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21 small garden ideas

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Ed Hawes
small garden ideas

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Investing time in your small garden or balcony can have a huge impact on how you use the space. To help guide and inspire, we’ve come up with 21 small garden ideas which should ignite creativity when transforming your outside space.

1) Install an outdoor mirror

Outdoor mirrors are perfect for small gardens because they create an illusion of a larger space. Attach a mirror horizontally to a garden wall, placed just above the greenery to help reflect the plants. Or ,for simplicity, lean a mirror vertically up against an outside wall to achieve a similar result.

2 ) Hang a hammock

Get your hands on a hammock and hang it between two opposing walls and (or two trees, if your garden allows for it). This will create the perfect space to relax in, especially if you don’t have enough room for outdoor furniture.

3) Create a herb garden

Create your own mini herb garden. Not only is this sustainable, but it’s guaranteed to make your balcony or small space smelling fresh. Mini herb gardens are a perfect way to introduce plants to your garden – you can put them in small plant pots and place them on the window sill, hang them from a walled decking, or dot them randomly around the garden. Whatever you decide, they’re easy to look after and will benefit your garden as much as your cooking.

4) Add decking to a garden wall

Adding decking to your garden wall is a simple way to help extend the illusion of space – it increases the areas in which you can hang ornaments, lighting, plants etc. It can also be the basis of your green wall, allowing plants to climb and grow around it.

5) Garden bar

Design a small garden bar for the corner of your garden. It can be as simple as some shelving with a few spirit dispensers hung from above. Or attach a murphy bar to the wall; a bar that opens up when the party is in full swing, but folds away when you need more space (or need not to be reminded of the night before).

Small garden bars are a creative way to add a slice of personality to your garden or balcony.


6) Lighting

Hang fairy lights or large outdoor bulbs around the garden. Not only will it bring light to an otherwise unlit area of your living space, but it will help create a beautiful alfresco setting in the evening.

7) Hang a canopy over the decking

Get a canopy to hang over the decking to create a cosy, atmospheric area in the garden. Not only will it look and feel great, it might help keep the mozzies away during the summer evenings and create an area of shade hidden from the summer sun.

All you need is a piece of old fabric or a white a sheet to create the look at minimal cost and effort.

8) Raised flower beds

Create an area with raised beds so you can separate off different sections of your garden. Use planks of wood to create a natural looking section – depending on the look you're after and the layout of your garden, this could double up as a seating area.

You can also use this method as a way to create a herb garden if you don’t fancy mixing garden plants with herbs.

9) Different heights for plant pots

Stack plants at different levels to create layering – the same way you would add accessories to the styling of your living room. Dot plants randomly around the garden; use hooks to add pots to the walled decking, take advantage of window sills, built-in seating for free standing pots, and introduce plants and foliage to the floor layout.

10) Invest in a fire pit

For late summer or early autumn evenings, when the days are still warm but evenings cold, a fire pit is a nice and inexpensive way to ensure you can still use your outside space. Your clothes may smell afterwards, but fire pits are a beautiful, atmospheric way to spend the evening – especially if you want to dabble in s'mores.

11) Create a garden wall

You can get creative with a garden wall. Probably the easiest and most common way to do this, would be to install fencing on the chosen walled area (around the garden door is always a winner) and invest in a climbing plant. A real climber takes up little ground space, so is perfect for small gardens. Once in place, the plant will attach itself to the wall and grow until it's created a perfectly natural, living walled artwork.

Alternatively, hang an array of hanging plants from the wall to achieve a similar look.

12) Mix small plants with tall plants

Mix the layers and balance of your garden by using different sized plants. Try using small plants at the front of the bedding and taller plants at the back. Or use different heights and shapes at random points throughout to get a wild, less landscape feel to the garden.

13) Palm trees

This might be a little indulgent, but investing in a couple palm trees to outline your garden will guarantee a taste of the mediterranean. Depending on the size of the space, it might also mean there is little room for any other plants resulting in reduced upkeep throughout the year.

14) Outdoor cinema nights

If you have a free wall a sheet can hang from then you take advantage of a projector. Summer is the perfect time to make use of your garden as an extra living space, and one the best ways to do this is with a projector.

All you need is a few throws, cushions and comfy seating to ensure a cosy outside cinema experience.

15) Hang seating

Seating hung slightly above ground doesn’t only look great, but it can also create the illusion of more space. A hanging seat also allows for more seating without having to invest in bulky furniture which is often limited to the size of the garden.

Hanging egg chairs and one seater hammocks are very popular, especially if they’re rattan – perfect.

16) Low height seating

Seating that sits close to the floor creates a real bohemian, relaxed environment – the seating only needs to consist of large cushions or outdoor bean bags for you to pull off this style.

17) Rugs

Continuing on from the bohemian vibe, a well-placed rug could extend the living space outside and exaggerate a relaxed environment.

18) Outdoor table

One of the most important elements when entertaining outside is a table, yet small gardens can really affect whether this is possible. However, tables come in all shapes and sizes so you should be able to find one which suits your space.

A trestle table is the perfect answer for those who don’t have the space for a permanent feature, but need a table when entertaining – dress it nicely and no one will know.

19) Seating built into the decking

Using the decking to create a seating area is a great way to make use of your small space – it also looks great and reduces the need for extra seating. Win, win.

20) Add shelving

Use shelves to add more space for plants, herb gardens or any garden ornaments. Shelves can also be use as storage space for garden utensils.

21) Neutral colours are best

Use neutral colours for furniture, accessories and any outside decor. Neutral colours help reflect the light and the natural surroundings, creating a more immersive and authentic outside space.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog you might also like: the most pinned living room trends in 2021, how to create the ideal alfresco experience, or 5 ways to add colour into your home.
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