Small Garden Design Ideas

Small Garden Design Ideas

If you’ve only got a small one, showing it to people can be embarrassing. Mortifying, even. Especially if they look it up and down, offer a weak smile and say ‘Yeah, yeah it’s nice,’ then go home smirking. The question is: how can you impress with something so small? How do you stop people laughing at it?

A garden at a flower show that has 3 colourful cubes for seating and a black paving leading up to them. The planting is red, yellow and green to match the colour of the cubes.
Small colourful garden

It’s true – impressing with a small garden (yes, garden) can be difficult. Especially when every gardening magazine assumes you have the space or desire for a 10 foot gazebo, or a pond full of Koi Carp. In fact, coming up with small garden design ideas can be a lot like that 30 minute meal show you see on TV – easy if you happen to have 18 frying pans, a cupboard full of organic turmeric and the time to personally handpick mussels off the coast, but what if you’ve only got a loaf of bread and half a tin of beans? What then, Jamie Oliver?

Thankfully, unlike most other things in the world, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to garden design.

Small Garden Design Ideas

The first thing you need to ask yourself is: what do I want from my garden? Most people will say they want something eye-catching, something that looks nice. They’ll want something easy to maintain with a nice area to sit in the summer.

Of course what they mean is, they want something to wipe the smile from the face of extended-garden-and-conservatory-Sharon next door. And the options are greater than you might think.

Something Eye-Catching

To combat your limited surface area, a good idea is to build up rather than across. Get yourself a garden centrepiece which stands out without taking up too much room. So forget about the gazebo and the expensive fish – I’m talking monoliths.

Monoliths offer a focal point that you can build your garden around. Available either drilled or undrilled, you even have the option of turning a drilled monolith into a fountain, and the good thing is – you only need one.  

A large Apricot coloured monolith in a front garden surrounded by pink and cream gravel.
Apricot Monolith with Flamingo Chippings

With a big garden, only having one monolith is similar to having a cow in a large barn. Yes, it’s there, but it’s not going to turn any heads. But if you suddenly put that cow in a small kitchen, it’s not going to go without comment.

Decorate the base of your monolith with decorative aggregates such as a complementary coloured pebble, to create a genuinely eye-catching display.

Or, to completely contradict the previous point, you can really get one over on your neighbours by taking about 12 monoliths and recreating Stonehenge in your back garden. Nothing gets the envy flowing like an unexplained architectural masterpiece.

Stone Warehouse offer a large range of ever changing feature stones, along with pebbles to complement said impending architectural masterpiece…

Something Modern

Water walls and rain curtains are also ideal to ‘build up’ in your garden. Let water run onto pebbles around the bottom of it and you have once again nailed the eye catching display with very little effort.

The added bonus is when the ‘other half’ is hogging the bathroom yet again; you can just nip outside, turn the rain curtain on, don the shower cap and lather up. Just ensure that pesky Sharon from next door hasn’t got her binoculars out again…

Something Nice

If you do have the option of spending a bit more, you should consider the range of imported decorative aggregates such as chippings, pebbles and cobbles.

These products hold their colour both in the sunshine and when they get wet, so you’re not going to lose the effect during the 10 month rainy season. In fact most of these products will look more colourful when wet so you may want to drag all your friends outside in the rain to admire them. We are sure they will thank you for it.

Filling a large garden with imported stone would cost the equivalent of sending a rocket to the moon, probably. Therefore smaller gardens have the advantage here of being able to create a path or border their entire garden with a quality, more expensive product. Who’s laughing now, Sharon?

Something Easy to Maintain

Maintenance is the worst part of anything, ever. Things like checking your tyre pressure, defrosting the freezer or trying to prise buttons, pennies and socks from the washing machine. Jobs that nobody likes doing and never will. Thankfully, when it comes to garden design, somebody invented the word ‘rustic’.

‘Rustic’ basically means something that looks a bit worn and dated, but that’s okay now because it’s very fashionable and will be the case for the foreseeable future.  (Even if it does go out of fashion, you can then be called ‘retro’ which gives you the same level of respect, apparently.)

Rustic slate rockery gives you the opportunity to drop a large boulder in your garden, completely forget about it forever, and still be classed as somebody trendy, somebody who’s with it.

Several pieces of rustic slate rockery  surrounded by green slate chippings and complementary plants.
Rustic Slate Rockery with Green Slate Chippings

Complement the rockery stone with either the 20mm or 40mm Green Slate chippings. You can then fill your flowerbed with a cheap, authentic, rustic looking display, which requires no maintenance whatsoever.


Paving is a very low maintenance garden option and is perfect to create a small patio. Chuck a couple of pot plants on it and you actually look like you are attempting to grow stuff. We offer a variety of pebbles that can be used as pot toppers – and to possibly disguise the fact that the plants aren’t doing so well…

Patio with brown colour tones with wooden table and benches and a woman relaxing and reading a magazine.

So if you’re looking for some small garden design ideas, rest assured that you are not limited by its size. Build up. Buy quality. And if you’re the type of person to start something and get bored halfway through. Then just drop a couple of rustic boulders down and wash your hands of it.

Or don’t. They’ll only get dirty again anyway.

Our video is packed full of ideas for small garden designs
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