Small Garden Design Ideas and Inspiration

No matter the size of your outdoor space you can still create a functional and attractive outdoor space, limited space does not mean you are limited to what you can achieve in your garden. With new build properties and more of the population living in urban areas, we are not all lucky enough to have an abundance of outdoor space. We’ve put together a few tips and design ideas to help you maximise the use of your outdoor space. 

Petite and smaller spaces often require a little more thought and planning in order to really enhance the use of your outdoor space for your wants and needs. Don’t feel like you have to restrict what you can do in your space, you just need to make sure that everything within the garden has a purpose and where possible is multi-functional.

Tips for designing your own small garden

Having a smaller space is not a bad thing, in fact, due to their smaller stature they often require much less maintenance and less money invested to really make an immediate impact.

Take a look below at a few of our suggestions for really making an impact in your garden.


  • Firstly, decide on what you would like the main purpose for the space to be, if it is small choose one function that is important e.g. dining area or planting. This will help to stop it from feeling cramped and cluttered.
  • Think vertically, and save your floor space for a table or chairs by adding vertical planters. Take a look at our blog on vertical garden ideas and inspiration on how you can create and implement this effect into your space.
  • Choose a variety of plants, all in different sizes. By only adding smaller plants to try to add the quantity you may find that this will only help to emphasise the smaller size of your area.
  • Create a layered look, layers help to add the illusion of depth. Combining both raised beds, add height and the presence of foliage to make the space appear fuller.
  • Attract wildlife to help make the space look busy and encourage natural sounds to your area by adding feeders, take a look here to find out how to encourage wildlife to your garden.
  • Add plants to pots and planters, this makes things easier as you can move them around to make space for guests or bring them inside when the weather is cooler.
  • Use fences and walls for climbing varieties such as roses and honeysuckle to help create interest and extend the look of the length of your garden.
  • Invest in folding outdoor furniture which can be easily stored when not in use to create more space for other activities.
  • When deciding what the main function of your garden is, think about if a lawn is practical for what you are using your garden for, if you are mostly using it for dining then grass may be another expense that will require more maintenance.
  • Keep the colour palette simple as this will have more of a calming and spacious effect than lots of different coloured plants and pots peppered in the space.
  • Think about creating different levels. A sunken area in your garden can be used for seating with higher areas used for plants, even something as simple as adding a step onto your decking area can help add depth.

Best plants to add to a small garden

  • Harlequin hedging (Euonymus Fortunei) is an attractive plant that can be used as hedging and can be planted in small spaces and with regular clipping will form a low hedge.
  • Geraniums (in particular Geranium Rozanne) produce abundant blue flowers from May to September.
  • Other flowers that can be added include Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Hydrangea and Dahlia.
  • Boxwood hedges also create stunning focal points and can be clipped into different shapes and sizes.

Garden Accessories to add to a small garden

To add the final touches, depending on the amount of space you have left you can add garden accessories to help add sounds, textures and focal points to the space. A few of our favourites include:

  • Water features
  • Wind chimes
  • Foldaway furniture 

Multiple-use items e.g. rather than having a fire pit and a dining set, opt for a combined set where the table contains the fire. We have a range of these sets available at Holt Garden Centre, the Stockholm fire-pit dining set is one of our most popular.

Updating your garden, no matter how small, can help you find a place of sanctuary and create a purpose for your outdoor space. If you would like help choosing plants, or designing your own small garden, please feel free to pop instore and ask our friendly gardening team for help and advice.

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