Design ideas for small gardens can stump a lot of home owners, even if they’ve got some landscaping experience. A larger garden has so much scope. If things don’t work you could always reposition them or add a new plant or plant pot. Smaller gardens however, are tightly squashed together. You can’t use that many plants, and any little addition of furnishings, sheds etc, make your garden look like a scrap yard. This is why I thought it was important to put together this article of 5 design ideas to use in small gardens. Now that summer is on its way, this is the time to be encouraged to spend some time outside and enjoy your external space! Your small garden will never be difficult to dress and decorate again.
Design ideas for small gardens
Design idea for small gardens 1: use various ground materials
The above image is a picture I took of the garden of a house we rented in the middle of Paris earlier this year. Now if they can make a tiny garden look like this in the middle of a congested city, anyone can – landscaping ideas or not! The owners added a pathway and deck, made of wood. There’s gravel on the far right and re-claimed terracotta slabs to the right of the picture (under the tree). To give the illusion of space, you should have different ground materials (for different spaces) in a small garden. For example, you could have a grass lawn with a gravelled or wooden path leading to a seating area at the far end. This division of space not only makes the garden look great, it leads the eyes away from the ‘four corners’ of the garden and towards a comfortable seating area, which could be a wooden platform or a gravelled area. Not much spending is involved in your exterior design here. You can use reclaimed timber or buy gravel wholesale from quarries.
Design idea for small gardens 2: use small furniture
I know you’ve seen small gardens which seem totally packed with sheds and large tables and chairs. This just makes things worse and if you’ve got a small garden like this you’re probably turning your eyes away from the ‘mess’ rather than enjoying your outdoor space. This is definitely not what you want when it comes to exterior design. When guests come by, you want to encourage them to go out into your garden. You really don’t have to spend much to achieve this look. Use smaller tables and chairs. Make sure all furniture have thin, not bulky frames. Two seater bistro garden furniture sets, for example, are ideal for small gardens, especially those with folding or stacking chairs.
Deck chairs also last for ages. You don’t have to bother about them getting wet (they’re made for wet and dry weather) and best of all, you can store them away very easily in the cold months because they roll up into almost the size of a thick rod for storage. If you can get furniture to double up as storage, this is even better. Sheds should be small and painted to blend into the background. Notice the wooden shed on the left of the small-garden Paris picture above? You can barely see it. You could even plant some ivy or other types of affordable climbing plants between your shed and the house (to obscure and soften the view a bit). Landscaping for small gardens always has to include climbing plants. They’re both decorative and space-saving.
Design ideas for small gardens 3: keep planting and decorating to a minimum
This landscaping idea may sound obvious, but I need to say this because I’ve experienced this with friends’ gardens. The smaller the garden, the more people tend to want to fill it with plants. Exterior design should not have different rules from interior design. A small room in the house should be kept as clear and sparse as possible. The same rules apply to the garden. Plants and decor should be simple. The garden above shows sparse planting and the clever use of just 2 colours which complement the house. The small-garden Paris picture above also shows that apart from the beautiful striped loungers, no other major colour is used. The fence at the back is painted green and there are some lovely, colourful flowers by the steps of the house (you can’t see these in the picture). But it’s the simple design which makes these small garden designs stand out.
Design idea for small gardens 4: give height to the garden
Use trellises or a small arbour (which can double up as the seating) to create some height to the garden. Having a totally flat surface reinforces the size of the garden. Height has the opposite effect. The only problem is, do not obstruct your view from the house with the high structure. You could put it at the back or side of the garden. You could also try the idea of vertical planting. As you can see from the picture above, you can plant vegetables on a vertical planter even if you have a small garden. Many people are using this vertical planting system with their exterior design ideas for brilliant results. You don’t have the space in the ground, but there are several different vertical planting arrangements you could easily use. You don’t have to go for shrubs. Use one flamboyant tree for maximum display in small gardens. If you need friendly advice for suitable trees and planting in your local area, consider Raleigh tree planting if you’re in North Carolina.
Other small design ideas for small gardens
Have small attractive additions to place outside when the weather is good. Have you got cushions you don’t use indoors any more? Have you got rugs and mats, room dividers? Big baubles or small baubles you could hang from your trees or fence? What about trinkets, a pretty hanging basket, mirrors or old pictures you could hang up in your garden during the warmer months? Have you got small stools in your garage which you could convert and paint with external paints? See lesson in painting here. What have you got in your garage that you could convert for outdoor use? Use all these ideas to create an outdoor room in your garden. Guests would love it completely, not to mention your own family.
What other ideas have you got when it comes to designing small gardens? Have you recently done some landscaping in your small garden? What did you find most useful to incorporate? Please share your ideas with us. And if you found this article useful, please share it on your social networking sites. Thank you.