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How To Make a Small Garden Look Bigger (15 Ideas)

No one wants a small garden, but unfortunately we are not all lucky enough to have acres of land all to ourselves. This is why those of us who have smaller gardens should be clever about how we arrange and furnish them in order to create the illusion that they are bigger. Here are few ideas on how you can achieve the big garden we all dream of when you don’t have the luxury of a large space…

1. Prioritize.

Most people think that the more that is going on in a garden, the better and more adventurous it will look. However, less is definitely more when you are faced with a small garden and it is vital that you prioritize what is needed and what really isn’t. The most important thing to do is to decide what is an amenity to you and what is not. Anything that is not should not be included as too much in a minimal space results in disordered cluttered chaos.

2. Make a Plan.

Now that you hopefully have your priorities straight, make your plan. The most efficient way that you will achieve your vision will be by hiring a landscape architect, a garden designer or use garden design software to help you. However, there are also many different apps and websites available to help you to execute the layout you wish to create. With a plan, you are then able to make the most of your smaller outdoor space and you never know you might even find you have space for a hot tub.

3. Create Distinct Zones.

Garden patio with coverSimilar to indoor spaces being defined by room with distinct functions, the outdoors benefits from similar organising zones. An example of this could be, if you have a small garden with lawn furniture, garden swing set and say a grill – this will look cluttered. But, if you take that same small space and add a small patio to place the grill and furniture on suddenly, it all appears more inviting.

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By simply organising a deck, a low hedge or anything that separates elements will help the eye digest what it sees.

4. Use vertical space.

Fence gardensSmall your space may be, but most likely the sky’s the limit with the air space that you have. Using vertical space will help your garden claim this space for its own, enhancing the feeling of space it already has.

You can not only do this by using tall plants, but you can also actually grow things on surrounding walls to create emphasis on the height that already exists.

5. Clear a Pathway.

Garden pathA short and simple solution to creating space. Like looking at a road disappearing into the horizon, anything that draws your eye through spaces creates the impression that there is more of it, therefore, a path will definitely help with this.

6. Furnish to Scale.

Furnishing a small garden is all about scale. You do not want any bulky furnishings made of teak, it is a much better option to think of sleeker bistro furniture or cafe chairs. Another popular and much lighter furniture to use that will allow light and air to travel around and through it, creating a sense of dynamism and space would be rattan or wicker furniture.

These would be the best styles and types of furniture to use when furnishing your small garden.

7. Layer a Border Garden

Border garden with layersThis is a simple way to create and maximize space in your garden without encroaching on limited grass space by planting a flora of different heights. An example of this could be a dwarf cherry, this will give you a desired vertical element, but also preserves space below for other specimens of medium height.

The layered approach definitely allows you to plant more, without making your garden look cramped or crowded.

8. Construct Small Hedges

Small garden boxwood hedgeAgain, simple but effective, an enfilade of hedges or trellises will draw your eye through a small yard, creating the illusion of more space.

9. Create Curves

Small garden with curves

Like any spaces, giving it a sense of movement creates the feeling of more space. So, rather than having straight lines, it is a good idea to experiment with curves. This could be with an arched hedge, or undulating edges on the garden. Having curves will certainly draw the eye around the space and create more of a sense of dynamism.

10. Use Texture

Using texture will create visual interest and movement without making the viewer feel overwhelmed. A good example of texture would be light breezy grasses or a border of sedge grass. Both would widen the garden and create a visual interest for those viewing the garden.

11. Make Statements.

The best way to make statements would be using giant plants. This may seem like a contradiction to the advice previously given for a small garden but with this it is down to creating a sense of order. Planted alongside smaller plants, the larger ones will provide a resting a spot for the eye. Or, another possibility could be to try a specimen tree to one side of your garden as this will definitely offer a spot for the viewers eye to rest.

12. Use containers in Nooks and Crannies.

Using planters allows you to take full advantage of the small spaces you have, they also create a certain flexibility, which is vital in a small space. They are also great for diversity as you can easily rearrange them depending on whatever layout you wish to have your garden. They are also available in different heights so they are great to create that layered look.

13. Merge the Inside and the Out.

French Doors opening to patio

A great way of expanding the outside space you already have is by borrowing some of the floor-to-ceiling space to have indoors. By using large and wide patio doors that open widely you are able to gain the idea that the garden is a lot bigger than it actually is.

14. Forced Perspective.

If renaissance painters can employ it then why can’t you with your garden. Using strong horizontal lines and possibly a central path with pavers will create the impression that you have a lot more elongated space than you actually do.

15. Mirroring

Finally, a great way to create the impression that your garden is a lot bigger than it actually is would be to use outdoor mirrors. Not only do they look and create a homely indoor feel to your outdoor space but they also enlarge your outdoor area creating the illusion that it is a lot bigger than it really is.


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