21 Design Ideas for Small Gardens

The trend towards small gardens has increased with so many of us now living amongst the urban sprawl, in apartments and increasingly confined spaces. But luckily this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. It just means it’s important to maximise space and promote simple, elegant designs.

Here at Architecture Art Designs, we’re used to all manner of outdoor designs and along the way, we’ve learnt a few helpful tips. Here are just a few starters to help you get a sense of how to maximise space – thanks to Australian Outdoor Living’s garden designs section for providing us with many of these tips:

  • Curved edges actually increase your planting space so consider mandala or circular designs
  • Clear the clutter: if you’re seriously strapped for garden space, you’ll have to find another place to store your bikes, containers and cleaning products
  • Vertical gardens are a great way to transform your balcony and allow you to feature an array of plants.
  • Choose a few colours and stick with them. Because you’re strapped for space, a couple of well-selected colours will look far more effective than a hodgepodge of rainbow colours.
  • Keep it simple. Selecting simple shapes, materials, textures and plants will avoid the feeling of overwhelming.
  • Play eye tricks – Optical illusions aren’t just for kids. You can trick yourself and others through simple initiatives, such as creating different levels or a curved path or by simply laying paving/wooden panels diagonally.
  • Disguise/soften boundaries or borders with plants or shrubbery.
  • Create a focal point…if space is seriously limited, you might want to create a focal point. This might be on top of your garden table or a pot plant with a colourful centrepiece plant.

Even if you only choose to take on board a handful of these helpful points, you’ll be sure to notice a big difference. Adopting a few of these initiatives will have you spending more time in your outdoor living area and enjoying the space a whole lot more.

Below, you’ll find pictures that illustrate these points, 21 of them in fact. They’re amazing small garden design pictures to help you on your way to creating a beautiful outdoor space. Because a small garden can still be a lovely, tranquil space, even if it’s situated in the heart of a metropolis or perched on a tiny balcony or patio. Get started today and reap the rewards.

Strawberry in Window box

Group of pots together

Vertical garden

Hanging herb/veggie basket

Garden on top of dog house

Recycled pallet garden

Hanging Gutter Garden

Pot plants on fence

Window box on window sill

Raised garden bed

Movie projector in back yard

Ladder vertical space


Colour palette in garden

Half barrel

Herbs between stepping stones

Birds eye view

Grey cushion, shrub border

Water feature and pebbles

Vertical wooden herb garden


Tags: borders, boundaries, clear the clutter, colours, curved edges, design ideas, eye tricks, focal point, small gardens, vertical gardens

Author: Maja Markovski


A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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