Small garden ideas: 5 tips to maximise your outdoor space

We all love spending time in our outdoor spaces. Find out how you can make the most out of yours, even if it is on the smaller side

small garden space
(Image credit: The Solar Centre)

There’s a very exciting buzz in England at the moment. The sun is making more of an appearance each day, and barbeque season is upon us. This calls for one thing: spending less time inside and more time in our outdoor spaces. 

However, for those of us with gardens on the smaller side, it can be a worrying thought. Fretting over where everyone will sit, or whether your space will look as nice as your neighbours', is not how you should be spending your time. We’re here to share our favourite ideas for smaller garden spaces, so you can have the garden you want. 

However, before we begin, find out about 9 gardening trends you need to know about right now. 

1. Vertical growing 

Inside our homes, we make full use of the walls to hang pictures, mirrors and shelves - so why can’t we do the same with our gardens? Vertical growing is a wonderful way to fill your garden with gorgeous plants whilst not compromising on space. 

Many different types of plants, flowers and even vegetables work well in a vertical space, so you're not limited on what you can use. Plant them close to a wall or fence and watch them grow, or use a trellis if you need more structure.  

2. Be smart with your furniture 

Garden furniture is a great way to help you get the most out of your outdoor space. It not only serves as a space to spend time with family and friends, but allows you to create your own relaxation spot available to you at any time. Whilst furniture options can be slightly limited when you have a smaller garden, there are some great options you can go for that save on space whilst looking great at the same time. 

For example, folding garden furniture is super lightweight and can be easily tucked away into small areas of your garden (or even inside) when not in use. Another option is garden furniture with storage, such as a bench. Storage benches provide additional seating whilst also storing your tools, lights and extra cushions. Pretty smart! 

3. Use mirrors and light reflecting materials

Mirrors are a great addition to any small garden as they create an illusion of extended space.  Not only do they emphasise the beauty of your plants and flowers, but they can make it seem like you have double the amount. If you place a few mirrors on your walls in the shape of a doorway or window, it will seem as if the garden continues into another area!

They’re also useful for redirecting light to areas of your garden that need it most. If you have a space that is rather shady in some places, position your mirror accordingly so it redirects the light. 

4. Make use of pots!

Even if your garden isn’t big enough for flower beds, you can still bring beautiful plants and flowers to your space by using pots. 

This will enable you to plant them specifically to their needs, and mean you can move them around as you wish. You can also switch the plants you have in your pots as the seasons change, meaning you can have colour all year round. However, be careful with your watering technique!

5. Create a cosy atmosphere 

Using small lights on the floor or above a path can create depth, making it especially cosy in the evenings. Solar lights are also a great way to emulate this whilst saving on cost, however remember to place them in a suntrap during the day so they have enough energy to work at night. 

You can also add height to your garden in the evenings by entwining any tree trunks or trellises with solar powered string lights. This will continue to accentuate your garden’s space instead of it disappearing into the night!

Interested in how else you can make the most of your garden? Read our guide on maintaining and entertaining in your outdoor space this summer. 

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.