52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (2023)

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These small garden ideas will help you rethink your tiny plot and get so much more out of it. Even small urban courtyards and balconies have the potential to become luscious and productive gardens –you just need to be a bit creative about how you use the space and what you grow.

From planting and landscaping tips, to innovative layouts that will suit a small garden design perfectly, we've rounded up clever garden ideas to help you perfect your outdoor space with even the smallest square footage.

1. Create a coherent garden design

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (1)

(Image credit: J Montgomery Designs)

The first rule for any small garden is that even if it's tiny it should have a coherent design. Gardens that are unkempt or haphazard look even smaller than they are. Start with a simple geometric layout for your garden beds, with a neat fence around the perimeter, and you'll see the difference immediately. This neat small garden was created by J Montgomery Designs (opens in new tab).

2. Tiny space? Grow things in raised beds on wheels

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(Image credit: Fiona Walker-Arnott)

Too little room for a permanent raised bed in your garden? You can make yours mobile –by fitting wheels at the bottom. This is a really good solution for plots that are so small that you'd be able to access a fixed raised bed only on one side –which is not good for your back and is just a bit awkward. Caster wheels can be bought on Amazon (opens in new tab) and fitted to a container of your choice on a DIY basis.

3. Make a raised bed a centerpiece in a small yard

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(Image credit: Nature's Realm)

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Yes, you can still have a vegetable garden in a small backyard, but you'll have to be clever about how you design it. This clever small garden design by Houston-based Nature's Realm (opens in new tab) turns a painted raised bed into the garden centerpiece, giving the space a distinctive look. Learning how to make raised beds is very easy and gives you complete control over growing vegetables, herbs, and even flowers. We also really like the paved path that goes around the bed, which makes the whole design look smarter.

4. Clad your raised beds to add more interest

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(Image credit: Derek Harris / Alamy Stock Photo)

Not everyone likes the look of traditional wooden raised beds. If you want something a bit different, you can clad yours. There are many different materials and looks to choose from, including metal, stone, and wicker for an easy-going, rustic look.

5. Grow veg in temporary containers

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(Image credit: Ikea)

Growing veg isn't limited to greenhouses, allotments and extensive gardens – almost everyone can have a go at creating a kitchen garden. Whether you have space on your window sill to grow a few herbs, or a spot on your balcony for a tomato plant or two, there are always options for growing (a bit) of your own.

And you don't have to invest in expensive planters either. Here the Samla Box from IKEA (opens in new tab), has been used, and it starts at $1.49 But, you could just as easily upcycle something you already have at home.

6. Create an edible border

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(Image credit: Mabo / Alamy Stock Photo)

A garden doesn't have to use all of your outdoor space. If you want more of a backyard setup where you can relax, you can still grow veg as well –just allocate a sunny border for your edibles. If your plot doesn't have any soil, build a corner raised bed to make one.

7. Include a herb stop

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(Image credit: Thommy Bengtsson x Ikea)

Cute, fragrant and tasty, squeeze in a herb garden station on a covered patio or balcony space and you'll be so distracted by the loveliness of it that you'll forget how mini it is.

8. Keep garden paths neat and defined

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(Image credit: GKSFlorapics / Alamy Stock Photo)

A small garden should still have all of the things are large garden has –that includes garden paths, fencing, and even outbuildings. Never sacrifice paths in any garden, even if it's tiny –you need to be able to move around freely, so choose garden path ideas that are functional as well as pretty.

9. Keep veg within reach of the kitchen door

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (9)

(Image credit: Leigh Clapp)

Growing fruit, veg and herbs near the kitchen door means that when tomatoes, zucchini and the like are ripe and ready for eating, you can access them easily, without sacrificing any of the loveliness from your garden design.

10. Enhance a small garden design with formal elements

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (10)

(Image credit: Elizabeth Whiting & Associates / Alamy Stock Photo)

There's great news for those who want to grow their own but don't necessarily like a rustic garden style: you can have a more formal-looking garden and still grow plenty of veg. Choose more upmarket paving and dot your garden with a few sculptural plants like cypress or box hedge, and you'll have a space that is both smart-looking and functional.

