23 Amazing Garden Ideas for Small Spaces

I have always admired gardens, and I thought that when I bought my home, it would have a massive garden. I finally bought a house, but my dreams’ vast, colorful garden was not my reality. I had a small space, but I decided I would still turn it into the garden of my dreams.

Here are the 23 best garden ideas for small spaces: 

  1. Vertical garden
  2. Fairy gardens
  3. Bubble water fountain
  4. Cactus garden
  5. Flower garden
  6. Hanging flower pots
  7. Herb garden
  8. Faux grass stepping stones
  9. Lattice green wall
  10. Fold-out flower shelf
  11. Use string lights to light up your garden
  12. Fence planters
  13. Container gardens
  14. Vegetable and flower companion gardens
  15. Rock gardens
  16. Succulent rock garden
  17. Windowsill garden
  18. Overhead garden
  19. Raised garden beds
  20. Repurposed shutters 
  21. Window box gardens
  22. Mirror garden
  23. Ceiling garden

Small gardens can look great if you are creative. Let’s delve deeper into these minimalist garden ideas to transform your small space into an attractive, sustainable, and easy-to-maintain garden.

1. Vertical Garden

Vertical gardens are great when you are tight on space or when you want some screening for privacy when you are on your patio, deck, or balcony. Vertical gardening takes advantage of the upward-growing habits of plants to maximize the use of limited space. 

You can grow houseplants, annuals, perennials, a kitchen garden, or even shrubs vertically. Make DIY vertical planters or buy commercially available products, such as hanging wall planters and bamboo trellis, to create great vertical gardens.

The vertical garden works indoors and outdoors, and when you are creative, there is no limit to what you can do when you are growing plants upwards.

2. Fairy Gardens

If you enjoy fairy movies, you can create a miniature garden that is strikingly similar to the world of the fairies. Fairy gardens are unique and are a great place to start if you want a theme garden. 

Unlike other types of gardens, fairy gardens require detailed planning because every item you use needs to fit the setting. Luckily, the creative process is fun, and you have the freedom to use whatever you want to bring the fairy garden to life.

For example, an old wheelbarrow, a dresser drawer, a broken pot, or even an old teapot are handy for the little setup, and they won’t take up much space. You can also buy miniature objects, such as stones, cones, sticks, and other decorative items. 

Fairy gardens are artistic and quite charming. They also provide an avenue to escape into your little make-believe world, where you can test your creativity.  

3. Bubble Water Fountain

Water features are common in large gardens, but you can also place your water feature in a small garden. You may not get the water fountain you have always wanted, but you can get a bubbling fountain for small gardens. Birds will also enjoy visiting your garden because of the bubbling of the water. 

4. Cactus Garden

A cactus garden is excellent for a small garden because cacti come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Cacti also look great when you cover the ground with decorative stones, whether planting them in pots or on the ground.

You can create a unique atmosphere and ambiance by mixing and matching different cacti species in your garden. 

Some great cacti plants for your small garden include the following:

  • Bunny Ear Cactus
  • Star Cactus
  • Fairy Castle Cactus

5. Flower Garden 

Just because you have a small space for a garden doesn’t mean you have to give up on having a flower garden. You only have to grow the flowers differently.

For example, you can grow annuals or perennials in pots. You may even control flowers that are attractive but invasive in a container. 

You can use various containers such as hanging pots, barrels, or any, zany found objects that you may repurpose to grow your flowers. The more creative you are, the more your small garden will become a feature.  

You can read my other article on starting a flower garden from scratch here: How to Start a Flower Garden from Scratch (DIY Guide).

6. Hanging Flower Pots

You may not have sufficient ground space, but the walls of your house and fence can be great extensions of your garden. Hanging flower pots share similarities with vertical gardens. However, a minimalist approach is necessary when hanging flower pots in different positions on the wall or fence. 

You have to be careful when selecting plants for hanging flower pots. If the wall is in direct sunlight, a shade-loving plant may not survive, and vice versa. 

The watering schedule of the plants may also vary. If they have different water demands, you should keep a journal to follow the watering plan correctly. 

7. Herb Garden

Herbs don’t take up much space. They are also low maintenance, and you can grow them in pots, jars, or cups. Some herbs like oregano, lemon balm, basil, and sage grow in water. 

A herb garden has several advantages:

  • You have access to fresh herbs and spices for your kitchen.
  • Some herbs, like mint and lavender, have a strong scent that can be therapeutic when seated or working in your garden. 
  • They save you the time and money you would have spent going to the grocery store to buy them.

