How To Use Your Urban Space With These Small Garden Ideas
Make a big impact with these small garden ideas
TL;DR: No matter how small it may be, don’t let your outdoor space go to waste. It’s possible to grow a garden using clever urban gardening techniques. Just some of the ideas that can help transform a small backyard into a functional and impressive space include building a raised garden bed, investing in vertical planters and even adding a garden arch at one end of the garden.
It’s the great Australian dream to buy a home, but for those with green thumbs, this is only half of the dream. Alfresco dining and entertainment, growing vegetable gardens and poolside fun is all synonymous with an outdoor lifestyle that Australia is renowned for, but not everyone is fortunate enough to own a large enough backyard in which to do these things.
High-density living in inner-city areas is becoming more common and with that, backyard space is usually the first to be compromised. However, small space doesn’t mean useless space. Read on for inspiration and ideas on how to create the perfect small garden.
12 small courtyard garden ideas to maximise your space
Wondering how to create an impressive urban garden in a limited space? It’s all about using the backyard area effectively.
Here’s how to landscape a small garden:
Build a raised flower bed: This is one of the best tricks to grow a garden in a small space. Using a pre-built plant elevated garden or custom wooden box, fill with soil and plant herbs or vegetables. Make the most of the space underneath the raised flower bed, or accompanying seating, by making this accessible for storage.
Hot Tip - Place garden tools and pots in the storage area below so as not to waste space
Invest in vertical planters: Utilise all space in the garden by planting vertically. Use a pallet or any other structure that takes up less surface area than planting on the floor, attach pots to the structure and see them grow – just remember to space out pots/plants so they have room to grow.
Plant small trees that thrive in smaller spaces: While a gum tree might be out of the question, it’s still possible to grow small trees for small gardens. Flowering trees like crab apple and Japanese maple are favourite go-to choices when backyard space is limited.
Add a water garden or fish pond: Got a wet or low spot in the garden? Create a small water garden or fish pond in this area and make it the feature of your garden. Preparing the legwork is easy: simply dig out the area, add a pond liner and a pump. This tiny oasis will attract colourful butterflies and birds, as well as provide a Zen-like atmosphere while sitting outside in summer.
Choose plants that are fit-for-purpose: In a small space everything is on show. Avoid displaying unsightly bare branches for half the year by growing plants that will look great all year round: try succulents such as Aloe Vera, Mother in Law’s Tongue and Carex.
Remove all lawns: Have a small courtyard garden? Create usable outdoor living spaces by removing all grass and weeds, and replacing it with a gravel base. This creates the illusion of more space while providing room for an outdoor table setting. Bonus: No more having to mow the lawn!
Add style with a garden arch: Set up a structure at the end of the lawn to act as a focal point. Not only will it make the space appear larger, but it’s possible to grow vines and hang climbing roses across it that will enhance the garden arch even more.
Rely on pots: Pack a small garden with varying sizes of pots and planters to give the illusion of depth. The garden will overflow with pretty flowers and fragrant herbs, and walking through it will help de-stress the body and mind.
Look up: Don’t forget about ceiling space – hang plants in baskets overhead from the porch ceiling. The most popular types to grow are Boston ferns, Dichondra silver falls and indoor ivy.
Get creative: Got an old three-drawer dresser that you’ve always wanted to upcycle? Now’s the chance to turn it into a planter.
Hot Tip - Paint the dresser in a contrasting colour to the flowers being planted.
Think about adding texture: Planting flowers and shrubs of different textures helps to create a layered and engaging landscape. We would recommend using both soft and delicate plants like ferns with rougher cacti and succulents
Light it up: Adding lighting to your garden for evening relaxation can help make it feel bigger and more inviting. To keep your energy bills lower, opt for low-voltage or solar-powered lights to illuminate paths, plants, pots, benches and other features in your backyard
Transform a micro-sized backyard with clever urban gardening techniques
Whether it’s a small front garden or an even smaller backyard, by using your imagination it is possible to make an outdoor space look deceptively larger. If the backyard area is really limited, consider cultivating a herb garden indoors so it’s still possible to indulge in a bit of gardening.
Using these small garden ideas, it’s possible to make even the most petite backyards an enjoyable place to spend time.