4 Easy Ways to Make a Small Garden Look Bigger

Small garden, fenced in, with dog in backyard
The secret to an inviting small garden is to keep it simple but picturesque. (DepositPhotos)

Taking in the sights and smells of a small garden can be relaxing. The trick, however, is creating the feeling of a vast expanse, especially with limited space.

So, what’s the magic formula? Here are 4 tips to enhance any small garden’s appearance.

Decluttered small garden with hardscaping
Mixing landscaping and hardscaping, such as this stamped concrete patio, is one way to declutter a small garden while keeping it visually pleasing. (DepositPhotos)

1. Declutter Your Small Garden

Remove any features in your garden that use up a lot of space; having too many large features ends up making your already limited space look and feel cramped.

Maybe you’ve installed outdoor seating for 10 people — how about reducing that seating to serve four? The idea is to get everything you don’t need off the floor, if it’s a balcony, or your lawn, and to see more of the ground.

To that end, if your garden hose doesn’t have a proper home, and it’s just curled up like a snake on the ground — a wall-mount garden hose reel will free up considerable floor space for you! And it will make the space look neater and more organized, to boot.

Another way to declutter? Preventive maintenance! If you can’t take care of a full lawn, install hardscaping, such as a stamped concrete patio or walkway, or arrangements of rocks to mix it up.

Soil and plant in hand before gardening
Choose plants carefully for your small garden. (DepositPhotos)

2. Carefully Pick What to Grow

Focusing on what to grow in a small garden will go a long way toward helping you achieve visual balance. For instance, plant fewer plants, but choose ones with a big impact, such as large-leafed plants like the Mahonia.

Another simple way of maximizing your small garden is to think vertical — in other words, use walls to your advantage and adorn them with climbing plants.

Another way to add atmosphere to your garden is to choose plants that are delightfully fragrant, such as star jasmine.

Just one word of caution: Always check with your local nursery or extension office to make sure a plant is not an invasive species for your area.

Small garden on balcony with light walls
Imagine if this wall were black. It looks much better light and bright! (DepositPhotos)

3. Paint with Light Colors

Small gardens, especially those in big cities, get limited light. That’s why it’s important to brighten up the walls surrounding your garden.

Poorly lit gardens can give you a claustrophobic feeling since the space looks and then feels small.

Painting your walls can make the space more pleasant and inviting.

Depending on your home’s location, always check with the homeowners association, co-op board or other governing entities before making permanent changes to your home.

Mirror on balcony
You use mirrors indoors to make rooms look bigger, so why not use them outdoors, too? (DepositPhotos)

4. Hang Mirrors

Just like the effect you get with indoor mirrors, using outdoor mirrors can make the space feel bigger.

The mirror’s reflection creates the illusion of a bigger garden. This is especially useful for strategically placed mirrors on balconies and in townhomes’ often cramped backyards.

Now, it’s necessary first to consider local fowl. You’ll want to prevent harm to birds, so before you place a mirror, spend several weeks examining area birds’ flight paths. Then place the mirror outside that path.

What are your favorite tricks to enhance a small garden? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Kay Burton is a freelance landscaper in Carrollton, Texas. He loves creating art, using nature as his canvas.

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