Forest Garden
Stylish Ideas for Small Garden Spaces: The Ultimate Guide to Courtyard Garden Makeovers

4th January 2024

Your garden may be small but that doesn’t mean it can’t become a beautiful outdoor space. A place to rest, to connect with nature, to grow or play.

As you’ve landed here, we’re guessing you must be questioning how to improve your small garden, yard or courtyard, so read on. We have a whole lot of small garden inspiration for you, including an example of a courtyard space we transformed. We also have some clever space-saving products too. Thought you couldn’t have a garden bar or a greenhouse – you can now!

Ready to feel inspired to update your small garden?

Stylish Shiplap Pent Garden Bar

The benefits of a small garden

With a population seeking downtime like never before, it’s no surprise that outdoor spaces, however large or small, add value to homes and property. A well-designed courtyard can be a valuable addition to a home. Why is this? Let’s look at the benefits a small outdoor space can offer.

🌱Extended living space for relaxing, dining, entertaining or playing.

🌱A source of stress relief and a calming retreat to support your wellbeing.

🌱A place to connect with nature, support wildlife and live a more sustainable lifestyle – growing your own food, herbs or flowers, even composting becomes possible.

🌱Space for kids to play and learn.

🌱A canvas for creativity and self-expression. There’s so much joy to be had by nurturing plants and creating a happy haven of colour.

🌱Smaller gardens are easier to maintain which once again supports your wellbeing.

Understanding your small garden space and your vision

If space is limited, you’re going to have to be really specific with how you use every centimetre of space.

Start with your vision for your garden. How do you intend to use the space? What’s the number one thing you will do in your garden? Prioritise this and work out from there. Is growing your priority? A space to enjoy your morning coffee and to dine in the evening with friends. Is encouraging wildlife important to you?

Is your space overlooked and you’ll need to create a private area away from eyesight?

Another important consideration is the amount of sunlight your outdoor space gets. Is it shady, full of sun or a bit of both as this will sway your usage decisions too? Like where you position a raised bed of flowers or your seating area.

Is there a style and vibe you’d love to create with your courtyard? Mediterranean, tropical, minimalist, cottage. Think about your interior living style and consider how you might transport it to the outdoors.

Designing a small garden

Less is more in a small garden but that doesn’t mean everything needs to be small. A lot of small elements can create a very cluttered feel, so you may be better off choosing bigger more dominant features and planting to balance the space – but at the same time, don’t overwhelm the space. Think simplicity.

Stylish Slatted Trellis 180x90cm

Vertical space is hugely important in a small garden where often you have more space upwards than you do outwards. Think about growing plants on walls, training them upwards or hanging them from a structure such as trellis, our living screen planter (great for rental properties as it doesn’t need to be fixed to a wall) or our vertical slatted wall planter.

Vertical structures that can serve multiple purposes are ideal, like privacy screening that can also provide support for climbing plants. Our slatted archway works well for this purpose as do all our screens, and slatted corner pergola. Keep scrolling down to see how we used our slatted arch in our courtyard transformation example.

Create key focal points within the space. Something to lead the eye and create interest. Consider a small pergola, a tree, colourful planter, sculpture, or water feature.

Clever multi-purpose usage of areas is going to be the ideal situation. A space that works for 2 different purposes. Think about storage under bench seating rather than free-standing garden furniture. Raised beds or linear planters that can also act as dividers. Our fold-down garden bar provides a brilliant entertaining space and when not in use can be folded away almost flush with the wall.

A tree is always an asset to an outdoor space, even in a small garden. It leads the eye, attracts wildlife and can look really pretty adorned with solar lights. Garden designers always champion trees in small gardens.

Mirrors and reflective surfaces are also useful in giving the illusion that the space is bigger than it really is.

Small courtyard garden transformation case study

Stylish Slatted Garden Arch

We worked with multi-award-winning garden designer Martyn Wilson to turn an underused yard into a stunning courtyard garden space. It was an easy process with the creative use of zones and our linear planters, corner seating, trellises, and panels.

The brief was to create a stylish space with relaxing seating, alfresco dining and subtle planting. We even managed to squeeze a greenhouse in for a bit of growing space.

We also collaborated with Marshalls Slabs to turn this unused space courtyard in Worcestershire into a beautiful, multi-use area.

Want to create your own courtyard garden? Here’s some of the features we incorporated.

🌱Fold Down Garden Bar to create the perfect space for a morning coffee or evening drinks, accompanied with tall bar stools.

🌱Slatted Garden Arch to create a walkway between the entertaining space and seating area and create a vertical growing space.

🌱Linear Planters to divide the 2 zones.

🌱Victorian Tall Wall Greenhouse to support the homeowners’ interest for growing their own vegetables. We also have a smaller greenhouse available, the Georgian Tall Wall Greenhouse.

🌱Modular Garden Seating V3 was used for the seating area, incorporating upright trellis panels, 2 benches, 2 square seats/tables, and 2 square planters. We have 5 different modular garden seating sets including 2 smaller versions.

🌱1.8m x 1.8m Grey Painted Contemporary Double Slatted Fence Panels to edge the garden and create privacy.

🌱600mm Slatted Garden Trellis was positioned against the back wall to create vertical growing space.

🌱Marshalls Argent© Smooth paving 600x600mm

Final thoughts on small space gardens

When it comes to small garden spaces and courtyard gardens, every choice and every inch counts. Applying key design principles can turn even the most compact courtyard into a lush, inviting hideaway with focal points leading the eye and space maximised through the use of vertical gardening.

Whether your aim is to create a vibrant space for entertaining or a quiet corner for reflection, remember that simplicity often speaks volumes, and the right lighting can bring magic to the smallest garden at twilight.

We hope this guide and case study inspires you to see beyond the limitations of size and helps you to cultivate a space that reflects your personal aesthetic and fulfils your outdoor living dreams. Your tiny patch of outdoor space is waiting to become your garden.