Garden Ideas for a Small Garden

Garden Ideas for a Small Garden image by S.F. Heron

You've decided to plant a garden on that little patch of space in your small backyard. Making the decision to plant a small garden involves evaluating the space as well as creating an enjoyable landscape that you'll enjoy for years. Gardens come in all shapes and sizes so you'll need to determine the function of the garden, what you want the garden to enhance and the amount of maintenance you prefer.


Gardens might be things of beauty but they also have an inherent function. As the creator, designer and gardener, you have the choice to make your small garden any way your prefer. Consider the many options and types of gardens to choose from. Some common garden types include rose gardens, butterfly or hummingbird gardens, vegetable gardens, perennial (plants grow and return every year) or an annual garden. You can add a small fountain or water feature or focus the garden around a stunning piece of statuary. Decide the function first and then determine how much money and maintenance you'd like to perform on your small garden plot. Making these decisions before your turn even one shovel-full of dirt will help you create the perfect environment for your own enjoyment.


Small gardens require careful thought and planning to capitalize on the most impact in a tiny space. These gardens can be any shape or simply a small-mulched area around the base of a tree. Design includes choosing plants that will thrive in the soil and light conditions as well as creating a sense of unity in the small space. Unity occurs when you choose a particular color scheme or theme for the garden. Maybe you like roses or you love flowering annuals in pink and white. Choose plants within your color scheme of varying heights. Small garden areas require staggering of taller plants at the rear of the garden. Work forward in descending order to capitalize on your garden space.


Xeriscape gardening creates an extremely low maintenance garden that works perfectly for a small garden. Native plants requiring little maintenance and water form the anchor plants. Ornamental grasses and ground covers add to this simple but stunning garden. Shrubs and hardy flowering perennials can also anchor a xeriscape garden. Choosing to add a small xeriscape garden to your landscape requires investigating which native plants perform best in your area. See additional resources for a zone-growing guide from the National Gardening Association.

Rock Gardens

Choosing a simple design for a small garden helps emphasize the plants. The use of rocks as decorative accents enhances your plants and provides a natural appearance to a small garden. Rocks can be found almost anywhere and offer an affordable alternative to more expensive garden ornaments. Create small mounds of medium-sized rocks or place individual rocks on top of your mulch base. Consider using gravel, river rocks or decorative stone as mulch instead of plain hardwood or pine bark mulch to add interest, color and texture to your small garden.

Keywords: small garden design, garden design, small gardens

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with over three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various websites and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

Photo by: S.F. Heron