Making the most of a smaller garden

Making the most of a smaller garden

Most of is would love a bigger garden, but small gardens have some unique attributes that you can use to your advantage!

Chosen with care, all of your garden features (plants, features, structures, furniture, water features) can create the illusion the space is larger than it actually is!

At Little Eden, we've created handy tags so you can easily see which plants are great for smaller gardens. 

Discover our top tips for making the most of a smaller space:

Reflect light 

Water in a small garden adds movement, light and reflections, and can attract wildlife and birds into the space. Water features come in all shapes and sizes, from trickle fountains to ponds in pots and containers. Look for wide, shallow pots and seal drainage holes with silicone. For wildlife, ensure there’s a way for creatures to climb out.

Mirrors are a simple way to make a small space look bigger, helping to reflect light and points of interest in the garden. Hiding the edges with plants will further help to perpetuate the illusion. To reduce the risk of birds being tricked by mirrors, use smaller mirrors and place airy transparent plants or trellis in front

Ditch the fence 

Consider replacing fences with hedges or keep hedges you already have for the dense cover they offer, rather than replace them with a fence.

This will maintain privacy, but uses the space for more free rather than a fence and makes your garden appear larger. It's also brilliant for wildlife. Wildlife needs food, shelter and breeding sites and gardens are increasingly providing this, especially small gardens in urban areas. 

Small garden, big scent

Scented plants turn a garden into a fragrant paradise, and the effect is intensified in smaller gardens. Look for plants with different seasons of fragrance to provide scent all year, and grow them near the door or paths for maximum impact. Place pots of fragrant herbs next to a bench or around a patio, and squeeze plants (like thyme) that release their scent when crushed, into gaps in paths.

Seating space 

Seating is essential in every garden, providing somewhere to relax and entertain. You can create benching that doubles as planters to maximise the use of space and ensure seating is against the boundary so no space is wasted behind. Plant shade-loving ferns under benches too.

A simple bistro set is one of the most versatile ways to include seating in a small garden. It can be moved around, takes up little room and the chairs can be folded up when not in use. The table can also double as a potting bench. Add brightly coloured chairs as  focal points and features in their own right.

Embrace your dark side

Small gardens are often overshadowed by houses, walls or trees meaning there are often dark, shady patches. Many plants have adapted to cope in the shade, so choose plants that thrive in these conditions and make use of the space. Ferns, foxgloves and heucheras are a good choice. 

Sometimes, more is more

Getting creative and filling even the tiniest nooks and crannies can give the impression your garden is a thriving paradise of growth, and makes it feel larger than it is.  Gaps in paving slabs can accommodate compact and low-growing plants like thyme or creeping Jenny. In the crevices of shady walls you can plant ferns. The dry soil at the base of walls can be planted with hardy succulents like sempervivums and crassulas.

Green all year

Evergreens can be used to create focal points throughout the available space and give structure a d interest all year round.  Gardenia has gorgeous scented blooms and glossy leaves, and mirror bush will add splashes of colour with bright green or pink varieties. Azaleas are an early flowering evergreen that loves shade so perfect for brightening up the shady parts of your garden.

Use all the space

Think about using space wisely, for example hanging baskets can be placed around the garden and used to decorate the front or rear aspect of your home. Tall bird feeders can be placed in garden borders without taking up much space.

Grow up

Use climbers to make good use of the vertical space available and to draw the eye up. Clematis, honeysuckle and jasmine are popular choices and will give gorgeous scents. Also using vertically growing plants will add colour at varying levels. Lillies are easy to grow and look classy and attractive, Gladioli boast colourful blooms from Spring through Autumn and Dahlias will add interest during the hot summer months.

If your garden is over-looked you can use trees to create privacy and due to their height,  they will bring some grandeur and glamour to the garden too. Magnolia trees come in smaller varieties that will suit a small garden or ornamental cherry trees can work well with beautiful spring blossoms. They can be decorated with some simple fairy lights for a touch of evening sparkle.

Structural features such as obelisks (either bare or with climbers), arches, pergolas and tall structures will all lead the eye skyward. They’ll help to broaden the view of the garden and can help break it up into smaller areas, which gives the impression of a larger space.

Take our garden quiz to personalise the plant store and find the right plants for you and your garden!  

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