How to Plan a Small Garden


Create a stunning and vibrant garden using perennials, shrubs and plants mixed with annual flowers. Nestle a birdbath among the garden to create a functional focal point for attracting birds and butterflies. Use containers filled with cascading sedum plants and jasmine vines. Mix in different textures and types of plants for an interesting garden design. Small gardens have limits, but will allow you to create a detailed and cozy garden space to enjoy all year round.

Step 1

Research the plants' preferred growing environment to determine whether they will succeed in your garden. Observe the area to determine the amount of sunlight and shade the garden receives.

Step 2

Draw a blueprint of your design to guide you through the planting process. Blueprints allow you to make quick changes while designing the garden bed and avoid unnecessary digging.

Step 3

Start at the back of the garden bed and work your way forward to create balance. Begin by planting perennials, which come back each year, stronger and fuller. Choose flowering shrubs and plants that bloom in early spring, ensuring colorful blooms throughout the growing season.

Step 4

Plant bulbs that emerge after winter to add color and texture to a small garden. Grape hyacinths and crocus emerge in early spring and add color and variety to your space.

Step 5

Fill in hard-to-reach spaces with annuals such as violas and Gerber daisies. Their transitory growth pattern is short-lived but ideal for filling in empty spaces inside your garden. Add them to containers and change them throughout the season.

Step 6

Experiment with containers in the small space. Containers are flexible and allow the gardener to decide what to grow and where to situate the pot. Plant essentials such as soil type and amount of light can be easily manipulated in a container.

Step 7

Add a focal point in your small garden and scale it down to size to ensure it does not take over the space. Dwarfed Japanese maples and miniature butterfly bushes are examples of scaled-downed bushes and trees that could become a magnificent yet smaller-sized focal point.

Things You'll Need

  • Containers
  • Plants


  • Sunset
  • My Home Ideas

Who Can Help

  • Miniature Butterfly Bush
Keywords: small garden, perennials, container gardens

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.