11. Fill your entire small garden with raised beds

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(Image credit: Mark Pinkerton/ Casa Smith Designs)

If you're serious about growing your own food, you may choose to dedicate your entire garden to doing just that. Raised beds provide by far the easiest method for doing this in a smaller space, and you can still make the garden look nice by carefully planning the layout of your beds.

We really like this striking garden design by Casa Smith Designs (opens in new tab), with the central star-shaped bed adding design interest as well as making the garden easier to walk around.

12. Contain invasive crops

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(Image credit: M.Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo)

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If you've ever tried to learn how to grow mint, you'll know that it will take over your whole garden if you don't contain it. Avoid your small garden becoming a monoculture – know your invasive crops and plant them in pots.

13. Maximize vertical space with a DIY shelving unit

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (13)

(Image credit: kcline / Getty)

Narrow garden? Look to vertical garden ideas. You can use old pallets or wood planks to build a shelving unit that will house several tiers of pot-grown herbs and veg. Add a few hooks at the top and hang some hanging baskets for more variety.Making use of vertical space is one of the best options if you're figuring out how to make a small garden look bigger.

You can also buy a plant stand from Amazon (opens in new tab) and use that if you don't feel like DIYing this idea.

14. Create a container display with herbs

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(Image credit: Lagoon)

'In a small space, a few large features are better than many small ones. Two or three big pots will have much more impact and look far more stylish than a dozen ill-assorted smaller ones,' says gardening expert and TV personality Alan Titchmarsh. Potting your herbs in a few large, beautiful pots will always look nicer than using lots of tiny ones.

15. Note that greenhouses are not just for large gardens

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(Image credit: L Feddes / Getty)

Think that greenhouses are for large gardens only? Think again. There are plenty of DIY greenhouse ideas that are perfect for small spaces, some suitable for even the tiniest of spaces. And even the smallest greenhouse will make a huge difference to what you can grow if you live in an area with cold winters.

16. Use old guttering to create a tiered herb garden

(Image credit: martinwimmer / Getty)

Not all crops need lots of soil in order to survive and thrive. Many herbs and even lettuces will grow perfectly well in narrow and shallow troughs. We really like this DIY idea where old guttering has been repurposed as an ultra-slim vertical garden. You can also use old plastic bottles or even tree bark.

17. Be clever with your choice of containers

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(Image credit: jeangill / Getty)

If, on the other hand, you are set on crops that need a lot of root space – potatoes, looking at you – you'll need to be flexible with what you use, even if it's not the best-looking container. Grow bags are invaluable in smaller spaces –they give your root veggies the space they need to grow while taking up minimal floor space – and they look great weaved in with other container garden ideas.

18. Create a living display with climbing vegetables

52 small garden ideas – tiny, fabulous designs to copy in your outdoor space (18)

(Image credit: taikrixel / Getty)

Breaking news: many vegetables are also beautiful plants that you can use to create a living wall. Tomatoes and cucumbers, but also zucchini, beans, and peas all make for lovely climbers that look beautiful grown on a trellis or frame.

19. Grow your veg next to your outdoor kitchen

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(Image credit: A Garden / Alamy Stock Photo)

Many outdoor kitchen ideas are suitable for small spaces – and there's no reason why you can't have a veggie or herb patch right next to yours. Just imagine the joy of preparing a fresh salad you've grown outside. Just avoid placing your grill too close to your plants, especially if yours runs on gas.

20. Don't forget the flowers

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(Image credit: fotolinchen / Getty)

Finally, a garden can –and should – include flowers and all manner of colorful garden plants – they're not just for decorative backyard spaces. Get some wildflower seeds for a wildflower patch or just dot some of your favorite flowers in between the veggie beds. They'll add color and attractive pollinators.

How do you layout a small garden?

The best way to layout your small garden mostly depends on how small your outdoor space is, and what you're growing in it. Planting vertically is your friend, even if it's a vegetable garden. And, although it's a small area you're working with, you shouldn't be afraid of filling it with a variety of decorative touches and different areas as a busy space looks and feels more spacious than an empty one. Consider water features and more to add interest for the whole family but also for wildlife to keep your space biodiverse.

