Small house gardens are intimate spaces. Although the viewer can often take in the entire garden at once, that doesn’t mean a small garden is without interest or variety. Too often garden designers focus on trying to make the small space seem bigger, rather than exploiting the unique charm of the given space. The gardeners who created the examples gardens shown here, have showcased various ways a gardener can make the most of their own small space garden.
Gallery of Beautiful and Functional Small House Gardens
With space at a premium in urban homes, we demand as much of our gardens as we do of our interiors: a space with year-round allure, a children’s playground, a serene retreat, a vegetable patch and an outdoor room for entertaining. But can we have it all? Take inspiration from your home’s interior and find an outdoor equivalent. Rattan chairs, a sofa and wooden coffee table mimic a traditional living room design.
Make the eye wander back with a raised garden path and strategically placed rose arches and low walls to break up its length and add interest.
Link the spaces to avoid a disjointed design. A water feature, running from one level to the next, is a popular ploy. Use repetition: the same materials and similarly-shaped elements of hard landscaping (paths, paving, decking) can be echoed throughout the garden; planting with similar flora can also connect split levels.
Planning permission is needed to erect permanent structures to screen your space. Use trees such as beech and hornbeam that will let light in and make you feel secluded. These need not take up too much space in a confined plot – the trunks can be trimmed of branches up to head height.
Select plants tolerant to wind (these tend to have smaller leaves). Steer clear of a muddle of small plants. Focus on fewer, larger planters, and choose trees or shrubs with sculptural silhouettes. Rubber is quiet, soft and hardwearing – tile your roof terrace with these tiles for easy cleaning and comfort.
White render garden walls will make the most of any sun. Good outdoor lighting on walls and at foot level can then supplement the daylight.
Low-maintenance gardens are best for busy urbanites; how low you go is up to you. Automated watering systems are popular. Lawns can be swapped for decking; climbers, which need pruning, for a screen of evergreen bamboo; conifers can be substituted for deciduous trees.
Screen off a secluded space large enough for a single lounger, add soothing scented plants such as jasmine, lavender and chamomile; the trickle of a courtyard fountain is the final touch.
A small garden need not be relegated to small ideas. Landscaping choices can make small house gardens just as much of a showcase as a much larger garden. Pick a theme for your small garden and learn all you can about what plants will thrive within the confines of that theme. Another way to go with small garden landscaping is to decorate the garden with ornamentation or water elements.