Designing any garden can be challenging. Coming up with ideas for a small space might make you feel like you have limited options. However, just because your garden is small doesn’t mean you can’t have fun incorporating stylish accessories and features to great a stunning outdoor living area. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started styling your small garden space.

Pots and planters

This is a great alternative for the gardener with limited space. They come in a range of exciting materials and finishes such as Terracotta, ceramic, stone, aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, fiberglass and resin. The choices are endless; however try to choose the pot or planter that fits with the style and mood you want to create. Keep the proportion of the plant balanced with the size of the pot. In a small space it is better to have a couple of well-placed larger pots than a multitude of smaller pots. Keep the concept simple and do not mix materials. It is best to stick to one unifying theme for elegant simplicity.

Water features

Even the smallest garden is large enough for a water feature. The sound of splashing water is extremely soothing. Wall-mounted ones are ideal for small gardens. As with any garden feature, a water feature must be in sympathy with the rest of the design. If you have opted for a formal courtyard, stick to a formal shape such as a channel or rectangular pond for example.

Garden sculpture

In a limited space a well-chosen sculpture will immediately have greater effect. You can source and buy your own piece to suit your particular situation from the garden centre or art gallery or go direct to an artist to create a one off piece. It is important when siting a good piece of sculpture to find a situation that shows it off to the best advantage. It can then become an interesting focal point in the garden. Remember to choose a material that harmonizes nicely with other colours, textures and themes in the garden.


Subtle lighting effects can transform a small garden at night. Accentuate features such as plants, water and pots to add drama after dark. Make sure the seating area is lit. Face the lights away from the area, not glaring into it. If you want to use the garden for entertaining, then lighting is a must, allowing you to utilize the space long after the sun has gone down. Even a few candles or flares will cast a soft warm glow and add ambiance to a small garden.

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It is important in small spaces to pick furniture that fits well into the space. Large, bulky pieces can overwhelm if the space is limited. Be careful how you arrange the furniture so that movement around the space is not confined or clumsy. Folding furniture and built in seats around planters and bench seats fitting snugly against a wall are good space saving ideas.

There are a multitude of other garden accessories you may wish to consider such as bird-baths, statues and garden ornaments, each is dependent on your own personal taste. The key to styling small spaces is to take your time. The devil is in the detail, so always choose well-made quality materials every time.


  1. I live in Spain & I want some advice on garden planning for a small section with a 3 bedroomed house. Garden design (NZ style) is non-existant here – HELP!!

  2. Hi Mary,

    I suggest contacting a designer or landscape architect from our directory – they should be able to provide you with a concept plan if you can supply a site plan and information about the area ans site – lots of photos would be helpful too.


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