Small Garden Landscaping Tips

Don't let a lack of space get you down. Try these short cuts for making the most of a compact space.

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo by Jane Coclasure courtesy of P. Allen Smith.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Julie Orr Design

©2008, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Minimal Gardening Used in Very Small Space

A very small backyard space does not necessarily need a lot of plants. Hints of green will create enough atmosphere without over gardening.

Small Gardens Grown in Variety of Containers

A variety of garden containers are available for use on a patio, deck or balcony. Terra-cotta, concrete or weatherproof wooden pots can be used to grow herbs, vegetables and blooming annuals.

View of Balcony Garden From Inside House

A beautiful view of the terrace garden from the living room is an added benefit of having a balcony garden.

Miniature Design

When designing a small space, a diagonal line will bisect the space to create a simple, but not soulless, garden as in this tiny courtyard patio garden.

Ambient Lighting Softens Shadows in Evening Garden

Permanent uplighters highlight strong shapes of foliage and add ambiance. Outdoor lighting can be both creative and functional. Lighting creates a glow that lights a pathway or puts focus on a garden feature after dark.

Patio Cast Concrete Paving Focuses the Eye

Cast concrete paving draws the eye to the center of this small garden space. It features minimal seating, a small fountain and striking foliage plants.

Private Garden Tucked Between Walled Space

A private garden is tucked away between a walled city yard. A water feature plus interesting foliage plants in containers and border gardens combine to create a lush garden space.

Summer Flower-Filled Pots Line Edges of Steps

Pots of colorful annuals line the wide steps leading up to the house from the garden patio below.

Window Box Overflows with Blooming Perennials

Colorful summer perennials fill the window boxes of this cottage-style home.

Urban Outdoor Bar

This urban backyard garden designed for entertaining and relaxation, features a contemporary outdoor bar.

Urban Chic

Clipped boxwood topiaries, groups of white impatiens, and hostas and palms create a contemporary look in this small city garden. The wooden boardwalk evokes a more natural feel in this urban space.

Stepping Slabs Appear to Float Across Pond

An area of still water at ground level in a garden creates a mirrored setting for surrounding features. A dark internal lining at the bottom of a pool of water will intensify reflections further, whereas a light-colored glazed tile finish will reduce them.

Outdoor Living

Designer Dan Faires and his wife, Dasha, relocated from Arkansas to New York in search of greater opportunities for their design-focused minds. Though the switch from open acres to city was a tough adjustment, that didn't stop the couple from turning their 375-square-foot apartment into a rustic space with a homey feel. One solution for visual harmony: the couple painted terracotta pots black to fit in with their sleek outdoor room. See more of their innovative small space project here.

Shaded Garden Space Ideal for Ferns

The space below overhead wooden beams in this narrow garden is the perfect place for feathery ferns and trailing plants that tumble over the garden wall.

Variety of Plants Soften Masonry Corner

A hard masonry corner of a garden space is softened with hanging plants and pots of annuals giving the area the appearance of a plant show.

Stepped Planters Maximize Space in Narrow Garden

Raised beds set in copper containers offer a crisp, neat look in this narrow city garden.

Stone Softened by Foliage

Oversized stone steps leading through a narrow space are softened by foliage borders.

Mirrored Wall Reflects Light

A mirror on the rear wall of this small space is a trick to reflect the plantings and make them appear much more lush. Two yellow stemmed bamboo plants appear as four by reflection.

Outdoor Cupboard Designed as Extension to Wall

This storage shed was built as an extension to a wall. It was designed to be part of the garden landscape, blending in with the setting and giving a place to store lawn equipment, planting supplies, outdoor furniture and even toys.

Stone Slabs Contrast with Granite Pavers

Squared stone slabs paired with granite pavers offer an example of a natural paving choice suited for a smaller garden landscaping design.

Intensive Gardening Allows a Lot of Produce to Grow in a Small Space

A formal garden at the urban cottage of P. Allen Smith in Little Rock, Arkansas, showcases several intensive gardening practices, including raised beds, containers and interplanting. Planting spring vegetable seeds around tulips is an especially clever idea that combines edible and ornamental gardening in one compact space.

Tiny Yard Landscaping

Black-eyed Susans and a vine covered garden bench give this tiny front yard casual charm. Designer Julie Orr used mulch and ornamental grasses to keep the yard low-maintenance.

Paved Garden Areas are Low Maintenance

Gardens with many paved surfaces are lower maintenance than those with expanses of lawn. Container gardening takes less time and upkeep for limited time and space.