Small garden, big ideas – design on a budget

Small garden, big ideas – design on a budget

If you’re considering small garden design, you don’t have to think small too. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either. We’ve put together some simple garden ideas to help you create an outdoor space the neighbours will think is the bees’ knees.


Create zones

Gardens fulfil a variety of different functions, from a place to have a cider in the sun to a play area for kids, somewhere to eat a tasty barbecue to a space for beautiful flowers. While a larger garden can cater to all these easily, if you have a small garden, you can best utilise the space by creating zones, each with a specific function.

A smart way to make them even more distinct, is to use different materials of flooring in each space. For example, using stone paving for the dining area, wood decking for the sun recliner and perhaps some carluke walling for some raised flowerbeds. Blooming marvellous.

Different levels add new interest and a sense of scale. Creating height in this way, or with climbing plants, gives the illusion of space — so fake it ‘til you make it! Decking is the easiest way to add a new one-step vertical level.


Add flashes of colour

Take your indoor painting nous into the garden — colour can be used to create the perception of more space in the exterior. It can also be used to draw the eye to feature aspects of the garden.

Choose a colour palette that will give the garden flow and cohesion. Pale, light colours make small spaces feel larger, while bright, hot colours draw the eye and have a more intimate effect.

This could mean using outdoor paint on your fence, shed, furniture or even a section of the house brickwork. Making a simple two-tone fence by painting roughly two-thirds up the panels (dark at the bottom), will give the illusion of extra height while making a statement.

Alternatively you could play with smaller, subtler areas of colour, like the fabrics on furniture, to extend the indoors to the outdoors, or colourful chippings amongst the plants. Time to put your creative hat on and show your true colours.


Choose plants wisely

You don’t have the luxury of space for plants that bloom at different times of the year, so to avoid it suddenly being drab in October, choose plants that look good all year round. If your garden is small, you’ll likely know if it tends to be shady or sunny the majority of the day. Think about this too when selecting your greenery.

If your outside space is particularly small, or if you don’t have space for a shed to keep larger tools, then why not invest in some quality artificial grass? All the colour, softness and function of a lawn, without having to get the mower out every weekend. It also stops the dog (or kids) ripping it all up immediately after you have laid it.


Pave diagonally

There’s only one kind of cheating we advocate, and that’s cheating your eyes!

Whatever paving slabs take your fancy, laying them so they are diamond shaped, tricks you into thinking the garden is bigger than it is. Laying them in a more random, non-uniform way can help do the same thing — finally an excuse to ignore the rules. Light coloured paving will enhance this illusion even further.


Get inventive with planting

Of all the garden ideas, this is probably the most fun. There are so many other ways to have plants in your garden that aren’t the bog-standard, shove them in the flower bed approach. Choose whichever makes the best use of the space you have.

Fix planters to your walls, create shelves, use window boxes and utilise pots. You name it, you can do it. If you still want an element of that classic flower bed feel, why not line the edges with a light coloured gravel and put similar coloured long pots or trays along them?


Pot it like it’s hot!

Hopefully these small garden ideas give you a starting point to create your own. Now you’re armed with everything you need to create the perfect outside space, go grow and flourish!

We’d love to see your before and after garden photos. Why not share your latest transformation on Facebook?