage underneath the seat could be used as seating too, or you might choose to buy an old chest of drawers that can hold plants on top but also has plenty of drawer space inside for tools and other gardening paraphernalia.

An outdoor sofa would fit in well if it’s not too large and many of them come with storage space underneath too.

You can also buy a small table and use it as seating for two or three people, but ensure that there’s enough storage nearby to keep those extra chairs off the ground when they’re not in use.

Make usable space your priority

When designing your small garden its a good idea to make the space as versatile as possible. This means that it can be used for many different things and can be easily configured to a new arrangement if need be.

To achieve this, go go for surfaces like paving and gravel which could hold plants, furniture or decorative features such as water features and bird baths.

Keep single use space like fixed planting beds to a minimum and only where you are sure this is the best option.

Zoning your small garden

Garden with distinct zones

You can also use the shape of your garden to create zones for different purposes. The best way is to think about what you want from each area.

For example, if you are going to be using this as a play zone or entertaining area then allow some extra room and make it easy access for people who might not be able to walk well.

Have designated areas for planting and for sitting and relaxing.

You can also use different materials to separate these areas, such as lawns for play or gravel paths through the garden for walking.

If you have a small space there are many ways in which you can maximise it without going overboard with your design choices.

The key is to think about what’s most important to you and what you can do without. Its better to do a few things well than a lot of things badly.

Mirrors and reflections

Colourful mirror in garden to enhance the perception of size

Making a space look bigger can have a dramatic effect for a very low cost.

One way to do this is by using large mirrors. This reflects more light and gives the impression of increased space

Another option that can be used in a very small garden (or even on an individual plant pot) is reflective material for example aluminium foil or metal sheeting which will increase reflections from natural sources like sunlight, moonlight and lamplight.

Place reflective surfaces in various locations which catch the eye but are not detracting or directly reflecting faces, this can be distracting.

Colours which enhance space

Colour can also be used to create the impression of a bigger space.

For example, painting an outside wall in light shades will reflect more natural light and make it feel brighter even if there is no external source.

Colours which contrast with their surroundings will stand out more – for instance dark plants against lighter walls or vice versa as well as furniture which creates a contrast.

Different textures also provide visual interest and make an area feel larger – for instance a smooth surface may be used to contrast with rough surfaces in order to create depth or areas can be created where different materials are combined such as brick, wood, paving slabs etc.

Colourful flowers are also great for making an area pop and feel vibrant despite being small


If you’re looking for more ideas on how to maximize space in a small garden, take a look around our website.

You can find some great content including articles and videos with tips on using trellises to gain height, making use of vertical space by placing plants up high or hanging them from the ceiling.

Creating green walls out of living plants that make your small garden feel like it has more outdoor than is actually there.

Choosing evergreen plants so you don’t have to worry about dead parts of your yard during certain times of year, and multipurpose furniture which uses storage as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

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