Then you need to be clever with how you fit it out, furniture-wise. If a convivial atmosphere is important for you, choose furniture that can work flexibly – much like your space will. David Hough from home improvement specialists, SMART Balustrades (opens in new tab) recommends that 'Where possible, choose non-fixed outdoor seating – so it can be moved at leisure to create different spaces, and packed away when not in use for those with smaller outdoor spaces such as balconies.'

How do you brighten up a small garden?

Brilliant planting will without a doubt add color and life to your small garden space. Bright plants will not only add vibrancy to your garden, but will also encourage wildlife in, making for a more dynamic and wholesome area to enjoy too.

In a study mentioned by UK-Rowse Honey (opens in new tab) apparently, gardens in urban areas take the top spot in producing the most nectar per unit area for bees... Proving that you can keep bees happy even in a tiny garden.

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'Did you know that simply planting a few bee-friendly flowers in a window ledge container or hanging basket can help keep our buzzing buddies happy and healthy?' says Rowse Gardening Experts. 'Any outdoor space, no matter the size, can be transformed into a foraging wonderland for pollinating insects. Every space has potential, and a mini makeover will help to brighten up the place while giving bees the food they really need!' Lavender, Catmint, Valley Valentines, Sunflowers, Chives, Cosmos and Wildflowers are some of the favorite flowers as recommended by Rowse to transform your small space, using a window box placement or small ground container. 'Wonderful wildflowers don’t just grow in fields and grass verges – they’re perfectly happy sitting in a pot, too! Planting wildflower seeds will bring natural wonder to your outdoor space, no matter how big, and they really are the blooms that bees love best. A bee-autiful display of blossoms will brighten up your day, and help feed our buzzing friends at the same time – it really is a win-win.'

Tiny but lovely.

FAQs

How can I make my garden look nice without money? ›

  1. Repurpose old wooden crates to make stylish shelves. ...
  2. Use old jars as mini planters. ...
  3. Try DIY terracotta candle holders. ...
  4. Create a cool, industrial-style aesthetic with oversized planters. ...
  5. Make an upcycled hanging planter. ...
  6. Guide the way with a cute garden sign. ...
  7. Glow up your shed. ...
  8. Create a gorgeous garden display wall.
1 Apr 2022

How do you make a minimalist garden? ›

That means adding fencing, walls, or hedges to achieve the look that you are going for. Use understated design elements: Minimalist gardens feature understated design elements such as a neutral palette, a mix of textures, and the play of light and shadows. All these design elements create a calming ambiance.

How do you style a small garden? ›

13 DESIGN TIPS FOR SMALL SPACES
  1. Look for compact plants. ...
  2. Think outside the box. ...
  3. Build a strong foliage framework. ...
  4. Make every square inch count. ...
  5. Create privacy. ...
  6. Do you really need a lawn? ...
  7. Choose outdoor furniture with care. ...
  8. Add a water feature.

How do you do a limited space garden? ›

A few ways to rotate in a small space include building raised beds to delineate spaces, growing in pots, and coordinating with your neighbors. For example, one neighbor could grow tomatoes this year and another could grow cucumbers.

How do I make a budget small garden? ›

Very Small Garden Ideas On a Budget
  1. Wooden planter with lattice trellis.
  2. Corner pergola with simple table.
  3. Grass island.
  4. Plants and bench.
  5. Old garden steps.
  6. Mirror in garden.
  7. Middlesized garden with deck.
  8. Vertical garden.
25 Aug 2021

What is the most low maintenance garden? ›

Trees and shrubs tend to be the lower maintenance choices in most gardens. Pick ones suited to your soil and climate, as they're more likely to thrive without any special care. Common low-maintenance garden shrubs include euonymus, berberis, magnolia and hardy herbs such as lavender.

What is minimalist landscape design? ›

Minimalist landscape design is based upon the aesthetic principle of “less is more”. Currently, it is most commonly associated with contemporary landscape design due to the modernist reduction of vegetation and the emphasis of inorganic elements over organics.