Some common herbs suitable for a small kitchen garden include:

  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Lemongrass
  • Coriander
  • Mint
  • Lemon balm
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Bay leaf
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Sage

8. Faux Grass Stepping Stones

You may not have enough space for a lawn, but you can use artificial grass to bring nature to your small garden. When you add stepping stones, you’ll be giving your garden a neat, structured look. It will also lead the eye and give the illusion of space.  

There are so many designs for faux grass and stepping stones. You may choose to make the rocks the main feature, with artificial grass in between the stepping stones, or your garden can be more of grass than stone. 

You will undoubtedly have a garden with a clean, attractive finish, whichever choice you make. 

9. Green Lattice Wall

A green lattice wall is an excellent privacy screen that doubles as a cover for unsightly parts of the garden. When making a green lattice wall, you can be as creative as possible. You can use a trellis of wood, stainless steel, PVC pipes, posts, or even strings attached to beams. 

You only need to ensure the lattice has adequate support for the type of plants you intend to use. It may fall if the natural or artificial plants are too heavy. 

Some of the natural flowering vines you can use for your lattice green wall include:

  • Jewel of Africa Nasturtium
  • Zephirine Drouhin Rose 
  • Morning glory 
  • Mandevilla 
  • Campsis Radicans
  • Clematis

You can buy artificial plants if you want an instant fix or a green screen that requires no maintenance.

10. Fold-Out Flower Shelves

If you don’t like hanging flower pots or wish to add some variation in displaying your plants, you can build fold-out flower shelves. These will allow you to add character to your flower arrangements, whether they are attached to the wall, fence, or other areas in your garden. 

11. Use String Lights to Light Up Your Garden

Since you have a small garden, you may be limited in the size of light fixtures. Even one outdoor lamp might be too bright for a small garden, and they tend to enhance the limited space you have in your garden.

String lights are not too bright, but they work for small gardens as the boundaries of your space become more muted and less noticeable. These lights help set the garden’s ambiance, especially in the evening. Even if you don’t entertain in your garden, you can sit out and enjoy a quiet evening outdoors. 

12. Fence Planters

You can also use fence planters to extend your garden, especially if you no longer have ground space. Fence planters are great for continuity, especially if you want to take your garden upward. Fence planters work as an extension of your garden, enhancing your fence’s appeal.

13. Container Gardens

Container gardening is excellent for small garden spaces. Even people with extensive gardens use containers to improve the appeal of their gardens.

Containers are decorative enough on their own. When you add attractive plants, the outcome is superb.

Container gardens are also great for controlling invasive plants. You can use containers of different shapes, sizes, and colors to improve your small garden’s aesthetics. 

This video has 60+ ideas that you can use in your small garden space:

14. Vegetable and Flower Companion Gardens

Companion gardening is great if you want to maximize space by planting vegetables and flowers within the same garden. Sometimes, this helps to deter some pests and diseases. Flowers also encourage pollination, which is helpful for some vegetables.

Here are flowers that you can companion plant with vegetables:

FlowersBenefits of the flowersCompanion Vegetables
  • Attracts bees and other pollinators
  • Compounds in the roots kill non-beneficial nematodes
  • The pungent smell repels pests
Cucumbers, melons, squash, potatoes, lettuce, pumpkins, eggplants, and tomatoes

Calendula (pot marigold)
  • Attracts pollinators and predatory insects
  • Thick fibrous roots protect the soil
Cucumbers, tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, peas, and spring salad vegetables
Borage (Borago officinalis)
  • Bee-friendly attractive flowers
  • Traps aphids
  • Attracts insect prey
  • It uses its roots to break up and aerate the soil
  • Seed oil is medicinal
Tomatoes, cabbage, strawberries, and squash
  • Attracts pollinators
  • Controls pests
  • Attracts beneficial insects like ladybugs and wasps
Potatoes, green vegetables, and tomatoes
  • Repel aphids, tomato worms, leafhoppers, and other garden pests
Tomatoes, strawberries, vegetables, and lemon trees
  • Prevent fungal diseases
  • Traps insects such as cabbage worms, whiteflies, squash bugs, and cucumber beetles
Cabbage, cucumber, broccoli, squash, kale, radish, potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes.
Flower and Vegetable Companion Plants

When you opt to plant flowers and vegetables in the same garden space, you need to ensure they have the same watering and sunlight requirements. You must ensure that you choose plants that are easy to manage. 

