With more people living in small city homes, nowadays, having your own garden or private outdoor area is often viewed as a luxury. However, when trying to get the most from your outdoor space, you may be unsure where to start – especially if you are limited for space and trying to design a layout that’s practical and looks good too.
Whether you want to enjoy the perfect family garden or create a little relaxing retreat, a few simple garden ideas and careful planning could improve your home by acting as an extension of your living space.
Small & Back Garden Ideas
No matter the size of your garden, there are lots of tricks you can use to make the most of the available space. Whether you have a small yard, a little balcony, or a large expanse of garden, you can create an area that is not only functional but also visually appealing.
However, what may work for a large garden may not be suitable for a small area. This is why landscapers and professional gardeners utilise a variety of tricks – including those below – to maximise space.
Ideas for Small Gardens
For little gardens, yards or balconies, there are some simple rules and small garden ideas you can follow to get the most out of your garden. This includes layout, furniture and the rule of three.
In terms of layout, in a small garden, using space effectively can make it practical and create the illusion of more space. You could consider utilising vertical space to maximise your garden by installing shelves, choosing hanging plants, or creating a living wall with fresh herbs. Alternatively, narrow raised beds can allow you to plant flowers or a mini vegetable garden without taking up too much space.
For a garden to be practical, it needs furniture. For a small garden, it may be a good idea to think about scale to avoid furniture taking up too much room. For example, a built-in bench or a small bistro set could provide enough seating, without dominating the space.
Using the rule of three may also help to make your small garden feel more open. This means choosing groups of three, such as colours, raw materials and accessories, to create a garden that’s well designed and avoids it becoming cramped.
Ideas for Back Gardens
With a bigger garden, you may feel unsure about how to manage and plan a large space, but there are many back garden ideas that can provide help and inspiration. To get started, you could consider layout and function, flowers and plants, and focal points.
With a large back garden, breaking up the area and thinking about layout can help you to get more out of the space. To begin, you could consider what you need from your garden. Do you require a space for children to play? Do you like hosting family gatherings? Or would you like to become more self-sufficient and grow your own vegetables? By dividing areas, you can create a garden that is multifunctional. This could include a grassed area for children, decking or a patio for relaxing and dining, or a polytunnel for fruit and vegetables.
Flowers can also be used as a way to separate a garden while adding to its overall look and feel. You could line pathways with raised flower beds, create features with climbers and arches, or add relaxing scents to a seating area with herbs.
Finally, creating a focal point can help to draw the eye up and across the space, providing an anchor in a big garden. You can do this in numerous ways, from adding a sculpture or a large tree, to using colour in your flower beds or seating area.
Make the Most of Your Outdoor Area
No matter the size of your garden, there are many ways to create a space that is functional and inviting. Consider using these small garden ideas for modest spaces, or back garden ideas if you have a large garden, to make the most of your outdoor area.
For more help, RHS can provide style and layout inspiration, or read our Self Sufficient Living guide and invest in a polytunnel to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home.