5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

What a compact garden lacks in space, it can more than make up for in style, function and charm.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

It’s no secret that we Kiwis love our backyards and green spaces. They’re places where we can relax, entertain, and play — our own little slices of paradise.

But when your garden is on the compact side, it can take a bit more planning to get everything you might want from it. Here are five small garden design ideas to make the most of the space in your backyard.

1. Work with the scale of the space

When a garden is small, it’s important that your design, landscaping, and product choices are made with the limitations of the space in mind. For example, a huge BBQ that fills half the garden’s footprint might be great for a grill-up, but it would make your backyard good for little else. Whether it’s a spa pool, an outdoor couch, or a newly-planted tree, make sure you’re populating your garden with elements that won’t overpower everything else.

A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.
A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.

2. Don’t be afraid to segment

It can be tempting to think a compact garden should always be left open and free-flowing, with few dividing lines or barriers breaking up the space. After all, wouldn’t an open plan area be the best way to make a small space look bigger? Perhaps, but maximising how large a space appears can sometimes come at the expense of its functionality.

To maximise your backyard space, think about it in the same way you would with the interior of a house. A house has different areas for different things — a kitchen for cooking, a bedroom for sleeping, a lounge for relaxing — all of which use design elements to segment each area from the next. In some cases, there are walls that physically separate a space; in others more subtle cues like furniture placement or decorative flourishes are used. Either way, the goal is generally to have each area feel distinct.

This effect can be achieved in your garden using similar methods: outdoor screens or tall trough planters can wall off sections and create multiple areas; flowerbeds can change the geography of a lawn and partition spaces; furniture can be arranged to create separation between dining and outdoor cooking areas. Anything that creates contrast or an edge will work. 

3. Play with the light

At night, effective garden lighting is like a royal flush — it trumps almost anything in creating atmosphere and shaping mood.

Selective lighting can accent the parts of your garden you want to draw attention to while leaving the rest under a blanket of darkness. While lighting obviously can’t change the size of your backyard, it can make a garden feel bigger by not drawing attention to the walls or edges of the space.

Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.
Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.

The power of light isn’t limited to the post-sunset hours — sculpting daylight can also work wonders for changing the feel of a backyard space. A sun shade can make a relaxation area cool and covered, while a well-angled mirror can visually double the space in an instant.

4. Use the vertical space

Just like in a crowded city, when space in a garden is scarce, the only way to get more of it is to work up. While you won’t be filling the vertical space with a skyscraper, there are many different methods to take advantage of verticality in the backyard.

Turn your fence into a new garden space by installing a trellis and finding plants that are happy to grow vertically. If your house’s roof has a lot of overhang, you can attach hanging planter boxes, or get some vertical garden pots and build from the ground up in any place you like.

Don't build your garden out — build it up.
Don't build your garden out — build it up.

5. Lose the lawn

Lawns need mowing. Lawns need water. Lawns need fertilizing and aerating.

In other words, lawns need work. 

When your garden is on the smaller side, reclaiming an unused lawn can be a good way to maximise the backyard space. Pavers, decking or even artificial grass can turn what used to be lawn into a low-maintenance seating, dining or cooking area. 

Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.
Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.

Are you planning a landscaping job and need help finding the best products and professionals? Connect with the best landscape architects and designers, and get your compact garden growing.

Top banner image credit: Branché Landscapes 

ArchiPro

ArchiPro is the place where beautifully designed spaces begin

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5 ways to maximise space in a small garden
5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

What a compact garden lacks in space, it can more than make up for in style, function and charm.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

It’s no secret that we Kiwis love our backyards and green spaces. They’re places where we can relax, entertain, and play — our own little slices of paradise.

But when your garden is on the compact side, it can take a bit more planning to get everything you might want from it. Here are five small garden design ideas to make the most of the space in your backyard.

1. Work with the scale of the space

When a garden is small, it’s important that your design, landscaping, and product choices are made with the limitations of the space in mind. For example, a huge BBQ that fills half the garden’s footprint might be great for a grill-up, but it would make your backyard good for little else. Whether it’s a spa pool, an outdoor couch, or a newly-planted tree, make sure you’re populating your garden with elements that won’t overpower everything else.

A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.
A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.

2. Don’t be afraid to segment

It can be tempting to think a compact garden should always be left open and free-flowing, with few dividing lines or barriers breaking up the space. After all, wouldn’t an open plan area be the best way to make a small space look bigger? Perhaps, but maximising how large a space appears can sometimes come at the expense of its functionality.

To maximise your backyard space, think about it in the same way you would with the interior of a house. A house has different areas for different things — a kitchen for cooking, a bedroom for sleeping, a lounge for relaxing — all of which use design elements to segment each area from the next. In some cases, there are walls that physically separate a space; in others more subtle cues like furniture placement or decorative flourishes are used. Either way, the goal is generally to have each area feel distinct.

This effect can be achieved in your garden using similar methods: outdoor screens or tall trough planters can wall off sections and create multiple areas; flowerbeds can change the geography of a lawn and partition spaces; furniture can be arranged to create separation between dining and outdoor cooking areas. Anything that creates contrast or an edge will work. 

