16 rented garden ideas – genius ways to revamp on a budget without upsetting your landlord

Put a personal stamp on your outside space with these non-permanent ideas

We all want a space that reflects our personality, but coming up with rented garden ideas that you can be sure your landlord will approve of can be tricky. 

Research by Boiler Plan (opens in new tab) has revealed that Google searches for 'can I decorate a rented property?' have increased by 66 per cent compared to last year. However, searches for how to update a rented outdoor space has seen an even greater leap.

Google searches for 'DIY balcony ideas' has seen an increase of 586 per cent. Searches for 'Yarden ideas' has increased by 167 per cent, while 'gardening in rented house' has gone up by 29 per cent.

So how can you give your garden an update without losing your deposit and getting a telling off from the landlord? Take inspiration from our non-permanent garden ideas that will give your rented outdoor space an update.

Rented garden ideas

If you have permission from your landlord, there are some brilliant budget garden ideas that will boost your outdoor space without breaking the bank. However, if you don't, these rented garden ideas will serve you well if you're not able to make any permanent changes.

Take inspiration from our non-permanent and simple ideas to give your rented garden an update.

1. Add a portable garden bar

small garden with palette bar

(Image credit: Future Plc/Tim Young)

For those handy with a power tool, this is a simple and inexpensive DIY job that will turn your garden into a social haven. Dismantle a palette, saw it in half and reassemble it with a hinges and strong chains, so that it can drop open and fold shut.

Make sure your bar is safely secured to a wall and sturdy enough to hold bottles of your favourite tipples. Then place a flat surface to serve from and pretty glassware. Do check with your landlord first that they are happy for you to attach things to the wall.

Voila, sundowners at the ready!

2. Introduce a standalone herb garden

herb garden with flower pot

(Image credit: Sadolin)

If it's easier to leave the flowerbeds as they are, introduce a standalone herb garden idea that you can take with you when you leave.

The added bonus of one like this, is not just that it looks charming and unique. It barely costs anything to do either. Scour Freecycle or Gumtree for an old table to upcycle and give it a lick of outdoor paint in a bold colour.

It's a win-win - you've saved a perfectly good piece of furniture from landfill, made an attractive trough and you'll have fresh herbs for making tasty meals.

'I added a herb garden to my rented London flat with a window box,’ says Millie Hurst, Ideal Home’s Senior Content Editor. ‘I picked up a tray of six fresh herbs at Homebase over the Easter weekend and planted them up on the window ledge in the kitchen.

'I love opening the window and grabbing some fresh oregano while cooking, or picking some mint for a fresh mint tea.’

3. Make the space look bigger with a mirror

garden with brick wall and table chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Lizzie Orme)

Think of your garden as an outdoor room and give the illusion of increased space with a wall-hung garden mirror idea. If your garden or patio is dark it will make it feel brighter too, as it will reflect any sunlight it does get.

Choose a mirror with a frame that is made with robust materials, such as steel, so it can withstand the British weather. Or make sure you have a shed or somewhere to store it during the winter.

4. Relax in a swinging chair

swinging chair

(Image credit: B&M)

One of the hottest pieces of outdoor furniture, the swinging egg chair is a great addition to a garden or patio. B&M's rattan version is so popular it flew off the shelves again when it was relaunched earlier this year. 'An egg chair is a great statement piece to make a rented outdoor space feel more stylish without making any permanent changes,' says Rebecca Knight, Ideal Home Deputy Editor. 'I invested in the Aldi egg chair this year to give the balcony of my rented apartment an on-trend twist.'

Many other retailers, such as Cox & Cox or Made have similar styles, so bag one for your space. Accessorise the area with rattan plant pot stands, then kick back and relax.

5. Put up a party tent

garden with Tent

(Image credit: Raj Tent Club)

If it's not possible to install a permanent pergola to create shade in your garden, there's an attractive alternative. if you want to beat a retreat from the sun's glare, put up a traditional-style tent or gazebo.

A heavy cotton canvas number like this can withstand a summer shower. So could stay up for the length of the school holidays, providing a place for kids' parties or playdates and casual soirees.

6. Hang a hammock

hammock swing with garden and pillows

(Image credit: TBC)

If you're lucky enough to have a large mature tree in your garden, hang a hammock from its branches. Make sure the branches are sturdy enough to take the weight of whoever will be hanging in the hammock. and secure it properly, so as not to damage or snap any branches.

Once the sensible stuff is out of the way, you'll have the perfect spot for reclining in the dappled sun. No tree? No worries, there are plenty of hammocks available with their own stands.

7. Pretty it up with a parasol

garden with parasol

(Image credit: East London Parasol Company)

If it's not possible to attach an awning or pergola to a rented home and you'd like some shade in the summer. Bring a touch of Bali to your back garden with a pretty parasol instead. This one from the East London Parasol Company (opens in new tab) will add a taste of the tropics and some light relief when the sun is at its hottest.

Choose outdoor furniture and cushions that coordinate with the colours for the greatest effect. The best bit is you can move it around if you need to - and take it with you when you move on.

8. Invest in potted plants

garden with potted plant pot stand and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC /Ti-Media)

A few potted plants can transform a concrete yard into a peaceful oasis. Just be careful not to get too ambitious with your pot plant choice. While a small tree in a hefty terracotta pot might look lovely now, think about how you are going to move it when your lease is up. Elevate smaller pots on side tables and wooden stumps to add height.

