As the warmer months begin, we all want to spend more time in our own private outdoor spaces, no matter their size. We know that not everyone has acres of space to completely transform their backyards, so we’ve compiled our favourite very small garden ideas on a budget.

Whether you’re looking to make a few changes or completely revamp your little private haven, take inspiration from our hints and techniques that will help you get the most out of your garden. Before that, take a look at some of our favourite small garden Instagram accounts that create beautiful visuals in whatever space they have.

Screenshots from Garden Inspiration Instagram accounts

Small Gardening and Landscaping Ideas
Small Garden Fence and Wall Ideas
Small Garden Deck and Patio Ideas
Small Garden Path Ideas

Small Gardening and Landscaping Ideas

Small garden with grass cultivated into shape

Shape it up - This is one of the simplest but most effective techniques to give your small garden a transformation. All you need is an afternoon and a shovel to cut your patch of grass into a defined, modern shape like a circle, square or a rectangle. 

Plant those perennials - The best way to create a garden that has plenty of colour is to plant a variety of perennials. Perennials are plants that are guaranteed to live for at least two years and are generally self-seeding. So with the right treatment they will spread year on year, making them a cost-effective way to fill your garden with life. Low-maintenance perennial plants include yarrow, nepeta, sedums and thyme. 

Grow your own - Section off an area to dig out some soil and create your own vegetable patch in the corner of your garden. Spring is the perfect time to prepare your soil and get it ready for sowing seeds. Chillies and legumes like runner beans are some of the easiest and cheapest vegetables to grow.  

Garden pond surrounded by rocks and greenery

Pond Life - A DIY pond is a lot cheaper and easier than you’d think to make at home. Collect large rocks to place in your pond to help encourage wildlife to use them as stepping stones and pebbles to be displayed around the edge. Then dig a hole, protect it with a liner and fill it with water. Ensure you put in some plants like pondweed to help it stay clear and healthy. 

Rewild it - If you want a garden that’s completely bursting with life, dig your lawn up and rewild it. Rewilding is all about the minimum amount of human intervention to encourage wildlife to thrive. 

To rewild your small garden, keep your path intact so you can move around but will your beds with wild flowers and plants to attract insects and pollinators. The more these bugs thrive, the more likely you’ll then see bigger animals like birds or bats enjoying themselves in your garden. You don’t have to let nature completely take its course either, check out our tips on rewilding your garden here.

Small Garden Fence and Wall Ideas

Greenery on a fence

Branch out - Would you love to have your own orchard on your wall within an arm's reach? This technique is known as espalier and was developed by the Romans. It allows you to control a tree’s growth with hooks and trellis fences. 

All you need to do is pick your favourite fruit and plant the tree at the bottom of your wall (try and ensure it’s south facing so you get lots of sun). Then with the right amount of pruning, you can make sure your tree only grows up and to the sides. 

Frame it - Attach pots to your fence or wall and plant some super-colourful plants in them. Once done, you can add some style to your garden by upcycling a vintage picture frame and placing it against your potted plant. This gives the effect of framing it like a picture and will be sure to create a centrepiece for your small garden.

Create a living wall - This is an upgrade on vertical planting. A living wall is essentially a year-round permanent display of plants that don’t need too much maintenance to thrive. To create one, buy or make a plant-friendly membrane to attach to a section of your fence or wall, then add greens that don’t need big root growth. You can then plant seasonal touches of colour whenever it pleases you.

Black is the new black - Add depth to your small garden by painting your fence black. It will provide a striking backdrop to all of your plants and transform furniture by helping them all stand out. 

Lights! Lights! Lights! - Attaching lights to your wall or fence gives your garden life as the sun goes down. It means you can enjoy the space you’ve worked hard on for longer. For a full range of ideas that suit any budget, take a look at our garden lighting blog here.

Colourful potting - Upcycle old tin cans of various shapes and sizes by painting them and attaching them to your wall. Fill them with the right soil and plants to create a stunning visual display. You can try and match your flowers to the plants they’re in, or go eclectic with a range of colours.

Magic Mirror - Create the illusion of more space in your garden instantly by attaching a large mirror to your wall or fence. You can find them in charity or vintage shops or if you have one at home, upcycle it! You can create an even more dramatic effect by ensuring it reflects any plants you have. 

Small Garden Deck and Patio Ideas

Vertical potted plants

Vertical potting - Love plant pots but don’t want them to dominate the space? Then all you need to do is plant them upwards instead. Buy a bunch of matching pots in decreasing size, plant them with the same flowers and then stack them on top of each other. 

Paddling pool herb garden - If you’ve always wanted a herb bed but have nowhere to plant them, use a child's paddling pool filled with soil and compost to plant your favourite vegetables. 

It can get very heavy once it’s full, so make sure it’s in the right spot when planting so you don’t have to move it! As a space-saver, it can then be stored away during the colder months.

Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise - Complement your plant pots by placing them on quirky floor tiles. This simple technique will add life to your patio or decking area. Mediterranean style tiles are ideal to accompany terracotta pots. Save on tiles by buying glass mosaics and grout to create your own colourful patterns at home. 

Cinder box planters - Cinder boxes are super easy to get a hold of and tend to be very cheap. To create a modern-style planter, you can build them on top of each other or create a unique shape that works for your garden space. The beauty of cinder boxes is that they’re very easily secured by liquid nails or rebars, so your planter can be made in less than a day. 

Living pallet table - Build your own DIY table from wood, but make sure to create a gap in the middle. This is where you can add soil and plant your favourite seasonal flowers for a stunning centrepiece throughout the summer months. 

A water feature - If you’re desperate for a water feature for your garden but don’t quite have the budget or space, then a bird bath is a cheap option that will attract plenty of attention from your local wild birds.

Candles lit on a garden patio

Don’t forget your candles - Outdoor lanterns are a perfect addition to your seating or patio area in the evenings. With the right candle forms, they allow you to create some beautiful light effects once the sun goes down and better yet, you can match them to your interior style.  

Outdoor rug - It may not be the first thing you think of for your patio, but a weatherproof outdoor rug is sure to give a pop of colour to your furniture area. Why not accessorise your garden even further and buy some matching weatherproof cushions?

Small Garden Path Ideas

A Maximalist garden

Go diagonal - If you’re looking to build your own garden path, a simple technique can help you give the illusion of more space in your small garden. All you need to do is lay your paving diagonally instead of square. If neatness isn’t your thing, create the same effect with diagonal crazy paving. 

Reuse those bricks - Got a pile of leftover bricks sitting in your garden? Lay them as a border around your plant beds to transform the look of your garden. The terracotta colouring will complement your plants and help make the space seem bigger. 

Uplight it - Line your path with solar-powered uplights that elevate your garden in the night and bring life to your summer evenings outdoors. You can even buy nature-inspired lights that look like plants or rocks that will blend into your garden during the day.

Wooden walkway - Using reclaimed wood like railway sleepers to make a path brings a rustic feel to your garden. These can be bought for a small price, just ensure you’ve treated each piece with non-slip paint to make them safe for standing on. To create your walkway, simply dig deep enough to put the wood in whole and embed your sleeper in the soil. 

Go maximalist - Where minimalism is all about getting rid of excess items, maximalism in your garden is all about over-the-top design features, colours, textures and patterns. Basically, forget ‘less is more’ because we’re going with ‘more is more’. To go maximalist in your garden, surround your path with tall growth plants and flowers like dahlias to create a vibrant look that won’t require much maintenance to thrive.

Discover more of our latest collection here, find your perfect outdoor candle holder here. If you want to read more about garden lighting ideas, click here.

Alex Wan