Even if your outdoor space is small, that doesn't mean you can't produce big results with your landscaping efforts. While landscaping in a small space can present challenges, consider them positive ones, and learn to work with the area, rather than against it. Consider, too, that one of the many benefits of landscaping a small outdoor space is less maintenance, which means more time to enjoy it.
Train the eye to look upward, taking the focus off of the small area in which plants are grown. Incorporating plants such as the bird of paradise, which grows vertically, will help to achieve this effect. Vining plants such as black-eyed Susan or balloon vine are other good options for plants that will climb. Try creating a little drama in your small outdoor space by including the moonflower, an annual vine that blooms at night.
Use a minimal variety of plants, but from the ones used be sure to use plants that will offer a wide range of colors, leaf size and contrast. Planting blue campanula next to philodendron, for example, offers great contrast in size and color. Try also to include plants that will serve double duty. For example, star jasmine is a very fragrant plant that produces beautiful foliage. Mimic a larger feel in your smaller space by including evergreens such as blue spruce or Alberta pine.
A small rock garden can serve as an interesting focal point in a small outdoor area. Like plants, choose rocks that complement one another. Add a relaxing component to an outdoor area by including a water feature. Even in a small outdoor space, serenity fountains or even bird baths can be used to add the calming effects created by water.