How to Make a Small Garden Look Bigger: 15 Ideas to Maximise Your Space

Ever wish you had a bigger garden? It certainly seems the modern trend is for smaller gardens, especially when you consider modern housing developments. If you’d like to make a small garden look bigger, here are 15 great ideas for you try…

1. Use Mirrors to Create the Illusion of Space

By strategically placing mirrors in your garden, you can create the illusion of depth and space. Mirrors also reflect light, making the area feel brighter and more open. Of course, you don’t want to overdo this – your guests might mistake the garden for a fun house! But used carefully, mirrors can be a clever way to trick the eye and expand the space in a small garden.

2. Add Trellises or Arbours to Create Vertical Space

By adding trellises or arbours, you can create the illusion of more space while still providing plenty of room for your plants to grow. What’s more, trellises and arbours can also add an element of interest to your garden, serving as a backdrop for flowering vines or providing a place for climbing plants to thrive. So if you’re looking to add a little extra growing space to your small garden, consider going up instead of out.

3. Install a Water Feature

Water features can help to give the illusion of more space by drawing the eye upwards and away from surrounding boundaries. The sound of running water can also help to mask unwanted noise from neighbouring properties. The reflective surface on the water can also make the area feel more spacious – in a similar way to a mirror. With a little creativity, you can easily turn a small garden into a relaxing oasis.

zen fountain in a japanese garden

4. Use Light Colours for Fences, Walls, and Pots

White or light-coloured surfaces reflect more light, which can help to make a space feel open and airy. Dark colours, on the other hand, can make a space feel cramped. One way to create the illusion of more space is to use light colours for fences and walls around your garden. And by painting your pots in light colours, you can help them to blend into the background, making the plants themselves seem larger.

5. Place Plants in Groups Instead of Scattered Around the Garden

Grouping plants together instead of scattering them around the garden creates the illusion of more space and also makes it easier to care for the plants. Another tip is to choose plants that have different heights so that there are layers of interest. Tall plants can be placed in the back, while shorter plants can be in the front. Finally, use light-coloured stones or gravel as a mulch to brighten the planting area up and make it appear larger.

6. Increase the Planting Area with Raised Beds or Containers

By bringing the soil level up higher, you can create the illusion of more space. Raised beds also make it easier to access your plants and can even double up as a perch to sit on. Raised beds can also be used as dividers when splitting up the space into different zones – more on that later.

7. Install a Pergola or Gazebo to Add Height and Structure

A pergola or gazebo can provide much-needed shade on hot summer days. Besides this, It can also double up as an extra place to grow climbing plants, such as roses or grapevines. Not only will this provide some extra privacy, but it can also make the garden seem more spacious by drawing the eye upward.

8. Use Climbers and Vines to Cover Bare Walls or Fences

Climbing plants are a great way to cover up bare walls or ugly fencing. They can also help to create the illusion of more space by softening and disguising the boundaries of your garden. The best climbers for small gardens are those that are easy to maintain and keep tidy, such as ivy, clematis, or jasmine.


9. Plant trees and shrubs to create a sense of privacy

Trees and shrubs can provide much-needed privacy from nosy neighbours or busy roads. They can help to create the illusion of a green oasis, making extra use of the height in your space and drawing attention away from the immediate surrounding area. When choosing trees and shrubs, make sure to pick those that are appropriate for the size of your space. In particular, you might look out for dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties.

10. Use a Consistent Design Theme Throughout the Garden

By using a consistent design theme, you can create a sense of cohesion and make the garden seem larger. For example, you might choose to use similar colours for fences, walls, and pots. Or you could use the same type of stone or gravel throughout the garden. Using a consistent design theme will help to create a sense of order in the garden and make it seem more spacious.

11. Use Optical Illusions

Using curved paths or borders can break up a square or rectangular space and create a natural, less confined vibe. If your garden is narrow, then create shapes and lines that go across the width, rather than the length. You could also break up a long, narrow space in a similar way by creating several zones. Again, create borders across the width to split up the area, to make separate ‘rooms’ within the garden. You might also consider using different levels throughout the garden, to create a more three-dimensional feel.

12. Use Large Pots and Containers to Make a Bold Statement

This might seem counter-intuitive, but actually, using lots of small pots and containers will make a small garden feel even more cluttered. Go for fewer, larger containers and this will help to add height and create a sense of space and order. Thinking along the same lines, you might also consider larger, specimen plants, rather than lots of smaller ones.

13. Use Plants with Variegated Leaves to Add Light and Texture

Earlier, we mentioned that light colours reflect more light and help to make a space feel bigger. Similarly, you might choose plants with lightly coloured or variegated leaves. These should help to add texture and break up the hard lines around your garden, while also keeping the area bright and airy.

14. Keep Your Garden Clean and Free of Clutter

This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless! A tidy garden will always look and feel more spacious than a messy one. So, make sure to keep on top of the weeding and clear away any dead leaves or debris. Mow the lawn regularly and if you have any broken pots or pieces of furniture, then get rid of them too. Not only will this make your garden look neater, but it will also help to create a sense of calm and order.

15. Install Outdoor Lighting to Make the Garden Seem Larger at Night

By installing outdoor lighting, you can not only make the garden more functional at night but also help to create the illusion of more space. Up-lighting is a great way to highlight features in your garden and make it seem larger. You could also use solar-powered lights to line walkways or steps to make them more visible in the dark.

And there you have it! 15 tips to help you make the most of your small garden space. With a bit of creativity and effort, you can transform even the tiniest outdoor areas into a beautiful oasis.

Any thoughts or questions? If you have any big ideas about small gardens, please tell us all about it in the comments below! Happy gardening!


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