If you have a small outdoor space, it can be difficult to imagine it as a thriving garden. You might be used to seeing big gardens full of different plants with focal points like towering trees. However, there are plenty of ways to maximise space in your small garden and fill it with life.
Choose the right plants
Growing smaller plant varieties can help you fit more species in a smaller space, giving you diverse planting and a more full look. A lot of plants have compact or dwarf varieties that stay smaller and don’t spread out too much. Here are some plants with smaller varieties:
Alternatively, you could choose plants that never get too big in the first place. This can include small perennials and bulbs. Here are some examples:
Making use of vertical space
What you might be lacking in floor space, you can definitely make up for by taking advantage of vertical space. There are loads of different ways to do this to maximise your garden space.
Trellises and arches
Including trellises or arches in your garden can add a nice contrast in levels which boosts the design element of the space. An arch can make your garden look really elegant and looks particularly nice in an informal or cottage-style garden. There are loads of different climbing and trailing plants that can be grown over these structures, such as:
Fences and walls
As well as using free-standing trellises and arches, you can attach trellises to your fences and walls to make the most out of the existing structure in your garden. Having plants growing over the outskirts of your garden helps to make it feel much more lush and full of plant life. This method of vertical gardening adds dimension and texture while optimising how much sunlight the plants can get. Because of this, fences and walls are great for growing sun-loving plants like climbing hydrangeas.
Repurposing an old ladder is a great way to add some height to your garden and save space. Putting container plants on different steps of a ladder allows you to fit loads more plants in a small space. Using this method to create a display of trailing plants can be really effective. You could combine potted plants with decorative elements for a nice display which can add a lot of charm and character to your garden. If you use a ladder that can lean against the wall, this saves even more floor space!
The added bonus of this technique is easy access to the plants to take care of them. This can be really useful for people who struggle to bend down for plant maintenance.
Installing some shelves can help to maximise your outdoor space. You can use them as storage to clear away anything taking up floor space – like spare pots or tools – or you could display plants on them. Whatever you use them for, it saves that space elsewhere in the garden.
You can make the most out of your shelves by adding some hooks to the bottom of them. On these, you can hang your tools or some trailing plants. This is another good way to save space and create a nice garden display.
Hanging baskets are a classic way of displaying garden plants, and they’re great for maximising your outdoor space. Growing your plants in hanging baskets frees up the space they would have otherwise taken up in the ground or around your garden. They’re traditionally used for vining plants and flowers, but have more recently been used to grow a wide range of plants including herbs and strawberries.
Not only do hanging baskets save space, but they also do a great job of adding dimension to your garden design and making a small outdoor space appear lush and full of plant life.
Making use of containers
Growing plants in containers means you can move them around however you want to maximise space in your garden. Containers also limit how much the root system can grow, meaning less risk of your plants outgrowing their space.
Containers can also be placed on shelves, steps, and other areas that wouldn’t usually have much greenery to save space and bring more life to your garden.
If you want some more information on vertical gardening, click here for our article on its many benefits and some tips to get you started.
Using every corner
The corners of gardens often go unused, which is a shame when they hold so much potential. The corners of your garden can be transformed into appealing and functional spaces. Incorporating an L-shaped bed is an excellent way to utilise empty corners and fill them with greenery. You could also use a corner for seating with vertical garden structures on the walls behind the furniture, adding functionality and greenery all at once.
Maximising space in your vegetable garden
Plant in raised beds
Planting crops in raised beds means you can plant rows closer together as you won’t need space to walk between them. Raised beds make it easy to simply lean over to the area you want to work on. They can also help to save space as they limit how much your plants grow by keeping the root system contained.
If you want to read more about this, click here for our introduction to raised bed gardening.
Use high-yield plants
When you’re growing vegetables, the best way to get the most out of your space is to grow high-yield plants. They will take up the same amount of room while producing more food for you. Here are some examples of high-yield vegetables for you to grow:
Expand your garden into your home
Making use of your indoor space can help to free up some space outside. Besides regular houseplants, there are also some bits of a kitchen garden that can actually be grown in your kitchen – or anywhere you like. Herbs are great to grow on windowsills, especially in the kitchen where you can grab a bit to use in your cooking. Here are some herbs that you could grow indoors:
There are also plenty of other foods you can grow in your home. For example:
Smart furniture choices
If you want garden furniture, but you’re working with a smaller space, there are some ways around this. For example, you could use stackable furniture – like stools – so that you can easily put it away and make room for other activities. This also applies to foldable furniture, like chairs or loungers.
Having multi-purpose furniture can also help to maximise space. Storage benches are a great example of this; they give you somewhere to sit while tidying away other things that might be taking up space around your garden. For example, you could store tools or bags of compost that might take up a lot of room elsewhere.
Gardening in a small outdoor space can be very fulfilling if you know ways to maximise garden space. Hopefully these tips have given you some ideas to bring your own small garden to life.