How do you decorate a flower bed without flowers? ›

How to Go Plant-Free in Your Landscape Design
  1. Choose your hardscape carefully. ...
  2. Choose non-living ground covers for texture, color and visual appeal. ...
  3. Use landscaping fabric. ...
  4. Bring in a water feature. ...
  5. Avoid clutter. ...
  6. Include functional features. ...
  7. Bring in color and textures. ...
  8. Light it up.
9 Apr 2014

How do you use space in a small garden? ›

Maximize Your Space: Stunning Designs for Small Gardens - YouTube

What vegetables can you grow in a small space? ›

PureWow
  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are the John Mayer of the vegetable world: They're universally well-liked and pretty laid back. ...
  • Herbs. ...
  • Radishes. ...
  • Lemons. ...
  • Pole Beans. ...
  • Lettuce. ...
  • Shallots. ...
  • Cucumbers.
1 May 2020

What do you put in the bottom of a fairy garden? ›

Ensure proper drainage by adding a layer of pea gravel to the bottom of your container. It's also a good idea to include a layer of charcoal to keep the garden fresh. Fill the container with potting soil and add bark, pebbles, or moss on top to create paths for the fairies.

What kind of trees do fairies live in? ›

Hawthorn trees are also known as “fairy trees”. It is believed that fairies (or the sidhe) live underground and in certain trees, namely the hawthorn.

What flowers are in the secret garden? ›

Search for Plants from The Secret Garden
  • Lily. ...
  • Herbs and Vegetables. ...
  • Robin. ...
  • Delphinium, Columbine, and Campanula. ...
  • Squirrel. ...
  • Ferns and Foxgloves. ...
  • Late Roses and Autumn Trees.
13 Aug 2017

What can you put in outdoor planters besides flowers? ›

A mix of foliage plants and flowers provide instant color—just choose the palette to suit your site. Or, create a feast for the senses with potted herbs. Aromatic herbs such as mint, lavender, basil and rosemary infuse the air with their natural scents and enhance your favorite dishes.

What is a low maintenance garden? ›

More on low maintenance gardening. Keep planting simple – hardy shrubs and evergreen plants are key. Shrubs are great because they're long-lived and won't need replacing every year. Evergreens such as these sedges and hellebores look good all year and drop fewer leaves than deciduous plants.

What can I do with a small square garden? ›

Planting climbing plants up trellises on a wall or fence will create a more natural and organic feel, and make the garden feel less confined, without eating up as much space as a border. You could even hang flower baskets or planters on a wall or fence, extending the planting space if your garden is tiny.

What is landscaping without plants called? ›

Xeriscaped Lawn. This home in Las Vegas, Nevada, has a xeriscaped front yard. Xeriscaping is the practice of landscaping with minimal use of water. Homes and businesses in desert climates, such as Las Vegas, use rocks and native vegetation such as cacti in xeriscaping projects.

How can I make my front garden look nice? ›

Be inspired by our tips for designing a front garden, below.
  1. Use complementary colours.
  2. Use white to create a focal point.
  3. Hide bins with bespoke screening.
  4. Use containers to enhance paved spaces.
  5. Use topiary for a formal look.
  6. Use hanging baskets for height and colour.
  7. Use pots of different sizes.
3 May 2022

What is modern landscape design? ›

Modern landscape design is defined by clean edges and an uncluttered look. This landscape design style can be a great fit for a property with a contemporary or modern home as well as a refreshing juxtaposition to a more traditional architectural style.

How do I dress my garden? ›

How to decorate a garden
  1. Place some pots and planters. Give your plants somewhere beautiful to grow. ...
  2. Brighten your beds and paths. ...
  3. Light up your patio. ...
  4. Add floral fakery. ...
  5. Brush up your borders. ...
  6. Create a cosy corner. ...
  7. Attract some wildlife. ...
  8. Bring the inside out.

How do you make a square garden look interesting? ›

Create curves

Let's face it – a square garden with a square lawn isn't particularly exciting. If you want to jazz things up, try changing your lawn shape – circular, oval or curved irregular shapes will all distract the eye from the box shape, and make your garden appear more creative.

How do you make a plastic bottle garden? ›

Opt for a Half-Bottle Planter

Another creative bottle planter idea is to use only half a plastic bottle. Simply cut an empty soda bottle in half and use either half to grow a gorgeous green plant. You can suspend these planters in a row using a rope to give your garden a magical makeover.

What should I plant in my garden for beginners? ›

Beets, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, peas, radishes, cherry tomatoes and green beans are some of the easiest vegetables for beginners to grow. Summer and winter squash are also good choices for first-time gardeners.

