30 small garden design ideas

Garden design should be a transformative experience not just for your garden but for you as well! Breathing new life into your outdoor space is a continuous process that follows the changing seasons. A gardener's work is never truly done. 

Suppose you're looking to make your back garden into something more contemporary, perhaps a place to sit and watch the sunset, or somewhere to enjoy with friends and family. No matter your vision, there is always a garden design that can suit you and the space you have to work with.

In this blog, we will be showing you stylish on-trend garden design ideas that could turn your garden into a space to behold. From small garden design ideas to big, be the envy of all your neighbours, friends and family by finding a great way to utilise all of your outdoor space.

    Use the navigation below if you're looking for something specific, otherwise, scroll along and enjoy our top tips!

    This blog was originally published on 17/06/2017 and updated on 17/06.2021.

    furniture small gardens
    Here are some of the best garden design ideas to help you change your outdoor space into a contemporary garden

    1. Corner Sofa

    Many assume that corner sofas are only made for gardens with lots of space, but they can save you lots of room. This makes them the perfect choice for even the smallest of garden areas. The most important thing is placement.

    By placing your seating in the corner of the garden, you're left with the rest of your back garden space free. Perfect for hosting situations, as well as bringing a sense of privacy to your garden!

    Garden corner seating can be purchased in many shapes and sizes to best match your garden space. No matter if you're working in a large or small space, the right corner sofa is there for you.

    Garden corner seating can add new dimensions to your outdoor space, making the area feel luxurious and expensive at the same time. Garden corner seating can be purchased in many different shapes, sizes and contemporary styles.

    Don’t be worried you won’t find the right corner sofa to suit the design scheme of your garden, with lots to choose from there's something for every design and space!

    At the Farthing we sell a variety of different outdoor corner sofas. Take a look at our outdoor furniture collection today!


    small garden furniture ideas


    2. Folding Chairs

    Folding chairs aren't necessarily the most comfortable, but they are the most practical, especially if you're struggling for space! 

    They are low maintenance and can be brought out in the summer months, letting you enjoy your garden. An easy way to sit out in the garden - once you're done, you can put them away. A great addition to any small garden space. 

    You can add cushions or seat covers to increase comfort, and they're available in many styles, from rustic to shabby chic, making them the perfect choice for any low maintenance garden designs.

    At the Farthing, we sell a variety of different folding and non-folding chairs for your garden. Take a look at our outdoor furniture collection today!

    small furniture design ideas


    3. Picnic Table

    If you're looking for a budget-friendly garden design option, a picnic table is a great choice. They're practical and usually come with a matching chair set.

    Just like folding chairs, picnic tables are perfect for any garden designs. They can be arranged in any way that suits you. A great trick is adding covers, they can transform even the drabbest looking table and chair sets into something inviting and luxurious!

    Garden ideas like this are excellent for people who don't entertain very often. A permanent fixture may go to waste if hosting isn't your thing, but a picnic table is ideal for those special occasions.

    Wanting to go the extra mile in terms of luxury and comfort? Then a bistro set could be the perfect option. Small and compact they're a great idea for small gardens while the usual mosaic tiling makes them look expensive and unique.

    small garden furniture ideas



    4. Oval Sofa

    Picking the perfect seating for your garden can be daunting, especially when space to stretch your legs is limited. If you're looking for a modern design that will look great in your garden, an oval-shaped sofa is exactly what you're looking for.

    They slip perfectly into corners and double up as both a seating and sunbathing area, a perfect summer accessory for any garden. Some even provide shelter to protect you from the sun if it's getting too intense.

    Oval sofas make unique design ideas for garden furniture. Simple to install, they instantly bring a sense of modernism to any outdoor living space. Sofas aren't specific to interior design, they are also a garden design company staple.

    small garden furniture ideas



    5. Pallet Seating

    Pallet seating has become a trendy DIY technique in recent years by mostly young professionals, that brings a new edge to garden design. So if you’re on a budget or fancy something unique and versatile in your garden using pallets would be ideal. Creating your seating area this way is also great for an unusual shaped garden.

    Using wooden pallets to create seating is a genius concept - you can make them as long or as little as you need them to be, and because of their shape, they can fit nicely into corners. Not only can you control the dimensions of your seating you can also use the pallets to create flower beds or cup holders. 

    From bench seating to something you can lounge on, creating your own garden furniture can bring a sense of pride to your garden, something you cannot achieve by buying a place to sit down.

    Watch this step by step video if this idea takes your fancy.

    DIY seating ideas



    6. Hanging Egg Chair

    Depending on your budget, a hanging egg chair could be exactly what you need for a small space. It's design and structure mean that it takes up hardly any room, and they're known to be comfortable. Laze the day away curled up during the summer months. 

    Garden furniture like this can turn your backyard into a sanctuary. A place you can escape into a book or find a spark of inspiration. Paired with a coffee table, surrounded by flower beds, your garden could become your favourite place to be.

    small garden furniture ideas



    7. Cinder Blocks

    Another low-cost DIY friendly option is to make garden seating with the use of cinder blocks - perfect for a novice garden designer looking for a low maintenance outdoor project! Relatively easy to get hold of, cheap, plus the customisation possibilities are endless. Use your DIY seating area for relaxing, an outdoor dining table, or as a space for garden accessories and small plants.

    Just to emphasize the customisation even more, if you’re looking to add a little colour to your garden try painting the cinder blocks using different patterns or block colours to suit your desired garden design. . 

    If you're looking for a shabby, more industrial looking section, the use of cinder blocks in your back garden could be a great choice for a chic contemporary design. 


    Watch this step by step video to see how you can create your own cinder inspired seating.

    DIY garden furniture


    small garden plants

    8. Plant Stands

    If you dream of a garden packed with more flowers, plants and aromatic herbs - make this dream a reality with a plant stand. With various plant stands to choose from, you can begin to add all your personal touches to your garden without taking up tons of room.

    Having a plant stand is also a great way to enjoy your plants in a low maintenance way, as the pots can be replaced if your plant grows too big, or you want to try more ideas.

    These garden ideas are perfect if you want to keep your garden looking fresh in the summer months. Not only do they look elegant but they fit seamlessly into any space.

    With a choice of plant stands to choose from, you can begin to add all your personal touches to your garden without taking up tons of room.

    At the Farthing, we sell a variety of different plant stands and ladders for your garden plants. Take a look at our garden storage collection today!

    small garden ideas



    9. Use Walls

    When you have a really tiny garden, you need to be creative to make the best of all the area around you, including the wall garden design.

    Don't have enough room for a plant stand or a trellis? Not to worry, create a truly unique garden by  using old tins, jars, and whatever else you can find and use them to plant your flowers and herbs.

    There are many different ways to approach this, so find some inspiration and get as creative as possible, and if you don't have a wall, use a fence. A fence can be designed, so it works with the rest of your garden design.

    wall planting



    10. Tiered Herbs

    If you're an avid foodie and love to get stuck in with planting your own herbs, a tiered DIY herb garden could be exactly what your garden needs.

    You can buy premade herb gardens online, but if you're on a budget or are running out of spaces, we'd recommend making your own tiered herb garden. They can be made in many ways, but these vertical garden designs always look beautiful and give the look of a high maintenance garden. For materials try wooden pallets and get creative. 

    The perfect addition to any contemporary garden. They don't have to be exclusively used for edible plants either. Flowering plants would also look brilliant.

    Watch this video for a greater insight into stackable planters and vertical gardens.

    small garden inspiration


    11. Potted Plants

    This may seem like an obvious choice, but they're a great accessory to be reminded of. Garden planters come in various shapes and sizes to suit your garden's dimension and the amount of space your garden holds. 

    Potted plants are also an easy way to bring colour to your garden, adding the perfect finishing touch to your contemporary design.

    Garden planters come in various shapes and sizes to suit the dimension of your garden and the amount of space your garden holds.

    small garden ideas



    12. Garden Trellis


    With the vertical garden designs out in full force, it's a great time to make the most of a garden trellis. The versatility of these products makes them suitable for garden wall design ideas of all shapes and sizes. You can install your garden trellis on a wall, on a drainpipe, or even within a planter.

    The options are endless, and more importantly, they save tons of room, making them great garden ideas for a smaller back garden.


    Here's a video worth watching which boasts a host of creative garden trellis ideas.

    small garden ideas



    13. DIY Vegetable Garden


    Planting vegetables at home is a great hobby to have; you get to see your gardening work go to good use and save money on groceries.

    But is there room to plant vegetables in a garden? Of course! You may not be able to grow all the vegetables you like, but there are many creative ways to grow veggies without tons of space.

    Try setting aside a few inches of space when designing your garden and use vegetables that grow well in small spaces like legumes such as peas, broad beans and tomatoes.


    Check out these 10 Inspiring Gardens for Growing Food in Small Spaces for further inspiration.

    diy vegetable garden ideas


    garden lighting ideas

    14. LED Fairy Lights

    A less expensive item, decorative lights such as LED fairy lights are a simple, practical purchase that will transform your garden at night.

    With an abundance of different types of fairy lights, why not go solar and save some money on electricity. From bulb lights to animal-shaped lights there's something to suit all your garden design ideas. 

    For a simple elegant look try putting your fairy lights in glass jars or wrap timber logs in fairy lights to give your fire pit a cosy vibe, without causing a fire hazard or smoky smell. You can layer as many outdoor cushions and throws as you like, and they'll create just as much ambience as embers. If you have a dining table that has a parasol a great trick is to wrap the umbrella in fairy lights while having some hanging down above the table to create a waterfall effect.

    The Farthing sells a wide range of different lighting solutions that could complement your garden decor perfectly. Take a look at our garden lighting range today!

    small garden lighting



    15. DIY Candle Jars


    Remember what we said earlier about making the most of all the space in your garden? The same can apply to your garden lighting. Putting candles in jars and attaching them to your wall or fence is a cheap way to add ambient lighting to your garden, no space required!

    One example she gave was to fill a mason jar about ⅓ of the way with sand (try using different colour sands). Place a candlelight in the centre of the sand. Repeat this with 10 mason jars . Suspend all the jars at different heights above a dining table or any other piece of outdoor furniture. This effect can create a Disney effect to your garden.

    The Farthing sells a wide range of different lighting solutions that could complement your garden decor perfectly. Take a look at our garden lighting range today!

    diy candle jars



    16. Braziers & Fire Pits


    If you're looking for a lighting idea with a wow factor, consider a cast iron fire-pit.

    Fire pits are compact, long-lasting and affordable. They're a unique accessory to have in your garden and offer a lovely source of heat for an evening spent outside with friends and family.

    A little drop in temperature is to be expected outside. Nonetheless, a fire pit will warm you up during those cool nights. Consider putting it in the middle of your patio. Have chairs arranged around it and prepare a few blankets just in case someone gets too cold. Afterwards, gather your family and friends around the cosy spot you have created. There’s nothing better than a fire while stargazing.

    Wanta fire pit and unsure where to look. Here at the Farthing well a huge range of different firepits and braziers including accessories for cooking and safety. Take a look Now!

    small garden lighting ideas



    17. Exterior Wall Lamps

    Wall lamps are unique decorative garden ideas for a garden that is smaller in size.

    Available in a range of styles, wall lamps help to increase the space perception in your garden, and are a great space-saving tool, allowing you to make the most of the space you have.

    The Farthing sells a wide range of different lighting solutions that could complement your garden decor perfectly. Take a look at our garden lighting range today!

    exterior wall lamps



    18. Floor Lanterns

    Floor lanterns double up as a cheap light source and romantic addition to any garden - handy for smaller garden designs.

    Available in many forms, including solar-powered, lanterns fit just about anywhere in your garden and offer a powerful light source when positioned correctly.

    The Farthing sells a wide range of different lighting solutions that could complement your garden decor perfectly. Take a look at our garden lighting range today!

    small garden floor lights



    19. Plant Lighting

    Installing lighting within your garden planters is an easy way to get the look of a high maintenance garden. You could plant some LED path lights, solar-powered bulbs, or even place lanterns within for a unique touch in any garden design.

    The Farthing sells a wide range of different lighting solutions that could complement your garden decor perfectly. Take a look at our garden lighting range today!

    plant lighting ideas


    water features small gardens

    20. Bird Bath

    Gardens that include a water feature will often invite more wildlife to visit, and if this is your intention, then a bird bath is the right place to start.

    Birdbaths are an excellent idea for small gardens, and also one of the cheapest if you're looking to introduce a water feature as a priority.

    At the Farthing we know how important it is to some people to feel connected with wildlife which is why we stock Bird-friendly accessories. Take a look Now!

    small garden bird bath



    21. Slate Falls

    Adding a wow factor to a smaller garden is often difficult, but many water features take away the worry of having a smaller place to work with, including a slate fall.

    Slate falls are a remarkable feature to add to your garden, and their vertical structure means you aren't taking up masses of space, but they can be expensive.

    There are several ways to create your own garden waterfall, but slate falls are considered unique and are best purchased.

    small garden water feature



    22. Water Fountain

    Water fountains are another beautiful accessory perfect for gardens of all sizes.

    They are best decorated with plants alongside and lighting installed if possible; this adds a particular lighting does to your garden patch. A great water feature that will bring some life to your home.

    small garden water fountain


    23. Water Bowl

    If you're a big fan of all things nature and want your garden to thrive with tons of life, then a water bowl could be a good investment for you.

    They come in many shapes and sizes and would be the main focal point for your garden.

    small garden water ideas


    24. Tin Bath Pond

    If you like the idea of a water bowl but have a small garden, you might want to consider this approach. A tin bath is small, easily accessible, and an attractive elegant looking water feature to add to cosy garden designs.

    Who needs a pond!

    ideas for small garden


    small garden storage ideas

    25. Small Corner Shed

    Introducing a shed in the right type of garden can be a great way of saving space and storing items like bikes and gardening gear, but how do you know if it's right for you? Using your judgement is one thing, but remember to figure out the dimensions where it will be installed as bespoke sheds like these can be quite costly.

    If you get it right, they can add real character to your garden, making the design look unique.

    small garden storage ideas


    26. Hang Gardening Tools


    Once you buy a few gardening tools, you have to have them all. In case you become a tool collector, you may be wondering if there is a simple way of storing so many tools with such limited room.

    By installing a tool cupboard, you can hang your tools up with ease and save yourself tons of garden.


    To start, watch this video on how to build a small tool cabinet.

    gardening tools hanging


    27. Hose Storage

    One issue most garden lovers face is the necessity of needing a hosepipe to feed your favourite plants and flowers while getting frustrated with how messy and long the pipe can be. 

    A simple solution for more DIY garden storage is to create your own hose pipe storage unit within a planter. Get the full details over at DIYcandy.

    One of the most annoying things homeowners find in their garden is a garden hose and its constant tangling and general messy look. At the Farthing, we sell a collection of garden hose rails and storage units to keep your garden looking tidy!

    hose storage


    28. Storage Ladder

    Storage ladders are another great invention that allows us to stack our favourite plants, herbs, and other cheap garden accessories that don't have a home yet.

    They slot perfectly into a corner or against any wall in your garden, a dream for those looking to save on precious garden scope.

    At the Farthing, we sell a variety of different plant stands and ladders for your garden plants. Take a look at our garden storage collection today!

    small garden storage


    29. Seat Storage

    Finding a storage room for certain items can be quite challenging in a small garden. You can purchase seating that also seconds as a storage unit, or if you're creating your own seating, make storage available!

    A savvy way of creating more room in your garden for the things you want.

    At the Farthing, we sell a variety of different plant stands and ladders for your garden plants. Take a look at our garden storage collection today!

    small garden seat storage


    30. Raised Planter Shed

    Our last tip is a rather inventive way of storing equipment whilst also making room for additional planting.

    We're not entirely sure if this is available to buy as a standalone product, but either way, this would do a great DIY project and once again be saving tons more space in your garden.

    small garden storage plans




    How do you design a garden?

    When it comes to designing a garden, there are lots of different things you can do. No one way is the right way. Some people love a water feature; they can bring a sense of vibrancy and life to your garden. They are usually low maintenance to keep and can be a home to different wildlife. Or some people want tranquillity and an abundance of flowers. 

    If your garden design is going to be for hosting, garden furniture is a great choice. Selected the right way, these can make your garden more comfortable than your home.

    If you want separating places in your garden, a central garden path or paving could be a fantastic way to divide up different plant varieties or grass spots.

    Garden designs are never the same as one another. With interior design, you can achieve all different styles from modern, contemporary designs to something with more of a country look.

    What are the 7 principles of landscape design?

