The small garden

You don’t need a large garden to enjoy the summer. Here are a few ways to make a small garden a place to relax and wind down

Secluded areas

You can make your garden feel bigger than it is by dividing it up and adding areas of interest. As a result, you won’t be able to see all of your garden in one go. Use bamboo screens, foliage or trellis to create hidden seating areas or cosy hideaways. If you have enough room for an arch, use one as a portal to other parts of your garden.

The addition of trees can help give the illusion of space upwards and if are thinking of putting paving slabs down, lay them diagonally in diamond shapes. It creates a trick of the eye that will make your garden area look bigger than it actually is.

Balcony gardens

Not all of us have gardens but even if you have a small balcony, you can still create a small garden area for you to enjoy during the warmer months. You will able to include mature plants and you can mix these with younger ones. Of course, you’ll need to grow them in containers, but with a bit of imagination, there’s no reason why you can’t surround yourself with wonderful plants. Summer bedding plants, like begonias, petunias, osteospermum, and busy Lizzies will brighten up your balcony from late spring right through summer. Try and avoid heavy pots like terracotta as they will add to the weight on your balcony.

Courtyard gardens

Courtyard gardens have more potential than you might think at first. Keep colours of fences and walls neutral as brash colours will stand out and make your area look smaller than it is. One clever trick is to layer the flooring with durable faux grass, which will feel great underfoot and also bring a sense of depth to your small garden.

Quirky statement pieces, such as statues, statement pots or ornaments can also distract from the surroundings. If you have the room to do it, adding raised beds can add another level to your space. Tall planters can be used instead if space is limited.

Pallet Planters

Pallets are the perfect addition to a small garden because they offer a place to grow plants upwards instead of taking up valuable room horizontally. The other great benefit is that you can move them around for different occasions if needed.

You can either leave your pallets untouched, or you can add some colour to them to brighten up an area of your garden. You may need to add some sort of shelving to the beams, depending on the pallet. Trailing plants will also fill in the natural gaps of the pallet.

Use colour

One of the best ways to make your garden look bigger is to camouflage the walls, either with trailing plants or foliage. If this isn’t possible, you can always paint the wall green so that it blends in with the rest of the surrounding greenery. When it comes to painting other areas of the garden, avoid bold colours that stand out. Instead, try and blend your colours to give shapes length and width. You can create an illusion of height too by painting any fences in two-tone colours.


If you are really wanting to enjoy your garden, you will need some form of furniture, even if it’s just having somewhere to sit. Folding chairs are the obvious answer but if you’re looking to include somewhere to dine, look for a dining set that allows you to tuck the chairs right underneath when it’s not being used. You can also use outdoor rugs, cushions and bean bags that can be stowed away or used indoors if the weather’s not looking too good. Slimline storage solutions can help if you don’t have a shed and adding large mirrors around the perimeters may sound like a crazy idea but they can give the illusion of more space.

Lighting is often a feature that is overlooked and you can use this to your advantage by adding outdoor wall lights to cast long shadows. You can use lighting to add depth to smaller areas and also showcase anything you want to highlight. Hanging lanterns in the trees and bushes will also increase the perceived height of your garden, and will create a wonderful space that you and your friends and family can enjoy.

Living walls

If you’ve got a sturdy wall or fence, it might be worth using as a vertical garden. Wall planters are perfect for artistic displays and attractive focal points and can be used to hold flowers, herbs and cascading vines. Wooden wall planters are versatile and unlike clay pots, a wooden wall planter won’t crack in freezing weather. Wood can rot of course, but galvanised metal planters will last longer. Make sure that they have drainage holes included and when it comes to planting, think ahead. In which direction will your plants grow and have you left enough room for them to do so?

Window boxes

Window boxes make planting and growing manageable but also provide visual appeal to a small garden. Make sure that your window box is clean before you start planting and also ensure that the drainage holes are adequate. If you have a terracotta box, you can line it with a plastic bag to reduce the need for watering. Just make sure it has a few drainage holes cut out. Adding a shallow gravel layer at the bottom of the box will also help. You will need good quality garden compost as it contains the nutrients that your plants will need. Lastly, make sure that the plants are secured safely in the compost.