Small Back Garden Ideas

Just because space is limited in a small garden, it does not mean that you can't create an attractive and personalized area. In fact, there are many techniques that allow a small garden to look larger, such as planting around the perimeter, which keeps the center open. Remember that less is more in a small space, so don't cram too many plants and accessories into your garden.

Vertical Garden

Utilize and add color to a garden wall or arbor by growing vertical vines. Available in a wide range, including deciduous and evergreen types, vines free up needed space on the ground while adding color and texture to the walls and accenting surrounding plants and flowers within the garden. A hardy and long-lasting creeping vine is Carolina jasmine. An evergreen vine, Carolina jasmine retains its foliage throughout the winter, adding year-round color to a small back garden. The vine has a moderate growth rate and can climb up to 20 feet in height. The spring-blooming, trumpet-shaped, fragrant flowers are yellow, creating a bright burst of color in the garden. The shiny, deep green, oval-shaped foliage gains a bronze tinge in winter. Carolina jasmine is both wind- and drought-tolerant and grows best in USDA zones 7 to 9.

Accent Trees

Instead of planting huge, overpowering trees in a small back yard garden, choose small accent trees. Accent trees often have brilliant foliage and colors that create a focal point in a small area without taking up a lot of space. Found in a wide range of sizes, shapes and color, they lend a commanding display to the landscape. The Italian cypress, an evergreen, has an upright, slender, columnar shape that only grows 3 to 5 feet wide. An excellent accent tree, the Italian cypress can be tucked into a corner of the back garden or against a flanking garden wall to add privacy. The dark green foliage of the Italian cypress tree complements most colors in the garden and the tree tolerates a wide range of soil types, making it very versatile in creating accents in different locations.

Corner Patio

Take an otherwise unused corner of the back garden and tuck in a small patio to create an outdoor living and dining area. Small patios provide outdoor garden "rooms" that are ideal for a small patio furniture or a set of Adirondack chairs that you can lounge on all year long. Patios can be made from a wide range of materials including, flagstone, slate, brick and pebbles, creating the ultimate space from which you can admire your garden's plants and flowers. To create a low-maintenance, unfussy patio design, lay pebbles or crushed granite down as the base. Both are easy to upkeep and blend in well with the surrounding landscape to add a seamless design in a small space. The stones hide dirt and debris and can easily be refreshed with a new layer. Soft underfoot, pebbles also act as a drain to siphon water through the rocks and prevent puddles of water on the patio after a hard rain.

Keywords: small garden ideas, vertical garden, accent trees, stone patio

About this Author

Callie Barber has been writing professionally since 2002. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate indoor and outdoor living environments. Her articles have appeared on and Barber holds a Bachelors of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina.