Your Year Around Flower and Garden Guide

Garden Design → Small Garden Designs

Small Garden Designs

Simplicity is the key to getting the most from small garden designs.

Choose a dominant cultivar in a single color to add impact and draw attention to particular details. Repetition of a few varieties of cultivars and one or two complimentary colors allows you to use lots of plants, while too much variety makes a small garden look cluttered and unkempt. This is also true of accessories you add to your garden.

Think outside of the box.

Many small garden designs are confined to straight lines, straight borders, straight walks, straight walls, and straight rows of plants. One look and you've seen it all! Put some attention-getting detail in your garden like a small birdhouse, feeder, birdbath, or hanging planter. Take full advantage of a fence or back wall. Fence posts can double as holders for hanging plants. Climbing vines on a trellis can soften boundaries and provide year round interest.

Keeping things in proportion is important in small garden designs. However, just because you have a small area, doesn't necessarily mean you have to use small plants. A large shrub or two may be a good place to under-plant some shade-loving cultivars in an otherwise sunny location.

Include forms and plants that offer vertical interest. Dividing a small garden with an arbor, trellis, or bench creates a focal point and makes your small space seem more spacious as well. Create a sense of depth with dark colored, rough textured plants to the front of your plantings and light colored, fine textured plants behind.

Create different levels to divide a small area.

This can be as simple as adding a raised bed. Elements that have a dual purpose are also wonderful for the small garden. For instance, creating a sitting area with steps, adds vertical interest and an extra place to display potted plants.

Small garden designs with a diagonal focus create the illusion of larger space as the eye moves from corner to corner. Use curves to making your small garden gradually unfold.

Although all of these ideas are good ones, probably the most important design rule for small garden designs is to forget perfection and use your available space to make an attractive, fully enjoyable small garden!