Are you planning some work to your back garden and need some ideas?
It’s been awhile coming but we are now going to visit your back garden with some great small garden ideas!
No matter how much space you’ve got out back there are always a few things we can do to make it a place that’s a joy to be in.
We spend so much time thinking about kitchens and bathrooms, choosing tiles and picking out appliances, that we often neglect our outdoor spaces.
Our gardens are precious.
They bring both life and value to our homes and should feel like an extra, outdoor room.
Living in a city means we need to make the most of every square meter, both inside and out.
Ok, gardens can be a lot of work – especially if you are not naturally ‘green-fingered’, but not all gardens are expensive and time consuming.
You don’t need a lot of tools, and your garden can even save you money if your grow your own fruit and vegetables!
Working with a small, back garden also gives you the opportunity to really focus your attention on one big idea.
After you go through this blog post your brain will be exploding with small garden ideas!
Here are some of our favourites to inspire you – it’s time to get your hands dirty!
Small Garden Ideas 01. Bathed in Nature
This first, playful example takes the outside room concept to another level.
Bathing outside is the ultimate luxury and you don’t need an expensive hot-tub or spa to do it.
You could upcycle a salvaged roll-top or even opt for a stainless steel or copper addition such as in this photo.
Obviously you will need a plumber to provide a hot water feed and some drainage, but this can be a great way to relax in private.
It is also useful for washing down grubby kids who have been rolling in the mud all day!
In the UK, you might want to include a large umbrella as well…
Small Garden Ideas 02. Sunken Seclusion
Privacy can be an issue, especially in a house in the city with the neighbours so close by.
Likewise it can be difficult to zone off certain functional areas in small, rectangular gardens where there is little scope for landscaping.
This example provides a solution to both of these problems.
Planting fast-growing and low maintenance plants such as bamboo creates a great natural privacy screen.
Bamboo also has the added benefit of gently swaying in the wind, providing a calming, ‘zen-like’ atmosphere.
Fitting seating areas against this green backdrop, a few steps down from the natural ground level as shown here, helps define this area more clearly whilst adding to the privacy of the space.
Small Garden Ideas 03. Framing Your Arguments
There is no reason why our gardens can’t contain structures of their own.
Simple framed off areas such as this help define sitting or relaxing areas, provide shade or shelter from the weather and present the opportunity for added greenery.
This project contains a floating ‘day-bed’ hung on chains from the timber framework, adjacent to an intimate outdoor dining area.
The laddered shelving between these areas and the house contains a vertical garden of pot plants and climbers, in turn acting as a subtle privacy screen.
Small Garden Ideas 04. Nocturnal Delights
In keeping with our concept of our gardens as an outdoor room, why not bring internal features of your home outside?
This high walled garden has been fitted with a timber deck and outdoor fireplace.
Apart from being a great way to keep warm on those crisp winter evenings, an outdoor fireplace provides a focal point for the garden.
This acts like an anchor for the design of your garden and informs the geometry of the decking and planting around it.
Consider how you might use your garden at night time as well as day.
You might also want to include low energy lighting such as the example here, or more subtle up-lights built into the deck or planters.
Small Garden Ideas 05. Making Connections
This is another great example of how effective a simply sunken area can be for zoning off a functional space, like an outside dining area.
However, what I really want to talk about here is the connection between the internal and external spaces.
As you can see in this photo, both the living area and a bedroom open out onto this outdoor patio.
Firstly, it is vital that your garden feels part of your home, rather than just a space behind the house.
Also, by making physical and visual connections between the inside and outside spaces, both areas become richer as a result.
Views out to the garden beyond help to bring the outside into the house, making the rooms feel larger and more expansive.
Likewise a visual link to nature, even a tiny garden, can provide a powerful psychological boost to the inhabitants – especially on those grey winter days!
Small Garden Ideas 06. A Place to Eat & Entertain
Even the smallest of gardens can become a great entertaining space.
This sunken courtyard garden is flanked by raised planting beds which cleverly incorporate built-in seating and a gas BBQ.