Companion planting can lead to overcrowding, especially if the plants are invasive. You may need to keep pruning and maintaining your garden to ensure the flowers and vegetables thrive. 

This video analyzes vegetable and flower companion planting and its benefits:

15. Rock Gardens

Rock gardens are also great for small spaces. You can use sand, pebbles, and small potted plants in your rock garden. Rock gardens have an advantage because you can layer rocks around the plants to elevate your garden and add character and style to your space. 

You can also opt for a simple design where the small stones remain the focal point and place them in interesting and eye-catching designs.

16. Succulent Rock Garden

Rocks and succulents tend to come as a pair. Even though you can pair other plants with stones, none fits in as well as succulents. So, if you have limited space and would still like to have plants and rocks, succulents are a great choice.

They grow easily and do well in full or partial sun. You can also plant succulents of different colors, shapes, and sizes to include a sense of variety in your garden. The bonus is that succulents are hardy and waterwise, making them less taxing on the environment.

17. Windowsill Garden

Windowsill gardens are great for indoor and outdoor plants. The plants complement your small garden. Apart from the cost of the planters and plants, windowsill gardens are affordable because you won’t need to cover the cost of constructing shelves. 

When choosing plants for windowsill gardens, you need to select varieties that don’t grow too big. Otherwise, they will cover the window, affecting the light going into your home. 

If indoor plants rely on sunlight from the windows, they may get leggy and unattractive as they search for more light. Besides flowers, you can also grow your kitchen garden on the windowsills. 

18. Overhead Garden

Overhead gardens give you the chance to explore the space above. It adds a new concept to small garden designs where you use structures to create overhead gardens.

For example, you can create overhead garden structures on your patio or use climbers to make your gazebo stand out as part of the garden. 

19. Raised Garden Beds

Raised garden beds are great for growing vegetables, herbs, fragrant blooms, and succulents. They are great for introducing layers to your small garden. They also increase your planting space by providing a variety of levels. 

You can make raised beds of different heights and shapes for plants to enhance their different characteristics. You may even paint the raised beds to introduce color to the outdoor decor. 

20. Repurposed Shutters 

Another great addition to small garden spaces is repurposed shutters. You can use old shutters as privacy screens or as a support for climbing plants. You can also incorporate the shutters into your wall decor, where you can attach hanging pots. 

You may use repurposed shutters to add color to the garden. You only need to paint the shutters and place them strategically amongst your plants to enhance your small garden aesthetics. 

21. Window Box Gardens

Window box gardens allow you to have a floral collection of fragrant blooms growing in boxes attached to the wall just below the window sills. You have a lot of creative freedom regarding design, size, and shape.

However, you need to be mindful that window box gardens can be heavy, so you need to secure them well when fixing them on the wall. You also need to ensure it has drainage holes and landscape fabric to ensure the soil doesn’t pass through. 

Get plants that command attention for the window box gardens. Attractive window boxes will take attention away from your small garden.

Some of the plants you should consider for the box garden include:

  • Katrina African Iris
  • Alocasia Frydek
  • Geraniums  

22. Mirror Garden

Mirror gardens give an illusion that the garden space is bigger than it is. You can strategically add mirrors at different points in your garden to reflect some of your favorite spots. The mirrors will also enhance your garden’s beauty. 

You can also place mirrors in your garden to reflect light in some dark spots. The reflection will bring light to some plants that may not be getting sufficient sunlight. 

23. Ceiling Garden

If the space at the bottom keeps you from having all the plants you want, why not try the area above? Garden ceilings are a great extension of your garden. However, you need to ensure the planters are secure because you don’t want them falling. 

Plants that are great for the ceiling include:

  • English ivy 
  • Devil’s Ivy 
  • String of Hearts
  • Spider plant 
  • String of Beads
  • Donkey’s Tail 
  • Tradescantia (just be sure to provide it with optimal growing conditions to avoid having it grow upward and become leggy)

You can read my other article on starting a backyard garden here: How to Start a Backyard Garden (Vegetable and Flower).

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the founder of TheGrowingLeaf.com and its lead content writer. He created the website in 2022 as a resource for horticulture lovers and beginners alike, compiling all the gardening tips he discovered over the years. Alex has a passion for caring for plants, turning backyards into feel-good places, and sharing his knowledge with the rest of the world.

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