3. Play with the light

At night, effective garden lighting is like a royal flush — it trumps almost anything in creating atmosphere and shaping mood.

Selective lighting can accent the parts of your garden you want to draw attention to while leaving the rest under a blanket of darkness. While lighting obviously can’t change the size of your backyard, it can make a garden feel bigger by not drawing attention to the walls or edges of the space.

Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.
Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.

The power of light isn’t limited to the post-sunset hours — sculpting daylight can also work wonders for changing the feel of a backyard space. A sun shade can make a relaxation area cool and covered, while a well-angled mirror can visually double the space in an instant.

4. Use the vertical space

Just like in a crowded city, when space in a garden is scarce, the only way to get more of it is to work up. While you won’t be filling the vertical space with a skyscraper, there are many different methods to take advantage of verticality in the backyard.

Turn your fence into a new garden space by installing a trellis and finding plants that are happy to grow vertically. If your house’s roof has a lot of overhang, you can attach hanging planter boxes, or get some vertical garden pots and build from the ground up in any place you like.

Don't build your garden out — build it up.
Don't build your garden out — build it up.

5. Lose the lawn

Lawns need mowing. Lawns need water. Lawns need fertilizing and aerating.

In other words, lawns need work. 

When your garden is on the smaller side, reclaiming an unused lawn can be a good way to maximise the backyard space. Pavers, decking or even artificial grass can turn what used to be lawn into a low-maintenance seating, dining or cooking area. 

Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.
Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.

Are you planning a landscaping job and need help finding the best products and professionals? Connect with the best landscape architects and designers, and get your compact garden growing.

Top banner image credit: Branché Landscapes 

ArchiPro

ArchiPro is the place where beautifully designed spaces begin

Recommended reading
Done tagging
Full screen
5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

5 ways to maximise space in a small garden

What a compact garden lacks in space, it can more than make up for in style, function and charm.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

It’s no secret that we Kiwis love our backyards and green spaces. They’re places where we can relax, entertain, and play — our own little slices of paradise.

But when your garden is on the compact side, it can take a bit more planning to get everything you might want from it. Here are five small garden design ideas to make the most of the space in your backyard.

1. Work with the scale of the space

When a garden is small, it’s important that your design, landscaping, and product choices are made with the limitations of the space in mind. For example, a huge BBQ that fills half the garden’s footprint might be great for a grill-up, but it would make your backyard good for little else. Whether it’s a spa pool, an outdoor couch, or a newly-planted tree, make sure you’re populating your garden with elements that won’t overpower everything else.

A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.
A small spa is the perfect fit for a compact space.

2. Don’t be afraid to segment

It can be tempting to think a compact garden should always be left open and free-flowing, with few dividing lines or barriers breaking up the space. After all, wouldn’t an open plan area be the best way to make a small space look bigger? Perhaps, but maximising how large a space appears can sometimes come at the expense of its functionality.

To maximise your backyard space, think about it in the same way you would with the interior of a house. A house has different areas for different things — a kitchen for cooking, a bedroom for sleeping, a lounge for relaxing — all of which use design elements to segment each area from the next. In some cases, there are walls that physically separate a space; in others more subtle cues like furniture placement or decorative flourishes are used. Either way, the goal is generally to have each area feel distinct.

This effect can be achieved in your garden using similar methods: outdoor screens or tall trough planters can wall off sections and create multiple areas; flowerbeds can change the geography of a lawn and partition spaces; furniture can be arranged to create separation between dining and outdoor cooking areas. Anything that creates contrast or an edge will work. 

3. Play with the light

At night, effective garden lighting is like a royal flush — it trumps almost anything in creating atmosphere and shaping mood.

Selective lighting can accent the parts of your garden you want to draw attention to while leaving the rest under a blanket of darkness. While lighting obviously can’t change the size of your backyard, it can make a garden feel bigger by not drawing attention to the walls or edges of the space.

Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.
Mood lighting works wonders for building atmosphere.

The power of light isn’t limited to the post-sunset hours — sculpting daylight can also work wonders for changing the feel of a backyard space. A sun shade can make a relaxation area cool and covered, while a well-angled mirror can visually double the space in an instant.

4. Use the vertical space

Just like in a crowded city, when space in a garden is scarce, the only way to get more of it is to work up. While you won’t be filling the vertical space with a skyscraper, there are many different methods to take advantage of verticality in the backyard.

Turn your fence into a new garden space by installing a trellis and finding plants that are happy to grow vertically. If your house’s roof has a lot of overhang, you can attach hanging planter boxes, or get some vertical garden pots and build from the ground up in any place you like.

Don't build your garden out — build it up.
Don't build your garden out — build it up.

5. Lose the lawn

Lawns need mowing. Lawns need water. Lawns need fertilizing and aerating.

In other words, lawns need work. 

When your garden is on the smaller side, reclaiming an unused lawn can be a good way to maximise the backyard space. Pavers, decking or even artificial grass can turn what used to be lawn into a low-maintenance seating, dining or cooking area. 

Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.
Artificial grass makes for a low-maintenance backyard.

Are you planning a landscaping job and need help finding the best products and professionals? Connect with the best landscape architects and designers, and get your compact garden growing.

Top banner image credit: Branché Landscapes 

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