10 Small Garden Ideas to Maximise Your Space

Written by: Chelsea Jobe



Time to read 5 min

Small garden ideas that do not compromise on style

No matter how small, all outdoor spaces deserve to receive the same amount of time and effort to look visually pleasing. With smaller gardens and patios, the most crucial factor is utilising the available space. From cosy corner sofas to wall lights, we have compiled a list of our top tips and tricks for maximising small outdoor spaces.

Discover our small garden ideas and transform your space into your paradise.

The power of colour

A rule of thumb in interior design is that lighter colours are best suited for small spaces to create the illusion of a bigger room. This rule also applies to outdoor areas and neutrals are currently trending in garden decor. From fencing to fabric furniture sets, create a fresh modern look with colours like cream, beige and taupe. Brighten up and visually extend your space, so consider this when designing your outdoor oasis.

Top tip: if your garden or patio receives a lot of direct sunlight, opt for a warmer tone or use black as a contrasting colour to avoid washing out your outdoor space.

Multipurpose furniture

The two main categories of outdoor living furniture are dining and lounging, and in a dream scenario, both styles are desired in one space to create the ultimate outdoor set-up. However, this arrangement may not be possible for small gardens. Casual dining sets are the resolution that serves two purposes without compromising on design. A casual dining set is a versatile piece of furniture, combining the relaxed nature of lounging with sofa seating and the practicality of outdoor dining. Opt for this outdoor furniture style to make the most of your space. The Oxford Corner Dining Set with Ice Bucket and Rising Table, in particular, allows you to go from dining to casual lounging with the rising table function.

Shelve, store and style

The most common issue with small gardens and patios is the lack of floor space. A simple space-saving solution to this problem is to use the surrounding walls for storage and decoration. Add shelving to display plants and pots, hang mirrors or even build a bar area. Walls are a blank canvas to express creativity and style with outdoor accessories. Utilise the free space around the outside of your home and enjoy a clutter-free zone with handy storage shelving.

White weaved planter attached to a fence.

Create a cosy corner with a sofa

Choosing furniture that not only suits your outdoor living needs but also meets the size requirements for the area is a difficult task. It is crucial to pick a style that complements the space - for smaller gardens and patios, a corner sofa may be the best fit as the foundation for your outdoor set-up. Corner sofas like the Oslo Chaise Sofa Set are compact for corner positions to create a snug nook to relax with a partner or catch up with friends. The Oslo, in particular, features a smaller seat cushion that can be left or right-handed, which offers versatility for all outdoor spaces. Nestle in the comfort of a corner sofa and experience complete relaxation.

Atmospheric lighting

Outdoor lighting can instantly transform any garden or patio into a well-lit and snug space without occupying much space. There are many styles to choose from that will offer something different, contributing to the atmosphere of the outdoor area. Decorative lighting, such as string lights, can be hung overhead and emits a whimsical yet welcoming vibe. Wall lights like the Milan Solar Wall Light are modern and functional lighting that can be placed along the exterior walls bordering your outdoor space. If portability is a factor, choose a light that sits on top of a coffee or dining table. The B-Bulb is a contemporary take on outdoor lighting and can be transported easily with a soft touch handle.

In the zone

Garden zoning is a concept in landscaping and exterior design where outdoor spaces are divided into sections for different purposes. For example, the dining area is separate from the seating area. Zoning is not limited to larger outdoor spaces and can maximise the use of smaller gardens and patios. Think about your outdoor living needs and what you want to achieve from your outdoor space - whether it is lounging, cooking or entertaining. Lead the way from one zone to another with a pathway or stepping stones, which will elongate the area.

Top tip: a trellis is a practical outdoor accessory to partition the zones. The TRIO Stone 30 Planter and Trellis for TRIO can be combined to create a beautiful green wall.

Garden with stepping stones leading up to an aluminium pergola.

Warm up with a patio heater

Similar to outdoor lighting, outdoor heating will add an element of warmth to any space. Heating like patio heaters will enhance the intimate feel of small gardens and create a cosy spot to relax, even on cool evenings. Accessorise with the Aurora Pendant Overhang Electric Patio Heater; that will hang over an outdoor sofa or dining set. This heater can be moved easily into position so you and your guests can soak the warmth into the late hours. For a centrepiece feature, go for the Hestia Table Top Electric Patio Heater. With a pull-string light switch, the Hestia is compact but packs a powerful punch.

Tea for two

If you are restricted space-wise but do not want to feel limited on design or functionality, choose a bistro set or 2-seat lounge sets for your garden. These two styles of outdoor furniture are designed especially for smaller spaces. The Cotswold Reclining 2 Seat Lounge Set is perfect for lounging on a warm sunny day, with a reclining  backrest to lean back and relax. This reclining set is multipurpose - so you can enjoy a morning coffee and then afterwards catch some rays. To fully immerse yourself in the alfresco dining experience, the Amalfi 3 Piece Bistro Set with Rising Table is a must-have piece of furniture. The Amalfi is a compact version of a casual dining set with a handy gas lift table feature.

Add layers with a stylish rug

While outdoor accessories add charm and personality to outdoor spaces - some accessories, like water features and statues, take up a lot of room. Rugs are a quick and easy accessory to spruce up a garden or patio without overcrowding. The shining quality of an outdoor rug is that it can be laid underneath a sofa or dining set to create a cohesive aesthetic. Rugs, like the Grey Arrow Rug, will also contribute to the warmth of the space so you can feel cosy and comfortable even outdoors.

Grey outdoor rug with arrow design.

Keep covered with a wall-mounted parasol

Always be prepared for the unexpected, like a sudden heat wave. While the UK is not always guaranteed nice weather, get outdoors ready with a parasol to seek shade on hot summer days. For limited-space gardens, choose the Wall Mounted Parasol. This parasol can be attached to the exterior wall, creating a sheltered area over outdoor seating or dining set. Escape from the heat while still enjoying the great outdoors.

Inspired by any of our small garden ideas? Browse our garden furniture collection and start your outdoor transformation with ATM Living.