How do you make a flower bed for beginners? ›

Rules of Thumb for Brand New Beds:

Work the soil when it is moist, but not wet. Turn the soil over to a depth of at least 12 inches. Add 2-3 inches of compost and turn it into the bed. Either cover the bed with a thick (3-4") layer of mulch or use a weed and feed to help keep weed seeds from germinating.

What can I put in my flower bed instead of plants? ›

25 Ways to Beautify Your Yard Without Planting a Thing
  1. Hummingbird Feeder. 1/26. ...
  2. Stepping Stones. 2/26. ...
  3. String Lights. 3/26. ...
  4. Sundial. 4/26. ...
  5. Birdbath. 5/26. ...
  6. Landscape Edging. 6/26. ...
  7. Fountain. 7/26. ...
  8. Container Plant Arrangement. 8/26.

What can I put in front of house instead of shrub? ›

Hostas are perfect low lying plants for the front landscaping areas of your house. They come in a variety of striking green shades from chartreuse to dark green. You can layer in Hostas in front of taller plants for increased variety.

How do you pave a garden on a budget? ›

The best cheap garden paving idea is to use second-hand paving slabs, bricks or stone. By choosing to re-use and recycle, you'll be able to keep costs down while also saving building materials from going to landfill – so it's a more environmentally friendly option too.

What is the cheapest way to landscape a backyard? ›

Planting trees is one of the easiest, least expensive backyard landscaping ideas of all. All you need are a few digging tools, some mulch and the tree. Plus, you'll end up saving even more if you plant trees in the right places.

How can I make my front garden look nice? ›

Be inspired by our tips for designing a front garden, below.
  1. Use complementary colours.
  2. Use white to create a focal point.
  3. Hide bins with bespoke screening.
  4. Use containers to enhance paved spaces.
  5. Use topiary for a formal look.
  6. Use hanging baskets for height and colour.
  7. Use pots of different sizes.
3 May 2022

What is the cheapest garden surface? ›

Gravel is, in fact, one of the cheapest materials for your garden, and you can learn how to lay gravel yourself. Barve explains, 'Gravel and good quality weed membrane can make a very usable and relatively cheap path or patio.

What is the cheapest form of paving? ›

Indian Limestone. As one of the cheapest paving options on the market, Limestone is a great choice if you are looking to create a bold finish to your patio without breaking the bank!

What is a low maintenance garden? ›

More on low maintenance gardening. Keep planting simple – hardy shrubs and evergreen plants are key. Shrubs are great because they're long-lived and won't need replacing every year. Evergreens such as these sedges and hellebores look good all year and drop fewer leaves than deciduous plants.

How do you make a pretty flower bed? ›

How do I make my flower beds look good?
  1. Use a complementary color palette for a well-balanced look.
  2. Make sure your flower bed ideas have something for all seasons, to maintain visual interest all year.
  3. Keep on top of weeding and deadheading.
  4. Top-dress beds and borders with mulch – bark chippings add a pleasing look.
31 Mar 2022

What is the least expensive landscaping material? ›

If you are looking for cheap landscaping material, mulch would be one of them. Mulch is a combination of various organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, bark nuggets, wood chips, and other organic matter. Mulch is typically used to keep the soil moist.

How do I make a backyard oasis on a budget? ›

10 Budget-Friendly Ideas for Creating an Outdoor Oasis by Emily Farris Last Updated: May 12, 2022
  1. Set the mood with string lights. ...
  2. Make your space more private. ...
  3. Create a seating zone… ...
  4. … ...
  5. Add plants (real and fake). ...
  6. Tie the room together with an outdoor rug. ...
  7. Get a sprayer nozzle for your hose.
12 May 2022

Which plant is good in front of house? ›

Basil, Jasmine, Morning Glory, Money Plant and Citrus Tree are some of the best Vastu plants for the entrance of your home.

What do you put in front of house? ›

House numbers, the entry door lockset, a wall-mounted mailbox, and an overhead light fixture are all elements that can add style and interest to your home's exterior curb appeal. If they're out of date or dingy, your home may not be conveying the aesthetic you think it is.

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