    When it comes to landscape design and garden ideas there are 7 principles that you should abide by, whether you are looking for a high or low maintenance garden. The steps are as follows:

    • Simplicity - Sections of your garden that do not provide any improvement or impact on your garden design should be ignored. Prioritise important sections and places that bring clutter and mess to your garden paths such as flower beds or a water feature. A simple, well-presented design is usually low maintenance with better functionality.
    • Variety - You want all shapes, sizes, and forms to be diverse, so your back garden creates visual interest. However, some advice is that you should never sacrifice simplicity over varied spaces.
    • Balance - Everything that is used in your garden ideas should have some visual weight. Balance is a way that your garden ideas feel even through all of the spaces created. There are two kinds of balance; formal, and informal. Both can work well when used correctly.
    • Emphasis - Differing the colour, texture, or form in your gardens is a great way to draw attention to different areas of your cottage garden. However, don't go overboard; too much emphasis can feel chaotic, bringing stress to your back garden.
    • Sequence - Sequence relates to how the transition of plant size, textures, and shapes are used. You want to keep your plants looking smooth with gradual changes in height and size. Abrupt designs never look good.
    • Scale/Proportion - The size of each element of your spaces is scale, and how they relate to each other is the proportion. If you have a small courtyard garden, don't draw attention away with giant walls and trees, as this will not complement the design in any way.
    • Unity - Unity is when everything in your garden design works together. Interconnection such as a garden path, walkways, steps, and other physical links connect the garden design. Repetition can be an excellent way to provide unity, but you shouldn't use it too often. Dominance is when you have a single focal point, and the gardening design around it all lean towards this central section.


    This blog was originally published on 17/06/2017 and updated on 17/06.2021.


    Blogger Comments

    small garden ideasKiran Singh

    In garden design, focal points are used to draw and direct the eye of visitors. While filling your outdoor space with an undisturbed collection of plants is bound to look beautiful, people will be unlikely to study it.

    But, if you give people something to focus on initially, their attention will be grabbed and they’ll move on to notice the smaller details of your garden. This can help your garden to appear much larger to them. So, if your goal is to make your outdoor space seem bigger than it is, creating a focal point is a great idea.

    Lauren Gilberthorpesmall garden designs

    I think the key with any garden space is to make it feel like an extension of the indoors. Treat it like an extra room and consider soft furnishings, lighting and furniture with as much care and attention as you would a living room to create a seamless transition from the indoors out.

    That being said I think there is a tendency to believe that a small outdoor space restricts your ability to be creative.

    In actual fact smaller gardens are a lot easier to make cosy and relaxed as they require much less accessorising. Often outdoor furniture can become lost in a larger space making it harder to create an inviting cocoon for entertaining. My top tip would be to really consider the use of the space you have.

    To overcome a seating shortage opt for colourful floor cushions, their flexibility allows you to adjust the area depending on the number of guests and they look more inviting than chunky overpowering furniture.

    small backyard ideas David & Mark

    Any small garden can be instantly transformed with lighting. Whether it be outdoor hurricane lanterns lining the borders, candle holders hanging from branches or fairy lights glistening overhead.

    Using lighting can make your outdoor garden feel like an extended space and will ensure that even when the sun goes down, the party doesn't have to stop! 

    Anna Kovalchenkosmall gardening ideas

    Even in the smallest garden you still can find a place for a little patio, where you can sit with your family and friends, have some drinks and snacks, play table games and enjoy warm summer weather.

    There is a vast variety of outdoor furniture available on the market but some cool pieces for your patio you can actually make yourself. For example, you can buy some stumps at a sawmill, leave them to properly dry, then polish and cover with protective varnish - cute coffee tables for your patio are ready!

    Full tutorial on how to make stump coffee tables can be found here.

    gardening blogger commentsNatalia Peel

    A cantilever parasol is a great option to give some protection from the sun in a small garden. Because they are designed to hang over furniture, they offer much more flexibility. Having the parasol base out of the way frees up valuable space as well as a potential trip hazard!

    A cantilever parasol is also much easier to move around to angle the shade just where you need it without having to drag a heavy base around. So one minute you can have the shade over a BBQ and then swing it around over the garden table.

    Alison Gibbsmall garden design ideas

    In the Pink - if concrete is a bit too brutalist for your little piece of paradise - paint it pink and add some lime green cushions for extra zing. 

    A concrete bench is a great way to deal with a split level in a small space and painting it a bright colour adds prettiness to a new garden until the planting has matured. 

    Should you ever want a change you can paint over it, fresh spearmint, deep indigo or lavender would provide an instant update in a couple of years.

    garden design ideasSarah White

    Mini garden makeover with colour - inject some life all year round by planning your scheme not on flowers alone.

    I used a blend of colours to create a serene mini outdoor Zen space, both tranquil in the day and at night all year round.

    Have an idea of your own?

    Comment below!

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