Create an Outdoor Room
Turn a tiny patio into a gorgeous outdoor room by adding a freestanding pergola. Here, a small wooden pergola was constructed over a gravel patio and enhanced with a teak seating arrangement. The pergola creates a sense of enclosure and makes the patio seem a lot larger then it actually is.
Crushed brick or gravel is a beautiful and low-maintenance paving option for small gardens. It’s also easier to use and less expensive than brick or flagstone. Just be sure to spread a layer of landscape fabric underneath the gravel to keep weeds from popping through. On this California hillside, the gravel also allows rainfall to percolate through to the soil instead of running off down the hillside.
Capitalize on Trees
If you have large trees with bare spots underneath them, why not put the barren ground to use by creating an outdoor living space? In this small garden, several trees made growing a lawn or flower border impossible. So, the homeowners paved part of the area with flagstone and added a table and chairs.
Small Garden Tip: When you are working under a large tree, be sure to leave any exposed roots alone and never raise the grade around the base of the tree.
Add a Pond
You don’t need a huge backyard to have a water garden. In fact, installing a water garden is a great way to handle low or wet spots in your garden. Just dig out the area, add a pond liner and pump, and you’re on your way. Even a tiny oasis will attract a wide range of colorful butterflies and birds. In this garden, Water Snowflake, Nymphoides humboldtiana, a small relative of water lily, provides color in tight quarters.
Double Your Pleasure
Get twice the flowers and vegetables in your small garden by adding a trellis or low fence behind every planting bed. That way, you can grow vine crops vertically so they don’t sprawl over their plant neighbors. In this narrow garden bed, a trio of rustic wooden trellises support flowering vines at the back of the perennial border.
Even a small garden can become a haven for birds and butterflies when you choose flowers they prefer. For example, this square bed is packed with bird and butterfly favorites, such as black-eyed Susan and phlox. A bird feeder and birdhouse add to the garden’s wildlife-friendly features.
Add a Mowing Strip
Keeping turf grass from encroaching in your garden beds is a lot easier when you install a mowing strip at the border’s edge. This mowing strip was specially designed to keep weeds at bay and act as a low-maintenance garden path. It also provides easy, mud-free access to the garden for wheelbarrows, mowers, and other equipment.
Put every square inch of your backyard to work by removing the sod to create useable outdoor living spaces. In this small courtyard, the turf was torn up and replaced by a gravel base that supports a gorgeous dining table and flower-filled containers. Plus, the homeowners have a lot more time to enjoy the space because they no longer have to mow.
Give small gardens a big boost of style by adding an oversize gate or arbor at one end to act as a focal point. It will draw the eye in and make the space seem larger. Here, a large-scale ornamental entry arbor gives this tiny side yard some visual heft. Plus, it supports a crown of climbing roses. White lilies in the center bed mirror the white roses and arbor.
One way to create a sense of space in a small garden is to put some curves into your garden paths. A slightly meandering walkway is always better than a straight path because it will give visitors the sense that they are traveling through a large landscape. Just be sure to make your path wide enough for two people to walk side by side comfortably. This curved concrete path is especially appealing because a ribbon of tile separates each slab of concrete.