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Simple Layout and Design Ideas for a Small Garden

Check out these tips and tricks to make the most of a mini outside space

Houzz UK Editorial Staff. I’m a freelance journalist with more than 13 years’ experience… More

Planning the design of your small garden? Take some tips from the designers of these tiny plots to find inspiration for making the most of your space.

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Expand your horizons
A series of horizontal lines that run around the walls of a room can make the space feel larger, and this trick can be just as effective in a garden.

Lead the eye around your plot to give the illusion of size by installing horizontal slatted fences, rather than vertical ones.

The narrow lines on the wooden fences here create interest and draw your gaze up and around the perimeter of the small garden.

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Throw in some curves
A similar idea for drawing the eye around a garden is to incorporate curves. The lack of sharp edges will create a never-ending line that doesn’t stop and start.

This small circular area of gravel looks soft and sweeping, and the garden feels cosy, but not cramped.

Tempted to revamp your outside space? Find garden designers in your area

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Raise your game
If you want to plant more in your tiny garden, design your borders with layers. The raised beds on this roof terrace are staggered in order to fit in plenty of bright foliage plants and wispy grasses.

The layers also give the area added interest, which lifts the vision away from the patio and again creates the illusion of space.

Check out why your contemporary garden will look ace with straight edges

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Create zones
Just because your plot’s small doesn’t mean you have to limit how you divide it. In this garden, the designers have managed to include two seating zones, as well as ample planting and a lawn area.

The wooden bench at the far end of the space provides a focal point and makes it seem as if there’s more going on beyond.

The lawn is surrounded by plenty of flowers and greenery, but the designers have limited the variety and colour of plants used so the look isn’t too busy.

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Fashion an outdoor room
If your outside space is limited, it could make sense to look at it as an extension of your interior, rather than a separate garden.

The decked surface of this small courtyard leads out from the kitchen through wide patio doors. The simple design is low maintenance, with plenty of greenery provided by bamboo, hedging and palms.

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Step it up
A simple way to add interest to your small garden is to include some steps in the layout. The differing levels will give the space some depth and character. By punctuating the journey through the garden with steps, you’ll encourage people to slow down and take it all in.

The levels in this small plot have been cleverly designed with a few different yet coordinating materials to give personality to the space without it appearing cluttered.

Tell us…
How would you lay out your small garden? Share your ideas and photos in the Comments section.
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