How to make a small garden look and feel bigger in 9 easy steps

Gardening expert shares clever tricks to maximise space in a small garden
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  • If there’s one thing this last year has taught us, it’s that even the smallest of outdoor space is a welcome haven of escapism. But wouldn’t it be nice to make those tiny gardens feel a little less cramped?

    These simple ideas show how to make a small garden look bigger and feel more spacious, whether you are looking for front garden ideas or have a compact back garden you want to enhance.

    From thoughtful planting ideas to using mirrors, these are easy to do tips and tricks to make the most of any limited outdoor space.

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    ‘By thinking outside the box and making a few small changes, you can give the illusion of a much bigger space,’ explains a Gardening Express spokesperson. ‘Or really create the extra space that you want.’

    ‘Consider completely changing the layout of the space if size is something which is high up in your list of priorities.’

    9 Easy ideas: how to make a small garden look bigger

    1. Add mirrors

    Small urban garden with wall mirror

    Image credit: David Still

    You’ve heard the phrase smoke and mirrors? Create the illusion of extra space with a simple mirror trick. ‘Mirrors are great for making any space look bigger and your garden space is no different’ says the gardening expert. ‘A large feature mirror will give added size, or even consider putting mirrors along the whole length of a wall in order to double it – just make sure no one walks into the mirror!’

    Read more on this idea: Garden mirror ideas to flood gardens with a little ray of light

    2. Plant vertically

    gardening ideas february

    Image credit: James Merrell

    ‘In order to create more ground space, and to make the grassy area of your garden larger, plant vertically. This removes the need for borders around the edge of the garden, meaning these can be filled in.’

    You could try planting a living wall, or using hanging baskets at different levels to add colour and depth to your space.

    3. Remove bushes

    Garden-path-ideas-mature-garden-gravel-path-stone-cottage

    Image credit: Mark Bolton/Future

    Take out bulky shrubs and bushes. ‘Big bushes commonly found around the outside of garden spaces can take up a lot of space’ explains the spokesperson. ‘Consider removing these and replacing with a fence, if security is needed, or grass the new space over and use planters full of colourful flowers to help increase the curb appeal.’

    Smart ideas: Fill gardens with plants for free – grow flowers & shrubs without spending a penny

    4. Create zones

    garden landscape

    Think of your garden as having a floor plan. ‘Applying certain zones and differing the furniture and flooring of the area could give you the illusion of extra space. Furniture lying around the garden can make it look cluttered and therefore smaller,’ they rightly point out.

    ‘But with distinct zones, where your BBQ and table and chairs all look at home will give a more organised, and larger feel.’ You could also use outdoor rugs to perfect this step.

    5. Consider furniture choices

    How-to-clean-and-restore-garden-furniture

    Image credit: Lizzie Orme

    ‘Make sure all your furniture looks at home in the space and isn’t too big,’ advises the gardening expert. ‘If a table looks huge, that will become the focus of the space,’ rather than the beautiful plants and flowers you’ve lovingly planting around them. ‘Ensure that each item works well with one another and doesn’t overpower the space.’

    6. Build bespoke seating with storage

    built-in garden bench

    Image credit: Hannah Lewis

    For a savvy furniture solution, you can’t beat a bespoke built-in design. A smart garden bench built to suit the exact measurements you require is the ideal way to make your small garden feel bigger simply by way of using the space at its full potential. This bespoke garden bench takes functionality one step further, but updating the base to become a storage compartment. Multifunctional and making the most of valuable garden space, what’s not to love for a small garden?

    7. Check boundaries

    garden boundary fence

    Image credit: Mark Bolton

    Check the deeds to reclaim any extra space. ‘It may be that previous occupants of the house have put a fence further into the garden than your boundaries state. By checking your house deeds, you may discover that you have more space around the edge of your fence, meaning a boundary move might be just what you need.’

    8. Make the use interchangeable

    garden hammock in small garden space

    image credit: Matthew Williams

    A hammock can be the greatest gift for a small garden space, due to the flexibility. All you need are secure hooks in place to support the weight of a hammock, for the times when the comfort is required. But for the times when you need to create more room you can simply remove the hammock and allow the space to open up for a wider social occasion.

    9. Incorporate potted plants to add interest

    Balcony garden with bistro table and chairs

    Image credit: Emma Lewis

    Strictly speaking, a balcony isn’t a garden, but it’s a great example of what you can do with even the tiniest of outdoor spaces. Group together plant pots in lots of different sizes and all kinds of finishes for an eclectic look. The result is fresh and pretty display that brightens up your balcony garden, even when you’re looking at it from the inside. A good trick is to plant shrubs at different heights, to add depth and create the illusion that the space is more generous.

    Related: Easy garden ideas – simple updates to transform your outdoor space

    So which idea will you be trying to make your small garden space feel bigger?

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