9. Decorate the space with home furnishings

outdoor garden with hanging potted plant bulb lighting and sofa with cushions

(Image credit: Future PLC /Ti-Media)

As with the interiors of a rented house it's hard to make it feel like home when you can't undertake big decorating projects. In this instance a splash of colour can go a long way to make it feel more like your own.

Using outdoor rugs and shower-proof soft furnishings to invigorate a rented garden is one of or favourite easy garden ideas. This way, you can give the space a hint of your own personal style and an injection of personality.

10. Grow vegetables in an alternative planter

modular planter with white chair wooden table

(Image credit: Homebase)

Join the grow your own revolution, even as a renter. If you are keen to try growing your own, but not sure your landlord would like you digging up their garden consider investing in a planter. You can pick up some clever vertical planters from Homebase (opens in new tab) that are perfect for growing herbs and tomatoes – without using the garden grounds at all. Alternatively, you can start small with a Vegebag (opens in new tab), which won Chelsea garden product of the year 2020.

Buy now: Modular Planter Set, £50, Homebase (opens in new tab)

11. Make accessories moveable

garden with sofa cushions flowering plant and wood stack

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Firepit ideas have morphed from being a Love Island-inspired trend, to a garden staple. In the volatile British weather we could argue that they're almost a garden essential. The beauty of a fire pit is the freestanding nature, meaning they are the ideal design for renters because they risk no damage to the garden. Get one that is elevated from the ground and easy to move, for when the time comes to move to pastures new.

12. Add a decorative garden screen

garden with garden screen white cushion flowering plants

(Image credit: Screen with Envy)

Garden screens are an ideal solution to revamp your outdoor space. They offer a decorative touch but also privacy in small garden or terraces, and can also be used to cover up unsightly bins.

You can opt for a simple willow screen or something more spectacular like one of these from Screen With Envy. Priced at about £100 they come in a range of designs from Moroccan geometrics to floral prints. When it's time to move on they can easily be taken with you.

Buy now: Moucharabiya garden screen, £100, Screen with Envy (opens in new tab)

13. Add atmosphere with lighting

garden with wooden dinning table chair and glass door

(Image credit: Future PLC /Lizzie Orme)

Fairy lights or solar-powered lighting are an affordable way to add some ambience to your garden. Try weaving fairy lights through a garden screen or stringing them across a garden table for a striking garden lighting idea.

This brings a magical touch and enables you to enjoy your garden after dark.

14. Hang baskets of beautiful blooms

exterior of house with hanging basket and flowering plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

Hanging baskets will make any garden look impressive, front or back. They can add a pop of colour to any doorway or patio. Fill them with succulents, herbs and sturdy green plants for a modern look that is easy to care for. Just be sure they are well supported where you choose to hang them, to avoid causing any damage should they fall.

15. Decorate the fence

garden with wooden fence suspended planters and white flowering plant

(Image credit: Future PLC /Lizzie Orme)

If your landlord is happy enough to let you paint the fence – great, but if it's a stretch too far you will have to think outside the box. A low cost, low effort and non-permanent way to revamp tired-looking fence panels is an injection of bright colour.

Use these homemade planters and tealight holders for inspiration, all made from upcycled tin cans simply secured to the fence with a detachable wire fastening. A great way to add colour and ambience to pretty up the perimeter of a rented garden.

16. Level with freestanding furniture

corner of garden with potted plant stone wall and lantern

(Image credit: Colin Poole)

Use this savvy ladder storage idea to conceal a less than attractive corner of your rented garden. When growing a climbing plant is not an option use this clever solution to fill the space with potted plants, decorative garden trinkets and lanterns to add a personal touch.

Will you be updated your rented garden with these simple tips?

Can you change the garden in a rented house?

This will depend on the terms of your lease, however, it is unlikely that you will be able to make any changes to the garden. Unless you agree on permission to do something with the landlord. If the garden needs some love, it's worth speaking with the landlord and discussing your ideas. They may be receptive to anything that is beneficial to them in terms of improvements.

However, if the garden is already established, you may have to do what you can with portable or temporary ideas that you can remove or take with you when you leave.

How do you garden when renting?

How do you garden when renting? You garden smart, that's how. Renting restricts how much you may be able to do to the grounds, depending on what your relationship is like with your landlord. In most instances, a landlord would be happy for the tenant to take on any garden maintenance, such as mowing the lawn and cutting back the hedges – to save them the job. But in terms of gardening, you may be limited and therefore you need to seek savvy ways to do so.

Growing vegetables in freestanding planters is an ideal way to grow your own without digging a veggie patch. It also opens up the possibility of living off the land, even if that land is a balcony in a second-floor flat or a small courtyard. in a city centre. For the main part, garden in pots that you can enjoy in the space but can take with you when you move – because gardening isn't cheap, so be careful not to effectively waste money on a garden you may leave behind.

How can I make my rented garden look good?

You can make a rented garden look good by adding a touch of your own personality to the space. A cost-effective way to do so is with a garden furniture set, outdoor rugs and soft furnishings that will make the space highly useable no matter how well planted it is. Carry out a quick clean up, a spot of weeding and deadheading can go a long way to tidy the garden up without the need to spend any money. If you're looking to add plants to a rented garden make sure they are in pots that can be easily transported when you move.

Rebecca Knight
Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend. 

With contributions from