Whenever spring comes around, we can’t wait to enjoy the first rays of sunshine in the middle of nature. Not everybody lives in the countryside or has a huge property – but that doesn’t mean you can’t build your own outdoor oasis at home. We’ve collected the best garden ideas for small spaces: patios, backyards, and anything in between.

Turning a vision board into reality is not always easy. Maybe you already know what your garden should look like – but how do you get there, especially when you only have a few square metres to work with? It all starts with a plan: ideally, you should draw a detailed sketch and write down every single step. This way, you won’t lose sight of your initial idea for the tiny garden project.

Our nine tips will guide you along through the process – and show how you can even integrate smart tech for that extra bit of comfort.

Terrasse mit Kies ausgelegt bietet genügend Platz für Grill und Esstisch
Even a small patio can provide enough space to enjoy a barbecue with friends. Source: iStock

Small garden idea no. 1: demarcate separate areas

If you’re running short on space, you want to use every last inch as efficiently as possible. A clear structure with diagonals and sight axes does wonders for making a little plot of land feel more spacious. Narrow pathways can mark out different sections which all serve a specific purpose: lounge area, outdoor kitchen, flower beds … the list goes on!

You should also think about how to find your way in the dark. Including a smart installation such as the Gira light and energy profile is definitely a good idea for small garden designs: it illuminates your outdoor area at night and powers your lawn mower or electrical barbecue during the day.

Small garden idea no. 2: keep it simple

Different coverings on the ground (e. g. grass, wooden planks, or gravel) can further accentuate different sections. Don’t go overboard though: if you split up your property into too many parts, it might appear fragmented. We recommend sticking to a few selected materials, preferably in bright colours. White stone, for example, is a great idea for small garden landscaping with a friendly atmosphere.

Small garden idea no. 3: flaunt the best angles

The perceived size of a place is often a matter of perspective. To enlarge your property visually, go by the following guidelines:

  • Long, narrow patches need more width. You should avoid prominent details and tall fences or bushes along the sides.

  • Short, broad patches need more depth. Colourful flowerbeds on the left and right help divert the gaze away from the garden’s front end.

Small garden idea no. 4: find the right shapes

Symmetrical structures with carefully placed accents prove particularly useful in minimal outdoor spaces. By way of example, how about a circular or oval lawn at the centre? Little islands like these enhance small garden designs without disrupting the overall picture. They can also serve as a designated spot for seating areas or water fountains.

Small garden idea no. 5: play with colours

Choosing plants for a patio or backyard is similar to choosing wallpaper or carpets for your living room: the right colour scheme can instantly change the entire atmosphere. If you’re looking for ideas to make small gardens feel more spacious, we recommend integrating bright and cool shades. Flowers with white or pale-blue blossoms add some depth, particularly at the rear end of your property. Bold, striking colours such as red or violet can quickly seem overpowering, so you should use them in moderation. In general, try to focus on a few selected tones that balance each other out.

Sitzecke im Garten mit Hängesitz, Decken, Kissen und Kerzen
Some cushions here, some blankets there – and your lounge area is ready for summer. Source: iStock

Small garden idea no. 6: include hidden gems

Why give away everything at once? The longer it takes to explore a place, the more intriguing it will feel. To achieve that effect, you can build multiple levels at varying heights – with a sunken area, an elevated terrace, or a greened slope. Tall bushes or overgrown walls add a touch of mystery, hinting at secret corners waiting to be discovered.

Small garden idea no. 7: vertical is the new horizontal

You don’t always need more square metres. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of creativity. Apart from suspended pot plants, vertical gardening techniques make it particularly easy to grow produce without large patches of land. Raised multi-level beds offer enough room for all your favourite herbs and veggies – even on the balcony!

Holzsitzbank in Hochbeet eingebaut
Multi-level setups create additional space if you don't have a lot of square metres on the ground. Source: iStock

Small garden idea no. 8: play with light

Eye-catching features such as a sculpture or blossoming flowerbed help to gloss over a property’s minimal size. Thanks to their reflective surface, water elements (e.g. little ponds) have a similar effect. The same goes for clever lighting and bright colours: against a white house facade reflecting the sunlight, you garden will appear much bigger than it actually is.

At nighttime, you can rely on smart sensors to illuminate outdoor areas. The Gira motion detector Cube, for example, reacts to ambient brightness as well as thermal movement. This ensures that lights will only switch on when necessary and not be triggered by little animals or gusts of wind.

Small garden idea no. 9: flexible equipment

Huge lounge chairs or long coffee tables hardly fit into a tiny backyard – not to mention they will probably look bulky and obstruct the view onto their green surroundings. Our tip: foldable outdoor furniture designed specifically for patios and balconies. Look out for materials that are weatherproof, lightweight, and easy-care – e.g. rattan or aluminium.

With some cushions and blankets, it will feel just as cosy as an indoor sofa.

The position of furniture also plays an important role in realising your idea of a small garden. A crosswise-standing bench can add a bit more width to long, narrow patches. Lengthwise arrangements, on the other hand, will visually increase the depth.

Gartenstuhl mit Kissen und Decke
Comfy and weatherproof: outdoor furniture made from rattan are ideal for small gardens. Source: iStock

It’s safe to say that there are plenty of ways to grow your own little garden. Less space can even result in more comfort: after all, you won’t spend as much time mowing, raking, or weeding as you would on a large property. Instead, you can just lean back and enjoy your private retreat to the fullest.