20 great ideas for small gardens


1. Small space, big impact

Shed walls are features waiting to be passed. This seductive statue and the small plant shelf transform a forgotten window into a cute little garden grotto.

2. Tropical retreat

With cascades of lush foliage stretching on all sides, it’s hard to tell where the boundaries of this tropical-inspired garden actually lie. That is the secret of its design. Its small size is cleverly camouflaged, and just enough open space fills the central area for a place to sit and relax. Even the garden gates are not visible as epiphytic species such as bromeliads and epiphylls form a wall of leaves on the surface of the gates due to their plantings. Other quirky items in the garden include salvaged items and old enamel containers that are used as planters for a miniature cactus garden.

3. Planter on the roof

Cactus planter

Use every inch of space in small gardens. This trough of sturdy succulents sits on a roof and features a scene that can be viewed from the window.

4. Upcycled planter


Old enamel containers can be used as curious planters for succulents and cacti. Drill some drainage holes in the soil before planting.

5. Orange tree planted under


Despite its small size, the garden is home to a fully grown orange tree, the trunk of which is adorned with bromeliads and underplanted with various subtropical species.

6. Exterior setting

table and chair

In a densely planted garden, always include a clearing in the forest where the space opens up to accommodate a relaxing place.

7. Dress up the walls


Try dressing garden walls in tropical deciduous plants like this combination of bromeliads, colocasias (taro) and monstera.

8. Pot wall and table

Wall planter

An old drainage board is reinvented as a mounting plate for a collection of tillandsias, while the table below houses a buffet of succulents.

9. Urban oasis

Garden roof

Adding a wooden boardwalk to a rooftop billabong isn’t what you’d expect on a downtown home. But that is exactly what makes this high-rise garden so appealing – the feeling of a natural environment in a decidedly urban context. The roof field is just part of the eco-conscious design, which includes a seven-meter-high vertical garden and a fabulous outdoor dining table with a water feature. The garden and the house work in perfect harmony, with the green roof space creating effective insulation for the building and significantly reducing the need for cooling and energy costs in summer.

10. Vertical garden


Vertical gardening is reaching new heights in this inner-city garden. Both the front fence and the wall next to the entrance door are maximally planted with ferns, grasses, cordylines, ctenanthes and much more.

11. Simple color palette

Garden wall

Keep the color palette simple and muted to make the garden restful and receding.

12. Colorful foliage


Striking foliage plantings ensure that a garden looks good all year round. Note this combination of Liriope with Burgundy Aeonian and Sedum Gold Mound.

13. Billabong on the roof


With its own billabong and promenade path, a roof garden becomes a wonderful retreat that also serves as house insulation.

14. Symmetrical layout


If courtyards can be viewed from above, consider a symmetrical layout and a sleek black and white color scheme.

15. Dining table water feature

Table in the terrace

How’s that for double duty? The outdoor dining table with glass top is also a fantastic water feature!

16. House to the garden


An unobstructed view from the back of the house leads directly into the lush garden.

17. Exterior lighting

Patio light

For an inner courtyard that shines rather than dazzles, integrate built-in downlights into the walls of raised beds. That also saves space.

18. Rustic wood path

Wrong path with lots of green

If you love rustic materials, ditch the usual mod paving stones and go for weathered sleepers instead. They add a touch of the unexpected to the courtyard or on the roof.

19. Succulents


Even a sun-drenched space like a roof can look pretty – succulents made from mass plants in shades of green, gray, gold, red and purple.

20. Clear design

Garden wall

Smother the walls, but don’t clutter the center. Use vertical garden systems to add foliage, then dress the scene with gorgeous ornaments like plaques and mirrors.

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