Small Garden IdeasSee how gardeners around the country have created wonderful gardens in small spaces
Small gardens have a lot more potential than you realize. Whether dealing with a long narrow space behind a vintage home, a cramped backyard that lacks privacy, or a shabby garden at the rear of a brownstone the possibilities are endless. So don’t write off your 40-foot by 20-foot outdoor area just yet — with the right design, it could be an incredible garden.
Browse photos of landscapes that make the most of limited space.
See how a designer made the most of this little, enclosed backyard.
Dress up your tiny garden with these ideas for gorgeous planters full of flowers, veggies and more.
Small Gardens That Feel Big
See how this homeowner created a garden in a long narrow space behind his vintage 1840s home in Philadelphia.
The clean lines of this minimalist landscape in Palo Alto, California reveal that less is more.
- Remember the importance of negative space, even a tiny courtyard or lawn can provide balance to a small garden.
- Include built-in seating in a corner to keep your garden from feeling crowded.
- Use a living wall to add lushness where ground space is limited.
- Step back and look at your yard with fresh eyes, then simplify and tidy.
- Even if your outdoor space seems overwhelming, pick just one thing that you most want to change.
- Think big. Ample pathways and gathering spaces are inviting, and large features are engaging in any size space.
- You can maximize the livability of a small yard by taking advantage of changes in terrain to segment the space into different living areas. Dividing a garden, even when small, often has the paradoxical effect of making it seem larger.
- In small gardens where space is too limited for major focal points, compose a series of mini views within the garden itself, offering interest in every direction while using plants to provide a framework.
- Divide the garden into outdoor rooms that echo and expand upon the home’s interior, giving both inside and out more purpose and making everything feel larger.
- If you plan to entertain groups, keep the furniture and plantings along the perimeter of the garden to allow for mingling in the center of the space.
- When selecting plants for a relatively small space, don’t go color crazy — stick with a more monochromatic scheme of cooler colors (such as blues, violets, yellows and silvery greens) — otherwise you may end up with a garden that feels close and confined.
- Don't forget lighting to extend the use of your yard well into the night.