Small Garden Ideas And Tips | How To Design Gardens In Limited Spaces

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Small garden ideas and design concepts are not hard to come by online. With these design ideas, tips, and concepts, you can design your garden the way you want to.

RELATED: 3 Smart Small Space Gardening Ideas And Tips For The City Dwellers

In this article:

  1. Design Your Own Small Garden
  2. Survey Your Space
  3. Do Research on Small Garden Ideas
  4. Small Garden Layout And Planning
    1. Small Garden Ideas And Plant Tips
    2. Plant Layout For A Small Garden
  5. Small Garden Ideas and Design Principles

Make a Big Statement With These Small Garden Ideas

Design Your Own Small Garden

Designing a small garden has some challenges but it can be really fun and practical to achieve. By doing it yourself you save money for design experts who sometimes can’t visualize how you would want your own garden to be.

I admit I hired a professional garden decorator the first time my family moved into our new home. Well, it was nice, but after a year I wanted to improve on it and getting professional advice again would be impractical for me.

I’d rather spend the money on family holidays and vacation.

I went on the internet for ideas to design a garden in my small backyard patio. Luckily, there are a lot of garden ideas online for just about any garden and gardener’s personality.

Find out how you could design a small garden to suit both your needs and (reasonable) wants. Make a big impression with your garden with these helpful design tips and small garden ideas.

Survey Your Space

The first thing to do is to study your existing space and find out what you want to be done. Imagine how you would want your garden to look like.

Is it a sanctuary where you and your family can relax? Is it a work of art for your friends and family to appreciate, or both?

Do you want to keep it simple or do you want an outrageous garden despite the size? Knowing the limits and possibilities of your space will help in maximizing it.

Do Research on Small Garden Ideas

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Research is important before undertaking a project to avoid unnecessary spending and effort. There are great small garden ideas online and in this article; it’s a waste to miss them.

Do you want to keep a patch of green somehow despite the limited space? Or be extra ambitious and create a cottage-like garden in your urban home?

Looking for ideas online will help you determine what you want for your garden.

Small Garden Layout and Planning

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It’s ideal to have your plans and ideas in writing or in a drawing to help you picture how your garden would look. You don’t need to be an artist to lay your plans out for your garden.

Cutting out pictures and pasting them on your layout plan can be more fun, or using computer software that lets you create a visual sketch.

Small Garden Ideas and Plant Tips

Growing plants in a small garden will have its limits. So it’s important to know what to plant in your garden and how to plant them.

Plant Layout for a Small Garden

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Whatever your plant choices are, it would be best to create a layout plan for your plants too. With the plant ideas I have here for you, you will be able to determine where to place the plants.

1. Edible Landscaping

Vegetables don’t always have to be in the background. They’re worth planting in your small front yard garden too.

With careful planning and layout, you can grow edible ornamental plants in your front yard and still have curb appeal.

2. Big and Bold Plants

While large plants are usually not advised in small gardens, some people prefer them for shade. You can grow climbing plants over arbors for this purpose.

Flowering vines over archways have that certain touch of enchantment that beautifies the area.

3. Prim and Proper Plants

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More modern garden designs deal with low maintenance plants and gardens. Cactus and succulents are perfect for rock gardens, which are ideal for small spaces.

4. Elegant and Slim Plants

Tall and petite plants in equally tall and slim containers along the wall create emphasis on the vertical space of a garden instead of on the limited area. Take it from tall bamboos planted along walls creating the same effect.

Small Garden Ideas and Design Principles

These are great design tips and gardening hacks courtesy of Lowes which are very helpful. Taking notes on these ideas will help you maximize and beautify your small space garden.

1. Form a Focal Point

Creating a focal point in a small garden boosts its appearance. A focal point may be a water feature, a statue, or artistic planters.

Make sure your focal point does not suffocate your small space. It must be proportionate to your space.

2. Make Use of Bold Colors

With a limited garden space, going with the usual light colors will surely make your garden as dull as it is small.

If you can’t have eye-popping colors in your plants, then paint your walls bright red or orange. In fact, the latest garden design trends promote bright and bold colors in a garden.

3. Create Space in Containers

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Containers are your go-to guys when maximizing space for a small garden. There is also something about grouping planters in threes that help emphasize the plants.

RELATED: 11 Creative Vertical Gardening Ideas for a Unique Backyard

4. Make Use of Bare Walls

Walls are a great medium or space for gardening. Depending on the material, this area can host plants and spruce up its bareness.

If it’s concrete or rocks, you can directly plant moss, succulents, and lichens. For wooden walls, you can mount planters on the surface.

5. Level Up

Creating different levels in your small space garden creates sections that help create an illusion of space. It also makes your garden more interesting, when the eyes can rest on different levels.

