Garden Full Of Potted And Planted Flowers And Plants
(Image credit: L Feddes)

It isn’t as common anymore to have a large garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your garden look big. How do you make a garden seem big? We’ve composed a list of small garden ideas to make a small garden look bigger. Read on to learn what to do with a small garden. 

Number One Rule to Make your Garden Look Big

Gardeners tend to want more and more space to put all those plants in. The number one rule to follow when faced with a small yard is to pare down. Remember less is more. A cramped and crowded garden will definitely not look big; in fact it'll look quite the opposite. 

Instead, decide what you absolutely must have and make that your priority. Then make a plan. You can do this yourself or hire a landscape designer. There are apps and websites that can help you decide what to do with a small garden while maximizing the space. 

What to Do with a Small Garden

As you make your plan to make your small garden look bigger, section the garden off. This may seem counterproductive but it actually allows you to not only work on sections of the garden but to put these sections together in a cohesive manner much as you would the rooms of a home. 

As you design your garden space, be sure to include paths. Uncluttered paths help section garden spaces and change the perspective. Use light colored materials for paths when possible to keep the space open. 

Just as paths section off a small garden, creating differing heights will also create “rooms” with specific purposes making the whole feel like there is much more space. Renaissance painters used forced prospective, the use of strong horizontal lines, in this case a central path, to create the illusion of an elongated space. 

Even better than paths are hedges and trellises, which also draw the eye, creating the illusion of space. 

Go up. Plantings should be tall and block the periphery of the garden creating the illusion that there is no end to it. 

Use size appropriate furnishings. An outdoor sectional looks out of place and overbearing compared to a bistro table with lightweight seating. 

Additional Small Garden Ideas

Use containers. Container gardening can be done vertically, singly in a large container or in groupings. You can fill containers with colorful annual color that can be changed according to season, much like a vase of flowers, or fill them with perennials or edibles. Combine tall and shorter containers. 

Use texture to create visual interest and movement when selecting plants. Use some large plants to make a statement and fill in with smaller plants. Don’t forget a tree or two. Many trees can be comfortably container grown, or choose plants that grow up not out if they are in the small garden. 

Merge your indoor space and outdoor space. When possible allow an inside room to flow outdoors. Nothing makes a small garden look bigger than when the indoors and out become one.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.