Making the Most of a Small Garden

If you have the luxury of starting with a blank canvas, you’ll want to start laying out some sketches of your garden; planning out general shapes and areas, allocating space to specific needs. If you’re planning on changing the layout of your current garden then that’ll require some additional planning.

When designing your small garden, don’t get caught up on the smaller details at the beginning, don’t worry about exact measurements. Sketch out rough areas, keeping everything in proportion including the positions of the house and any other fixed structures you have to work around like trees or walls. Then you’ll want to add in any large features you plan to add, like patios, decking or trees.

Planning the Layout

small-gardenIf you’ve got enough room for seating, it’s probably best to opt for foldable garden furniture so you can store them away when they’re not needed. Otherwise one large garden bench is probably the best bet to maximize the seating in the space you have. You’ll want to position this based on which areas get the most sun or shade, or perhaps if there’s any areas that are overlooked by neighbours, you might want to take that into account too.

Once you’ve got general areas sorted and a rough sketch of where everything will fit, it’s time to get out the measuring tape to draw a more accurate and scaled plan. This way you’ll leave no space to waste, getting the most out of your garden. This’ll help you work out what materials you need to buy and in what quantities.


An essential part of your garden; the surface can make or break it. Certain harder materials like bricked paving can really open up a garden and make it feel much bigger than it actually is. You can use different types of paving to really draw the eye into the garden which is essential when dealing with limited space.

A lesser used tip is to actually use a similar material inside and outside. This could be done by using the same hardwood on your decking as the inside of your conservatory, effectively creating the illusion that your garden is much bigger than it actually is.


Keeping your small garden clear of clutter can help with using your space efficiently. A storage chest is a great idea to use for storing parasols or other fold up furniture. It can then be used as seating by placing cushions on top of it, or use it as a surface for potted plants.

Additional Touches

There’s a common trick used indoors whilst decorating that involves hanging a large mirror on a wall to give the impression the room is a lot bigger than it actually is. It also helps to bounce light into darker corners. There’s nothing to say it wouldn’t work outdoors too, to give the illusion of more space.

If your small garden lacks sunlight, then you can balance this by being sure to paint your exterior walls in warm, bright colours. You can compliment all of this with the right choice of plants that thrive in the shade, plants like Lily of the Valley, Pansy and Rhododendron.