The Best Small Garden Layout Ideas - Backyard Boss
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The Best Small Garden Layout Ideas

People who grew up surrounded by nature have a hard time adjusting to small gardens, but all is not lost. Sure, designing a small garden is a challenge, but it isn’t impossible. With a touch of creativity to maximize space and get the plant choices right, there are many small garden ideas to help inspire you.

Many people think small gardens have no potential and are often overlooked, but even small gardens provide the same health benefits that big gardens provide. It’s true that small gardens require a lot more thought than bigger gardens, but it’s totally achievable. An advantage of small gardens is that they’re low-maintenance because of their size!

Whether you’re dealing with narrow spaces, a cramped backyard, or asymmetrical layouts, the possibilities of transforming your small garden into a dreamy getaway are endless! With the right design, a careful selection of plants, and a creative layout, your small garden could turn heads.

8 Best Small Garden Layout Ideas

1. Look for Compact Plants and Mid-Sized Trees

There is a wide variety when it comes to trees and plants suitable for smaller gardens. However, there are a few things to consider beforehand. First, you have to make sure that the trees reach no higher than 26ft. Moreover, you should consider their spread – if you are very limited on space, it is better to get a columnar tree. You should also take into consideration what your season of interest is. If you don’t particularly care about the warm autumn look and don’t want a leafless tree throughout the winter, an evergreen is a choice for you.

2. Vertical Gardening Saves Space

Vertical gardening has its pros and cons, but the benefits heavily outweigh the negatives. When it comes to smaller spaces, all gardeners agree that it is one of the best solutions. A vertical garden is beautiful and it saves space. It’s perfect for a very narrow yard or even a balcony. They are very versatile and mobile. If you are unhappy with the positions of certain plants it’s all a matter of a few minutes and very little fuss. There are many designs you can use, some as simple as a wooden pallet.

3. Use a Vertical Trellis for Vines to Create Extra Privacy

Adding onto the vertical gardening comes the vertical trellis. Sometimes having a fence can take up much more space than you wanted it to. However, you can have both privacy and a beautiful vertical garden using trellises and vines. Placing them around your yard will not only make it look like a garden out of a fairytale but will also ensure that no one can sneak a peek in.

4. Define Your Garden With Clear Paths and Curves to Make it Look Orderly

If you have a small garden you cannot let it be messy. This will make it look a lot smaller than it is. Rather, use clear paths and clean curves, to achieve an orderly look. Small paved paths can work wonders in smaller gardens.

5. Choose Minimalistic Outdoor Furniture to Save Space

As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to clutter up your small garden. However, it is always a great idea to have somewhere comfortable to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. One of the best ways to do this is by using minimalistic furniture, like benches and a table. What’s best is that most outdoor benches can be combined with storage space underneath the seats. Another option is a bistro-like minimalistic table and chairs set.

6. Add a Minimalistic Water Feature Like a Freestanding Water Fountain

If you want to have a star of the decoration show in your garden, a freestanding water fountain is the way to go. While ponds and waterfalls are even more effective, they tend to take a lot more space away. Water features are usually unique, regardless of the big variety. However, there are a few cons to them; the primary one being that they can attract mosquitoes if they’re not maintained regularly. Moreover, they are quite expensive to design, install and maintain.

7. Keep the Color Palette Simple

While in bigger gardens a few shades of color may be okay and can add a certain charm to it all, the case is not the same for smaller gardens. Having many shades of color can make the garden feel cluttered and uninviting. This is why you should only limit yourself to 2-3 shades of different colors to match with nature’s colors.

8. Add Lighting to Tie it All Together

One of the best ways to bring your garden together is by adding lighting. You can use solar string lights or other standalone lighting features. However, it is important to remember the benefits of going green by using solar lighting. Solar lights come with minimum electricity bills, are better for the planet, and are low maintenance.

How to Design a Small Garden?

The smaller the space, the more difficult it is to choose a layout, design, and decorate it. This applies to gardens as well. Here are some things that you should consider when designing your small garden:

1. Use Garden Design Apps

In this day and age, it is only natural that we have an app for everything – garden design included. There are quite a few garden design apps to choose from, however, down below are our top contenders.


All you need to do is upload a picture of your garden. Then you can see the result after you have added all the desired design elements. They could include anything from flowerbeds to paving. It is one of the more popular apps among DIY-loving gardeners.

Home Outside

This app is more suitable for people who have a tad bit more experience. It lets you hand draw the elements right onto your garden. So if you are not that good in the drawing department, this may not be the best choice for you.

Home Design 3D Outdoor & Garden

The app allows you to plot out your space and add on from there. You can put in sheds, furniture, and plants. However, the free version will not allow you to save designs. So if you are very serious about your small garden makeover, getting the paid version is worth it.

2. Add Stylish Furniture

When it comes to outdoor furniture in a small garden, the best option would be to go for something small and simplistic. You could do a bistro-style table with chairs set, or a wicker weave one. You can also opt for a small two-seat couch and a coffee table. Even though our first instinct is usually to go big or go home, simplicity and smaller size have a lot of benefits too. It is important to remember that if you go with wicker furniture, you should always get high-density polyethylene wicker instead of its PVC counterpart.

3. Solar Lighting

There are a lot of advantages to using solar lighting. First of all, it is a great way to protect the environment because solar power is the best source of renewable energy. Moreover, maintenance is fairly simple, mostly because LED bulbs can work for 20+ years if they have been installed properly. Last, but best, you get no additional energy bills. Even though purchase and installation can cost you a bit, you quickly break even through the lack of electrical bills.

4. Garden Storage Area to Store Garden Tools

Everyone hates a messy room. Well, the same is true about messy gardens. You just don’t want to see your gardening tools scattered all over the place. There are many beautiful and versatile storage solutions for your tools. For example, you can make a simple tool rack, that can hang on your fence or you can incorporate storage in DIY benches. Another solution would be to create a tool holder out of a pallet. Last but not least, you can use a potting bench with a few shelves underneath.

Frequently Asked Questions About Small Garden Ideas

1. How can I design my small garden?

First and foremost, if you’re already low on space, utilize every nook and corner of your small garden. Designing a small garden requires that you create pathways to bring about an order, make use of vertical gardens, use minimalistic furniture and add plenty of light that doesn’t take up much ground space.

2. Can a small garden look beautiful?

Yes, absolutely! As long you control weeds and give your garden clear pathways, making it look beautiful is a piece of cake!

3. What color fence will make a small garden look bigger?

A cream or an off-white color will make a small garden look bigger. These colors will also provide a beautiful backdrop for your flowers and plants, especially with vertical gardens and trellises. This doesn’t mean that dark fences will make the garden look small.

4. What color flowers will look good in a small garden?

Red and green are a classic, but if you want to incorporate a few more colors that’ll match and complement each other, you can add purple, yellow, and white!

In Summary

Small gardens are often overlooked or given looks that do them no justice. However, people forget how beneficial they can be to our planet, our health, and our mood. This is why we have made a list of the eight best small garden layout ideas. Moreover, we threw in some apps that can help you plan the design of your garden.

Happy garden designing!