Having a cooking and eating space like this, directly off the main kitchen, will greatly increase your use of the garden.
Even on a cold night, if the BBQ is firing, it can be an enjoyable family experience.
I would also recommend a gas BBQ so that you can get straight into the cooking without having to mess about with charcoal and firelighters after a hard day at work.
Built in seating is also very effective in a really small space like this and the raised beds contain the greenery in neat, easily manageable strips to prevent it overpowering the usability of the space.
Small Garden Ideas 07. Gravel and Geometry
Gravel is another great, low maintenance option for a small garden space.
Aside from that satisfying crunch under-foot, and the fact that it doesn’t need mowing every couple of weeks, gravel can also be a great garden organiser.
This example is quite formal, but gravel borders and paths are a great way to separate and contain different areas of planting or function.
Due to the loose nature of gravel, it is also a great material to ‘mediate’ between two more solid objects such as a timber deck and a paved patio area.
Small Garden Ideas 08. A Garden to Stretch Out In
Now this is my idea of a relaxing garden.
A simple hammock, slung between two trees in a lush, green corner of your garden can provide an oasis of calm and relaxation on those rare summer days.
For me, nothing feels more indulgent than a cheeky afternoon nap, and I can think of no better place to take it.
Just make sure you fix your hammock securely and to something strong enough to take more than just your bodyweight – for when the kids or dog invariable jump on with you!
I also prefer the solid fabric hammocks rather than the net type shown here, if you can find them – they are just more comfortable.
Small Garden Ideas 09. Go Potty
Here is another great example of low maintenance, vertical garden ideas.
This is constructed very simply from steel reinforcement bars, welded together and allowed to rust nicely.
The terracotta pots each contain different herbs, and the location means it is easily accessible from the adjacent kitchen (herbs also give a great scent to the garden).
I also like how both the brick wall and timber fence are painted the same dark colour.
This brings them together visually into a single element and creates a nice backdrop for the green and red of the planting.
Small Garden Ideas 10. Veg Out
Nothing beats a good, old fashioned veggie-patch.
Growing vegetables is not as hard as you think and it can be immensely satisfying to eat your own produce.
You will need to experiment a bit to find what grows best and what you prefer, but this is a growing trend and there is a lot of help out there, both online and off.
Depending on the shape and depth of your garden, this could be a closed off area at the back or an integral part of your enjoyment of the space.
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit are not just cost-saving and nutritious – many also look great and smell amazing!
Small Garden Ideas 11. Be Materialistic
As with any design project, it pays to keep things simple.
And that’s the name of the game with this set of garden ideas.
You can have too many materials if you are not careful, and your garden could feel ‘busy’ and far from relaxing.
This project is a great example of a cohesive pallet of materials (and that includes the greenery).
The brick walls and rendered planter boxes are painted the same white colour, which complements the light coloured pebbles used about the plants themselves.
Likewise the brown tones of the timber decking, seating and benches sit very well alongside the adjacent limestone paving.
If you can, you should try and get small samples of all of the materials and paint colours (don’t forget the green of the plants) you plan to use and put them together beforehand to make sure they work.
I also really like the built in children’s sand-pit on this one – I might have to steal that idea for my own garden!
Small Garden Ideas 12. Turning Japanese
I just couldn’t resist including this in this set of garden ideas!
I am a pretty big Japanophile myself but I’m not sure even I would go this far.
This miniature Japanese garden contains a complete, albeit dramatically scaled-down, landscape.
It has been very meticulously created and maintained as you would expect, and contains a miniature temple, a lake complete with stone bridge, several bonzai trees and even a grassed over version of Mount Fuji.
If you are looking for a project, and have plenty of patience and time on your hands then this could be the one for you!
Bonus 01 – 80+ Small Garden Design Ideas
Bonus 02 – 70+ Best Small Garden Ideas For Small Spaces
Bonus 03 – 40 Small Garden and Flower Design Ideas 2017
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