When it comes to garden ideas, limited space needn’t be a cap to originality and comfort. While small gardens, terraces, decking and patios undoubtedly come with their own set of design challenges, even the most economical of plots can be reworked into impacftul and elegant outdoor havens. Think small but perfectly formed.
Whether you’re looking to transform an inauspicious roof space or balcony garden into a stylish urban garden, create the ideal alfresco dining area complete with dramatic lighting or go all out with quirky features and accessories, we’ve selected a variety of our favourite design ideas to inspire.
Using space intelligently is the key to making a small garden work; seats that double up as storage, wall-mounted flower pots or herb planters and even folding furniture will all help free up precious square-footage. Likewise, mirrors designed specifically for outdoor use will go even further, creating the illusion of space where there simply isn’t any. Look for small-scale garden buildings, such as gazebos and arbours, which can bring shelter and structure without needing lots of space.
Don’t forget, a small garden can work in your favour – they are easier to maintain and, with some cute lighting solutions and soft furnishings, will function as cosy enclaves akin to outdoor living rooms. A patio design can work really well in a small garden space.
Remember, solar-powered lights and lanterns are the safest and the most long-lasting option. If you have the room, wood-burning fire pits and bowls will heighten atmosphere as well as give out heat when the night’s eventually draw in. Attractive planters and ornaments will spruce up decking or patios and you can even opt for a more natural aesthetic – we love the idea of adding a zinc bathtub for the ultimate in rural charm. Remember, sometimes a limited set of parameters can be a boon for ingenuity and the same holds true here. Be creative!
Create an outdoor living area for the summer months. Even if you have a small plot with not much natural greenery, you can create the look of a colourful garden with flower-filled pots and planters. Just like indoors, opting for neutral walls and flooring can make a small garden feel lighter and brighter.
Similar garden set
Similar garden parasol
A tiny balcony or inauspicious square of concrete in a mansion block can be quickly and economically turned into a private oasis. Don’t overcrowd the space with furniture – just one sun lounger should be plenty. Decorate with plenty of potted plants and herbs for a country-style look in the city.
Kettler at John Lewis
Even if space is limited you can still achieve the style of garden you choose, whether country, modern or traditional. The terracotta tiles on this sunny roof terrace garden give it a distinctive Spanish feel and the smart metal outdoor furniture keeps it up to date.
Similar Garden Bench
Small gardens are perfect for those with busy lifestyles who don’t have time for gardening. Consider adding decking or paving stones, and team with low-maintenance plants. Wooden decking is paired with wirework chairs for a minimalist look that is easy on the eye. Decking provides a modern finish and is a great way to break up a small garden to give the illusion of space.
Similar Metal Garden Chairs
Escape from it all with your very own secret garden on the rooftop. A white all-weather cast-iron patio dining table and chairs are great for alfresco dining on warm summer evenings. Wooden decking is a good low-maintenance option for busy city dwellers.
Urban gardens require careful planning if you’re going to make the most of a small space. For a sophisticated seating area outside, choose well designed garden furniture that will make a style statement, and treat the space like a room, with comfortable cushions and throws, to make it feel just as welcoming as a living room.
The wooden decking in this sunken garden appears to continue from the floors to the walls, making the space feel secluded and enclosed from the outside world. Creating an almost outdoor living room here, the furniture and rug enhance the cosy theme.
A tiny balcony can be quickly turned into a private oasis. Unfussy furniture and plump cushions give a cosy yet stylish feel to this
outdoor living space, while a palette of chocolate, green and sage blends well with the surroundings to give a chic, sophisticated look.
Similar outdoor furniture
Us Brits love to get out in the garden, but even if your outdoor space is super-small, there’s no reason why you can’t transform it into a vibrant alfresco dining area.
Choose a small round table and chairs and a large parasol. Dress the table with colourful pressed glass tableware to brighten up a sheltered spot.
Similar table and chairs
For the time-challenged among us, coloured gravel is a garden saviour. Not only will it brighten up your outdoor space, it’s easy to maintain and will give your garden a contemporary feel.
Team with lots of greenery, daffodils and stone pathways to create a small, but perfectly formed space with an air of grandeur.
Similar decorative stones and gravel
Make a small garden feel larger with a decorative mirror in the shape of a window – this snazzy example had us fooled!
Paint the wall behind it a lush green to blend in with the plants, and blur the boundaries of the small space. Add a functional, plastic table to use for entertaining.
Similar table and mirror
We love this decked garden with an alfresco dining area, which comes complete with shaded seating space and barbecue. Add a bistro dining set like these from Tesco for the perfect finishing touch.
Trailing flowers and potted plants give it a cosy feel, while the steps leading up to the second level add to the illusion of space.
Similar Bistro dining set
Create an unusual focal point in your garden, no matter what its size, with a modern take on a wall trellis.
Hanging pot plants from a wall will free up valuable floor space in a petite garden and is guaranteed to have your neighbours whispering enviously about your genius idea.
Similar Wall Planter
Not on the High Street
Urban gardens require careful planning if you’re going to make to most of a cosy corner.
A garden bench is a practical and stylish way to make an impact – if you don’t mind relinquishing some precious floor space – and will be perfect for lounging should the sun make an appearance this summer!
If your outdoor area is a decked patio, spruce it up with some well chosen potted plants and colourful blooms.
Simple furniture is perfect for creating a rustic feel to your space and won’t distract from your gardening efforts!
Complete the look with French doors leading out onto the garden to create a seamless flow between inside and out.
There’s no hiding a small front garden so keep it in check by adding some simple and elegant flourishes.
Arranging a selection of planters around the front door is a great way to ensure maximum impact with minimum effort and upkeep.
And if you’re really keen to impress guests at your front door, a simple trellis above the door will add a welcome pop of country-style charm.
Solar-powered lanterns and radios can be used outside without the inconvenience of trailing cables.
Suspending a candle chandelier above the table will make a feature of the alfresco dining area and provide atmospheric lighting.
Outdoor lights don’t have to be big on size to make an impact. These pretty little lanterns with LED candles can be hung from branches of trees or artfully positioned around a terrace to provide an inviting evening glow. LEDs are not only cost-effective choice, but avoid the risks associated with using real candles, which makes them a safe option for lighting the garden.