16 Brilliant Ideas for Small Backyard Gardens (2024)

A small garden space doesn't mean you can't have the garden you want. Here are our favorite ideas for small garden ideas, including small patio garden ideas, to help you maximize your space!

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Create an Outdoor Room

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Turn a tiny patio into a gorgeous outdoor room by adding a freestanding pergola. Here, a small wooden pergola was constructed over a gravel patio and enhanced with a teak seating arrangement. The pergola creates a sense of enclosure and makes the patio seem much larger than it is.

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Go Gravel

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Crushed brick or gravel is a beautiful, low-maintenance paving option for small gardens. It's also easier to use and less expensive than brick or flagstone. Make sure to spread a layer of landscape fabric underneath the gravel to keep weeds from popping through. On this California hillside, the gravel also allows rainfall to percolate through to the soil instead of running off down the incline.

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Capitalize on Trees

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If you have large trees with bare spots underneath them, why not put the barren ground to use by creating an outdoor living space? In this small garden, several trees made growing a lawn or flower border impossible. So, the homeowners paved part of the area with flagstone and added a table and chairs.

Small Garden Tip: When working under a large tree, leave any exposed roots alone and never raise the grade around the base of the tree.

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Install a Pond

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You don't need a huge backyard to have a water garden. In fact, installing a water garden is a great way to handle low or wet spots in your garden. Just dig out the area, add a pond liner and pump, and you're on your way. Even a tiny oasis will attract a wide range of colorful butterflies and birds. In this garden, Water Snowflake, Nymphoides humboldtiana, a small relative of water lily, provides color in tight quarters.

Double Your Pleasure

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Get twice the flowers and vegetables in your small garden by adding a trellis or low fence behind every planting bed. That way, you can grow vine crops vertically, so they won’t sprawl over their plant neighbors. In this narrow garden bed, a trio of rustic wooden trellises supports flowering vines at the back of the perennial border.

19 Beautiful Trellis Ideas Turn Your Yard into a Private Escape

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Choose Trees for Small Spaces

A small yard doesn't mean you can't have a gorgeous tree. See these shade-providing beauties that can squeeze into small spots.

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Welcome Wildlife

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Even a tiny garden can become a haven for birds and butterflies when you choose flowers they prefer. For example, this square bed is packed with bird and butterfly favorites, such as black-eyed Susan and phlox. A bird feeder and birdhouse add to the garden's wildlife-friendly features.

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Add a Mowing Strip

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Keeping turf grass from encroaching on your garden beds is much easier when you install a mowing strip at the border's edge. This mowing strip was designed to keep weeds at bay and act as a low-maintenance garden path. It also provides easy, mud-free access to the garden for wheelbarrows, mowers, and other equipment.

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Eliminate Lawns

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Put every square inch of your backyard to work by removing the sod to create useable outdoor living spaces. In this small courtyard, the turf was torn up and replaced by a gravel base that supports a gorgeous dining table and flower-filled containers. Plus, the homeowners have more time to enjoy the space because they no longer have to mow.

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Add Drama

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Give small gardens a big style boost by adding an oversized gate or arbor at one end to act as a focal point. It will draw the eye in and make the space seem larger. Here, a large-scale ornamental entry arbor gives this tiny side yard some visual heft. Plus, it supports a crown of climbing roses. White lilies in the center bed mirror the white roses and arbor.

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Curve Walkways

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One way to create a sense of space in a small garden is to put some curves into your garden paths. A slightly meandering walkway is always better than a straight path because it will give visitors the sense that they are traveling through a large landscape. Just be sure to make your path wide enough for two people to walk side by side comfortably. This curved path is especially appealing because a ribbon of tile separates each slab of concrete.

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Rely on Pots

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Enjoy your own corner of paradise by packing your small garden with pots and planters overflowing with flowers and fragrant herbs. In this luxurious backyard, pots of geranium (scented and standard) and marguerite daisy provide the bulk of color surrounding a welcoming teak bench. A large terra-cotta bowl acts as a reflecting pool and birdbath.

