Small Garden Ideas: 3 Design Tricks to Make Your Garden Appear Bigger

The best gardens aren’t always the biggest and however small, cramped and uninviting your garden feels right now, rest assured there are ways in which you can transform it into a relaxing retreat that you’ll want to spend time in, complete with all the essentials needed to create the perfect outdoor living environment.

If you’re looking for small garden ideas, these design tricks will make your garden appear bigger than it actually is!

3 Design Tricks to Make Your Garden Appear Bigger

1. Divide up the Garden


Diagonal Design

Avoiding a straight path and using diagonals not only creates a longer line, but it also tricks the eye into thinking your garden is bigger than it is. The triangles which are formed from dividing your garden with diagonal lines are great for incorporating interesting planting areas.

Laying out paving slabs diagonally in a courtyard can be a great way of making your outdoor space appear larger. Repeating materials or plants also lends itself well to a small garden.

Perception with Circles

If you have two circles together as your lawn shape, use the circle closest to the house as the largest and make the circle furthest away smaller.

This is an effective way the emphasise the perspective and make the garden look longer than it really is. Accentuate the perspective of small gardens by incorporating circles into your garden.

Wide, Low Steps 

Wide, low steps are a great way of dividing up the garden. You can also use raised beds which help to create levels that will increase visual interest. This will also add to the perception that the garden is bigger than it is.

Laying the paving slabs at a 90-degree angle from the house and reducing the shorter sides so that those closest to the house are larger than those at a distance will create the illusion of length in your garden.

2. Think Upwards


When wanting to make your garden feel bigger you should consider not just the length, but also the height of your garden. Designing upwards takes the attention away from the fact there is limited ground space.

Wall Planters

An interesting way of planting which increases the scale of space is vertical planting. You can trail herbs and plants in wall pots which will give a Mediterranean feel to your courtyard or patio space.

Make the most of your small garden by scaling down the size of your planters and hang them either from the wall. Or place them on garden shelves for an array of herbs and plants that take up little space.

Upright Topiary 

Another way to draw the eye upwards in the illusion of creating more space is to incorporate tall design elements such as an upright topiary. Whether you prefer tall circular topiary in flower boxes or spiral topiaries in wooden planters, these plants take up little ground space but can make a stylish feature in your garden.

Tall Poles 

A simple way that you can increase the appearance of height and create an interesting feature is by adding a set of colourful that will develop a strong sense of rhythm in the garden.

Alternatively, you can wrap outdoor string lights around the poles. This will create interesting lighting in your garden, perfect for a cosy, lit seating or dining area.

3. Secret Garden


This design trick works well combined with a garden which has been divided up, not allowing the whole garden to be seen or simply creating the illusion of an extended garden, is an effective way of making the garden feel bigger than it is.

False Doors 

A false door placed in a hedge or sectioning off your garden is a perfect way to make it appear like your garden is hiding something and continues through the door. Create a classic, secret garden feel to your outdoor space and paint it in a bright colour for an interesting feature!


Mirrors are a great way of creating the illusion of space in a small garden. Attach a mirror to the wall at the end of your garden. This will make it seem like your garden continues past the wall, creating the illusion of a garden that is double the length.

Adjoining Garden Fence 

This is a similar concept to the use of mirrors. Add a gate into the adjoining garden fence, although unused, it suggests that the garden extends further and that your garden has secrets to hide!