Small garden landscape ideas

A small garden need not be relegated to small ideas. Landscaping choices can make a small garden just as much of a showcase as a much larger garden. Pick a theme for your small garden and learn all you can about what plants will thrive within the confines of that theme. Another way to go with small garden landscaping is to decorate the garden with ornamentation or water elements.

Theme Garden

Going with a theme for your small garden does limit you in your choice of plants, but that might just make it easier for you. A tropical garden could feature bamboo as well as plants like elephant ears and a palm tree. An Asian garden could be landscaped with a pagoda ornament and bonsai trees, which are perfect for diminutive garden landscapes.


A touch of whimsy can do much to stamp an identity upon a small garden. Among the items to decorate with are lawn gnomes, stone gargoyles, pink flamingos and even a scarecrow. Slide glass bottles onto the bare, thin limbs of a tree to transform it into a bottle tree, which is a real attention-grabber.

Container Garden

Make a container garden to take advantage of limited yard space. Get creative with the containers rather than relying upon traditional containers. Just about anything that can be drained can be used as a container: an old boot, a stack of books that have been glued together or even an old bike with a basket on the front.

Gravel Garden

A small gravel garden may actually look better than a larger edition. Spread gravel around the area and grow plants that will thrive under gravelly conditions. Plants to consider include aromatic herbs, alpines and ground-cover grasses. Build the gravel garden around an old, gnarled tree trunk for a dramatic effect.


Use a trellis to add a garden to a very small amount of space. Vines like ivy, clematis and Chinese wisteria will take to the trellis and create a beautiful pattern of growth. Add a grapevine to your trellis garden, and you have an instant outdoor snack or the beginning of what will eventually become a bottle of wine.


Edging serves to set off the planting and can make a distinctive impact upon a small garden. Brick edging gives your garden a traditional sense of style. Use wood edging, such as railroad timbers or sawn posts planted in the ground, to create a more rustic feel. A very striking use of paving is to create a circular pathway around a garden focal point, such as a birdbath, statuary or fountain.

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Timothy Sexton's more than 10,000 articles have been published on sites ranging from USA Today to CareerAddict, from PopEater to His writing has been referenced in books ranging from "The Reckless Life...of Marlon Brando" to "Brand New China: Advertising, Media and Commercial and from Scarface Nation to Incentive!"