Small Garden Design

Simplicity is the key to getting the most from small garden designs. Choose a dominant bloom in a single color to add impact. Repetition of a few varieties of plants with one or two complimentary colors will enable you to create a lush, yet uncluttered space. While simplicity is key, dare to be different in your shape, elevation, and textures.

Many small garden designs are confined to straight lines: straight edges, borders, walkways, and plant rows. While straighter, cleaner lines work well if you plan on using the space for formal entertaining, gardens designed with curving lines offer a more informal feel and add a sense of flow and graceful movement to your landscape. Small garden designs with diagonal elements give the illusion of larger area, as the eye moves from corner to corner. Here are some pointers to follow:

Make use of your vertical space. On vertical surfaces like walls and fences, try using climbing plants and ornaments that offer pizzazz and vertical interest. Fences and walls can also provide arenas for hanging plants. Climbing vines on a trellis and ornamental grasses can soften boundaries while offering year-round appeal.

You can also create new height with taller character shrubs and trees. Add a focal point, such as a small trellis or birdhouse, fountain, birdbath, or hanging planter on a wrought iron stake.

Consider a design that has curved and/or diagonal elements. Again, curves add flow, motion, and often the illusion of bigger space.

Choose light outdoor furniture that ‘breathes’ and complements your garden and lifestyle.

Add lighting to highlight special areas, offer nighttime appeal, and promote safety.

Less is more: proportion the number of different plants and colors to avoid a cluttered look. Too many different elements can make gardens and especially small gardens seem cluttered and just thrown together.

Other tips? Dividing a small garden with an arbor, trellis, or bench creates a focal point and makes your garden look more spacious at the same time. Use different elevations and plant heights to diversify a small area; this can be as simple as adding a raised bed. Elements with dual functions are perfect for small gardens: a sitting area with steps offers a height element as well as an natural plant stand.

If there is enough room for a larger shrub or small tree, feel free: they can offer lovely focal points and are perfect shelters for lower-lying plantings and ground covers. The most important factor in small gardening design? Use your imagination to create a beautiful, eye-catching, natural space.