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Consider the Seasons

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When you plan your garden, think about how it will look in all four seasons. Many yards look terrific in the spring and early summer, but by fall, they fade. Choose perennials and annuals that offer late-season color and shrubs and trees that bear colorful berries or interesting bark in the winter.

A bevy of tulips in this tiny front border provides plenty of spring color. After they fade, summer beauties such as geranium and verbena replace them. Holly shrubs, which flank the front door, develop showy red berries that keep the landscape looking good after frost.

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Rehab a Shed

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If the view from your backyard faces an ugly shed or garage, think about incorporating it into your garden design. Unfortunately, the only view was the homeowner's ugly garage on this narrow lot. But with a can of paint and an inexpensive French door, they turned this ugly duckling into a swan. In fact, they were so happy with the transformation they added a Mediterranean-style patio right up against the new garage doors.

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Color Your World

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Shady backyards are a great place to spend a hot summer afternoon, but they can sometimes be a bit dark and dull. Brighten the view with colorful pillows, fabrics, outdoor rugs, and pots in various colors and patterns. This shady deck is now a colorful spot for family fun.

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Camouflage Trash

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Nothing ruins the view in a small backyard faster than a set of garbage cans blown over in the wind. Instead of having your garbage in plain sight, build a wooden surround to keep them contained. Here, a set of stylish wooden panels camouflages the homeowner's garbage with a bit of space left for bags of potting soil and extra garden tools. When the gate panel is closed, everything is completely hidden.

Absolutely, let's break down the concepts and ideas presented in the article about maximizing small garden spaces:

  1. Create an Outdoor Room: Utilize a small patio effectively by adding a freestanding pergola. The pergola creates a sense of enclosure and makes the space appear larger.

  2. Go Gravel: Using crushed brick or gravel as a paving option for small gardens. It's low-maintenance, cost-effective, and allows rainfall to percolate through to the soil.

  3. Capitalize on Trees: Make use of bare spots under large trees by creating outdoor living spaces like seating areas with tables and chairs, using materials like flagstone.

  4. Install a Pond: Even in small spaces, a water garden can be incorporated by digging out an area, adding a pond liner and pump. It attracts wildlife like butterflies and birds.

  5. Double Your Pleasure: Use trellises or low fences behind planting beds to grow vine crops vertically, saving space and preventing sprawl.

  6. Choose Trees for Small Spaces: Opt for shade-providing trees suitable for compact areas.

  7. Welcome Wildlife: Plant flowers that attract birds and butterflies, making a tiny garden a haven for them.

  8. Add a Mowing Strip: Installing a mowing strip at the border's edge helps keep turf grass from encroaching on garden beds, acting as a low-maintenance garden path.

  9. Eliminate Lawns: Removing sod and replacing it with alternative bases like gravel creates functional outdoor living spaces and reduces maintenance.

  10. Add Drama: Incorporating oversized elements like gates or arbors as focal points can visually enlarge a small garden space.

  11. Curve Walkways: Creating meandering paths instead of straight ones gives a sense of spaciousness, using materials like tiles to delineate the path.

  12. Rely on Pots: Utilizing pots and planters filled with flowers and herbs to create a lush garden in limited space.

  13. Consider the Seasons: Selecting plants that offer visual interest throughout the year, including late-season color, winter berries, or interesting bark.

  14. Rehab a Shed: Transforming an unattractive shed or garage into a visually appealing part of the garden through simple renovations and additions.

  15. Color Your World: Brightening up shaded areas with colorful accessories like pillows, fabrics, outdoor rugs, and pots.

  16. Camouflage Trash: Concealing unsightly items like garbage cans with stylish wooden panels or surrounds to maintain the aesthetic appeal of the garden.

Each idea contributes to optimizing space and aesthetics in small garden areas, providing functionality while enhancing the overall appeal of the space.

16 Brilliant Ideas for Small Backyard Gardens (2024)
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