6. Plant Vertically

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As I’ve previously expressed, if you cannot go around then go up. There’s much space going up and there are a lot of great plants that grow best vertically.

You can also grow herbs by hanging them on the side of your porch or garage.

7. Thin Down

If you want a tree in your small garden then make sure to trim them down so they don’t block some much-needed spaces. You can also grow plants that are thin, like grasses and bamboos.

8. Use Concealed Spaces

Every nook and cranny of a small yard or anywhere around your home shouldn’t be ignored. Take advantage of those spaces and put this design principle into action.

9. Create Space in Garden Lighting

Garden lights kill the shadow which blocks the spaces in small gardens. By putting up garden lights, you create the illusion of space by creating continuity.

10. Grow in Trellises

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One way you can also maximize your space and create a garden in limited space is by growing climbing plants in trellises. This is also parallel to the principle or growing plants vertically for small spaces.

11. Maximize Space

Use garden furniture which doubles up as containers or as extra storage space. Find uses for every space around your small garden without overstuffing it.

It’s a great idea to mix storage and style by putting up a bench where you can also store gardening tools and other garden materials. Put several hanging plants in the area and you have a wonderful mini garden extension of your home.

12. Use Raised Beds

You can grow vegetables even in small gardens with raised beds. But raised beds aren’t only for vegetables. You can also maximize space in your garden by growing an edible landscape in raised beds.

13. Use Light Garden Furniture

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It’s simply logical that big and bulky structures in a small garden won’t do. Petite wrought iron garden furniture or garden benches would be ideal.

14. Create Opposing Structures

A pathway or a platform breaks the monotony in a patch of green in a small garden. A solid structure against a space of soft plants and grass gives the eye of the observer something to rest on.

15. Create an Illusion of Space

Using wavy lines and curved structures create an effect of continuity in contrast to the finality of straight lines. You can also find ways to reflect your space to create an illusion of space, like a water feature or glass structures.

16. Make Use of Fence Space

Does your fence look boring and is not getting any attention? Capitalize on that fence space by transforming it into a container garden.

Spend a couple of days giving your fence some makeover and you’ll be surprised how alluring and satisfying it will turn out!

17. Old Mailbox to Outdoor Planter

There must be an unused old mailbox somewhere in your property. This idea barely takes up outdoor space but still makes a beautiful addition to your small garden.

Convert that vintage mailbox into a planter and flaunt it where the color perfectly complements the wall.

18. Decorate Your Small Patio

A patio looks really dull and empty with only chairs and a center table. Make it a bit more comfy and inviting by essentially positioning planters at the corners and on the walls.

Some string lights will also give your patio the elegance it deserves where you can enjoy family gatherings and dinners.

19. Small Water Fountain

Fountains are a fine addition to any landscape. There is a myriad of options you can choose from to add an element of attraction to your garden.

Just make sure to utilize the vertical space for a small garden type. Water and plants symbolize life creating a wonderful place to spend other people’s company.

20. Planting on a Tree Stump

Be delighted if you find a tree stump in your yard. Tree stumps are among the most beautiful natural planters to cultivate plants.

Its vertical structure is great for small gardens. Turn it into the center of attraction by filling it with flowers of different colors.

21. Vertical Pallet Flower Stand

Do you have a little corner space to place a wooden pallet? Apply paint on the pallet and place it where you want to show some vibrancy in the area.

Display colorful flowers then change them out to match the season. The vertical position of the pallet is perfect for your small garden space.

22. Flowers on Windows

Contemplating on using your windows for planting purposes? Use your windows to plant flowers and make a herb garden.

This approach may even be more amazing than blooms with planters on the ground. Your home exterior will look stunning as the plant blossoms and provides instant curb appeal.

23. Ladder Garden

A wooden ladder can be converted into a beautiful flower stand. All you need is a can of paint and a few boards to get it done.

Show off those pretty blooms in different pots and planters in this space-saving small garden alternative. This vertical planter will free up floor space you can use for other purposes.

If you’ve got limited space around then go up! Learn how to make a DIY vertical garden for your small space garden in this video from The Home Depot:

Small garden ideas are not exclusively for those living in the city or those with small spaces to spare for a garden. You may have a wide area to plant a forest full of plants but your home has some neglected corners and crannies.

It’s a waste to ignore those areas when you have these ideas to boost those spaces. It doesn’t do to just plant randomly in those areas. With these small garden ideas, you can spruce up those small spaces smartly and beautifully.

Were these small garden ideas helpful to your own project? How’s your own small garden design plans going so far? Let me know what your thoughts are by leaving a comment in the box below. 


Looking for more garden design ideas? A lot of these herb garden ideas could work well for your small space garden.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 9, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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