Small Garden Ideas: Design Tricks to Make It Appear Bigger

In a world where space is a luxury, creating a thriving garden might seem challenging due to limited room. And there’s a secret in turning your small outdoor space into an inviting haven that feels spacious. Lucky for you, we’re about to share them with you! Join us as we explore smart designs and plant choices to maximise every inch of your green space.

Small Garden Challenges

Corner back garden filled with lush green plants, showcasing vertical garden structures. Two vibrant bistro chairs in yellow and red add a pop of colour to the charming outdoor space.

(Image Credit: Flickr)

Small gardens present a set of challenges, primarily centred around constraints. Among those dilemmas are limited space and a potential lack of privacy. These limitations can hinder the creation of an ideal outdoor sanctuary. However, the key to overcoming these challenges lies in strategic planning, including:

  • planning the layout
  • selecting the right plants
  • incorporating clever design elements

With these, you can optimise the available space you have to its fullest potential. Smart planning enhances the garden’s look and tackles practical issues like privacy. This approach helps create a petite space that thrives, no matter its size.

Optimal Plant Selection

Small gravel garden adorned with diverse plants, featuring a cosy mini bistro set tucked in the corner.

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Opting for compact and space-saving plant varieties is a game-changer for small gardens. Consider the choices below for added visual interest – without demanding much room:

  • Dwarf evergreen shrubs: Great examples are dwarf boxwoods or compact hollies. These miniature shrubs maintain a neat shape without overpowering limited space.
  • Bush beans: Bush beans grow compactly, offering a bountiful harvest without sprawling across the ground. Ideal for small vegetable gardens.
  • Dwarf fruit trees: Varieties like dwarf apple or cherry trees are tailored for small gardens. They provide the joy of homegrown fruit without monopolising space.
  • Herbs in containers: Planting herbs like basil, mint, or thyme in containers saves ground space. They also make them easily accessible for cooking.
  • Ground cover plants: Low-growing plants such as creeping thyme or sedum create a lush carpet effect. They cover the soil while adding visual appeal without taking up vertical space.

Clever Layout and Design Tricks

Small backyard oasis with a trellis supporting a vibrant vertical garden. A charming bird bath nestled in a lush garden bed

(Image Credit: Flickr)

In a small garden, strategic use of focal points and optical illusions can work wonders. Introduce a central element, such as an eye-catching sculpture, to draw attention. This focal point serves as a visual anchor, creating depth and interest. Additionally, play with perspective by placing larger plants or decorative elements, such as mirrors, towards the back and smaller ones towards the front. This trick helps enhance the illusion of depth, particularly with garden mirror ideas.

Designing pathways cleverly also contributes significantly to the perceived size of your garden. Opt for curved paths rather than straight ones. For one, they create a sense of intrigue and make the space seem more expansive. Incorporate stepping stones surrounded by lush ground cover. Doing so can blur the boundaries between the path and garden beds. Another one is to use lighter-coloured materials for pathways that reflect more light. This will give an airy feel that amplifies the impression of a larger outdoor space.

Vertical Gardening Solutions

Balcony garden adorned with an array of potted plants.

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Vertical gardening is a game-changer for small spaces, offering a myriad of advantages. By expanding your garden upward, you maximise space efficiency. Plus, you create visually striking displays and even make gardening more accessible. This allows you to grow a variety of plants without compromising ground space.

DIY vertical gardening ideas

  • Trellises for climbing plants: Attach trellises to walls or fences to support climbing plants like tomatoes. This not only adds height but also introduces a dynamic visual element.
  • Hanging planters: Suspend planters from beams or overhead structures using sturdy hooks. Fill them with trailing plants or flowers, adding a cascade of greenery that draws the eye upward.
  • Wall-mounted containers: Install wall-mounted containers, such as pallet planters or pocket planters, on vertical surfaces. These can accommodate various plants, herbs, or flowers. They turn empty walls into vibrant garden spaces.

Step-by-step implementation

  • Choose your vertical structure: Select a wall, fence, or dedicated vertical surface that receives adequate sunlight.
  • Secure trellises or hooks: Install trellises, hooks, or brackets securely to support your chosen vertical gardening structure.
  • Select appropriate plants: Choose plants that suit vertical growth, such as climbers or trailing plants. Alternatively, those with shallow root systems.
  • Planting and watering: Follow proper planting techniques. Ensure adequate watering, considering the unique needs of vertical gardens.

By following these, you can bring the benefits of vertical gardening to life in your small garden.

Smart Storage Solutions

Efficient storage is key to maintaining a tidy and spacious small garden. Consider installing wall-mounted shelves or pegboards to organise gardening tools. Use stackable containers or crates to store pots, seeds, and other items neatly.

Explore outdoor furniture and accessories that serve dual purposes, blending functionality with aesthetics. Choose garden benches with built-in storage compartments for hiding away tools or cushions. Decorative storage boxes can double as plant stands. They add style while concealing gardening essentials.

A clutter-free garden is essential for creating the illusion of space. Regularly declutter by storing tools promptly, keeping pots organised, and removing unnecessary items. Embrace minimalism in design. Opt for a carefully curated selection of plants and decor to enhance the sense of openness.

Keep your small garden organised and clutter-free for a calm and spacious atmosphere!


In the world of small gardens, big transformations are within reach. By embracing these techniques, you can turn limited spaces into lush retreats. The use of vertical gardening opens new possibilities. Meanwhile, smart storage solutions maintain order. Remember, the key lies in simplicity and organisation. As you embark on your small garden journey, let these insights guide you!

Discover practical outdoor storage solutions at Garden Buildings Direct, even for limited spaces. Explore our Sentry shed, designed with a compact footprint perfect for small gardens. Up next on your reading list: 7 Budget-Friendly Ideas for a Small Garden