How do I maximise space in a small garden?

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
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Having a small garden can often seem like more of a burden than a benefit, with a seemingly limited amount of space to make into a presentable and usable area, and a limited amount of ideas to achieve the task. However, despite what you may think, there are plenty of things you can do to utilise the space so that you and your family can enjoy the garden area. Traditional grassy lawns aren't always an option, and it's probably time to accept that a shed or a greenhouse would just be an inconvenient use of the small amount of space you have. Nevertheless, it's surprising just what you can do in a small garden or courtyard if you think outside the box. Take a look at some of these clever designs for inspiration and see what is actually possible.

Cosy seating area

You want to be able to sit out in your garden and enjoy the crisp spring mornings and the warmer summer evenings, and a seating area such as this would allow you to do just that. Opting for smaller, two seater garden benches facing one another is a good way to create an intimate, cosy space while utilising the area. Ideal for square, paved yards, the seats can be separated by a small, elegant outdoor table, or alternatively, if you want something a bit more extravagant, you could have a small fire pit like the one you can see here. 

Tidy borders

Front Garden water feature: modern Garden by Cherry Mills Garden Design
Cherry Mills Garden Design

Front Garden water feature

Cherry Mills Garden Design

When you're working with a small garden, whether it's at the front or back of your property, it is important to keep it tidy. Weeds and overgrown flowerbeds are going to make the little garden look crowded and messy, so make sure you regularly prune and weed your borders. If you want to limit the amount of work you have on your hands, woodchip is a practical and pleasant looking filler. The natural brown colour blends in with the green of the plants, but reduces the need for lots of 'real' gardening. 

Garden decking

Party garden in Sevenoaks, Kent: modern Garden by Earth Designs
Earth Designs

Party garden in Sevenoaks, Kent

Earth Designs

Decking is a great way to transform a small garden with minimum effort. It's practical, easy to maintain and looks great all year round. Even if you only have a couple of squared metres, decking can provide an ideal spot to sit in a deckchair and catch some rays. It's actually now pretty affordable, and there are different styles to choose from depending on what best suits the exterior of your home.

Water features

You don't need a big pond or lake running at the back of your home to enjoy the relaxing effect of water in your garden: water features can be a beautiful addition to your garden that makes it look really unique, without taking up much space at all. Perhaps you want to try out a feng-shui inspired garden and introduce oriental ornaments to your garden. Alternatively, you could go for something modern and minimalist: think a slow stream of water running over black and grey pebbles against a black granite backdrop. There are so many options when it comes to water features that you are bound to find something that fits perfectly in your garden or yard. 

Layered steps

If you can't expand the space outwards, think outside the box and go up! These layered stepping stones are a great example of how you can utilise space in small garden. Not only do the steps provide an interesting feature for your garden, they can be a nice area to sit and enjoy the view of your tiny but tasteful garden.

Climbing plants and flowerbeds

Traditional methods can sometimes be the best. If you don't have a lot of floor space in your backyard, climbing plants such as Wisteria or Clematis can transform your garden and brighten up the smallest of outdoor spaces. Whether you have chain link fencing, or a more modern wooden 'ladder' like you can see in this image, it is possible to grow climbing plants that cover as much or as little of the wall as you like. There are also evergreen plants, which maintain their rich green colour all year round—perfect for a consistently vibrant looking garden.

For more garden inspiration, have a look at these small garden design ideas.

Which options would look best in your garden? We look forward to reading your comments!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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