House Oranjezicht: scandinavian Garden by ATTIK Design

​Keep your yard beautiful with these 8 small garden ideas

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Not all of us are fortunate enough to enjoy big, spacious yards – yes, most of us have to make do with teeny tiny outdoor spaces. And while some may call it a “small garden”, we prefer the term “perfectly sized garden”. 

Think about it: if it is big enough to sit out, large enough to put down a few plants/flowers, spacious enough to ensure that a lovely view floods indoors through windows and glass doors, then your garden isn’t small at all – it is perfect! 

And of course we all know that how you treat your garden will undoubtedly affect your home’s exterior look, not to mention the resale value (should you decide to sell).

So, let’s take a look at some tried-and-tested small garden ideas (that professional gardeners swear by) to keep yours looking alive and fresh for longer…

1. Small garden ideas: Work on your view from inside

New garden for Kobus and Helet Storm: modern Garden by Gorgeous Gardens
Gorgeous Gardens

New garden for Kobus and Helet Storm

Gorgeous Gardens

Think about it: we don’t live in our gardens. Thus, it makes perfect sense to focus on the view your garden will provide while relaxing indoors, like your living room. 

Focus on the space(s) where you and guests tend to be the majority of the time (i.e. your favourite armrest in the TV room, your open-plan kitchen) and see what the view looks like from there. Then, work accordingly!

2. Small garden ideas: Stick to geometry

New driveways and garden for Wendal and Busi: modern Garden by Gorgeous Gardens
Gorgeous Gardens

New driveways and garden for Wendal and Busi

Gorgeous Gardens

You might think that curves are ideal for softening up a garden, especially a small one on a terrace or a teeny tiny courtyard, but the truth is that outside spaces soften up quite quickly. The best designs contrast the softness of the plants against the clean crispness of the edges.

Thus, stick to bold, geometric shapes for your patio and lawn – and if you’re unsure, go for straight lines, as they are much easier to get right.

3. Small garden ideas: KISS

House Oranjezicht: scandinavian Garden by ATTIK Design
ATTIK Design

House Oranjezicht

ATTIK Design

Keep It Simple, Stupid. Don’t go overboard when designing a small garden. And always remember that the rule of threes applies to most things in gardens. 

So, don’t use more than three types of flooring materials (i.e. grass, sandstone and gravel). This will ensure a more consistent look for your small garden – too many materials will result in a clashing mess that won’t be pleasing to the eye at all.

4. Small garden ideas: Keep the colours simple

The rule of threes also applies to your small garden’s colours – but we don’t mean just the flowers. The colour that you plan to paint your fence, the wall(s), accessories, outdoor furniture and décor, etc. All of these contribute to your garden’s look; thus, limit your palette and keep it simple.

5. Small garden ideas: Lighting is vital

Small garden ideas are not just about keeping it looking beautiful, but also practical. 

Imagine you’re relaxing in the living room at five o’ clock on a winter’s afternoon. Obviously you want your garden to flaunt the same ‘wow’ look it would on a summer’s day which you can appreciate from indoors, right? 

So, try layering the lighting. The first layer is for practicality: lighting the steps, illuminating the sitting areas, paths, etc. 

Next, light any features you have: water fountains, small trees, interesting architectural features, a pleasant fence, etc. 

Lastly, add a really subtle layer of light at ankle level to make the whole place glow. Opting for layered lighting will ensure a visually stunning garden, regardless of the season or time of day.

6. Small garden ideas: Keep privacy in mind

Those living in small apartments in the city know all too well about the fight for decent privacy. Who wants to be spied on by nosy neighbours, right? 

But with a carefully placed shrub or line of trellis along a fence’s top, some extra privacy is possible in your little garden. 

Also keep your seating area in mind – perhaps there’s a corner somewhere where you can move your chair(s) and table that won’t be visible from your neighbour’s garden and/or window?

7. Small garden ideas: Furniture is important

New outdoor room for Pieter and Annelize: modern Garden by Gorgeous Gardens
Gorgeous Gardens

New outdoor room for Pieter and Annelize

Gorgeous Gardens

For most people, a garden is more than just a spot to grow plants – it’s a space where they can relax and even socialise. Thus, give plenty of thought to the furniture. 

Do you want to sit up at a table and enjoy an exterior dining room? Or do you want to lounge around on sofas (perhaps even a hammock) and turn your garden into an outdoor sitting room? If you’re very lucky, you might have space for both, but then decent planning needs to go into where each area should be placed. Consider what time of day each area gets sun and shade.

8. Small garden ideas: Choosing your plants

• Like your colour palette, restrict your plant/flower choice to a few species, repeating them rather than planting a huge variety of plants that can lack impact.  

• White flowering plants add elegance and grace to a garden, big or small, and will stand out much more in the evenings (especially when paired with exterior lighting fixtures)  

• For a more vibrant look, combine hot shades of pinks and purples to make your garden pop. 

• Fragrant plants are perfect for small gardens, as their scent will be contained. 

Keep all these small garden ideas in mind and you will be well on your way to enjoying a perfectly stylish outdoor space in no time.

And speaking of outdoor beauty, let’s take a look at these 13 beautiful walls to wow any garden.

If you have even more limited space, this ideabook might inspire you: 9 ideas for small, cheap and low maintenance gardens

What other small garden ideas can you add to our list?
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