Innovative small garden design tips

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
A contemporary courtyard in Henley on Thames Joanne Alderson Design
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Designing a small garden requires a considered and creative approach. You have to think about every element of the design, from how each feature fits into the overall plan, to deciding on what the main purpose of the garden will be, and choosing your furniture and accessories accordingly. It can be a challenge, but if you approach the task with care, you will soon reap the rewards and get more from your outdoor space. Take a look at these innovative small garden design ideas for inspiration:

Courtyard garden design

A contemporary courtyard design Joanne Alderson Design
Joanne Alderson Design

A contemporary courtyard design

Joanne Alderson Design

If you like to spend time in your garden, but aren't a keen gardener, it might be a good idea to create a low-maintenance courtyard area where you can sit out and enjoy the summer sun. This courtyard, designed by Joanne Alderson Design, combines practical paving with planters packed with lush greenery, ensuring the space still feels natural and fresh. This courtyard area is in fact a connection room linking the larger garden to the house. However, this design approach can be taken in a small, self-contained garden as well.

Cosy seating area

Sticking with the idea that the garden is an outdoor room, it makes sense to treat it as such, and design it in a way which allows you to use it for relaxing and entertaining. For a garden that combines style and functionality, opt for a modern dining set, a comfy garden bench, or some quality sunloungers, and dedicate a section of the garden for chilling out and enjoying the outdoors in peace. 

Fountains & sculptures

So, you want to make a statement and create a unique garden, but you only have a small area to work with? Don't feel disheartened: you can transform your garden with a single feature, as this simple but beautiful water feature demonstrates. By choosing a sleek and elegant water feature or contemporary sculpture and making it a focal feature, you can keep the rest of the space simple and practical. Take inspiration from garden landscape design company Unique Landscapes, and complement your focal feature with vertical creepers, which will add colour and life to your garden without requiring any floorspace.

A narrow small garden design

If your garden is narrow, like this courtyard belonging to a modern house in Fulham, there are a few ways you can approach the design. Painting the surrounding walls white will make the space feel less enclosed, and adding sliding glass patio doors will remove the boundary between inside and out, creating a further illusion of space. Again, climbing flowers and creepers are a much better choice than flowerbeds, as they will inject your garden with life and colour, whilst taking up next to no space. Finally, timber decking or ceramic tiles are both practical flooring options that will be easier to maintain than grass, and will look much prettier than concrete!

Cute garden lights

Watering can Light Garland ELLA JAMES Garden Lighting

Watering can Light Garland


Garden lighting is a great way to to make your garden look that little bit more special. These cute, mini watering can lights from Ella James are a fun and easy way to introduce both light and character to your outdoor area. Whether you prefer simple modern lights or funky, eclectic designs, garden lighting will highlight all the best features and provide a relaxing, mellow ambience for those long summer evenings outdoors. 

For more garden ideas, check out the following ideabook: Outdoor inspiration: the lawn garden

How have you designed your small garden? Do you have any more tips to share? Let us know!

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