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How to Make a Small Garden Look Bigger

Updated on:
May 24, 2024
How to Make a Small Garden Look Bigger

Ever wondered how to make your small garden look bigger? There's a wealth of clever design techniques you can employ to create the illusion of space. From introducing vertical elements and varying plant heights to playing with color and light, each strategy can transform your garden into an inviting, seemingly larger outdoor haven.

It's all about perspective, spatial planning, and smart plant selection. Intrigued? Stay tuned to explore how these tips can help you maximize your garden's potential.

Understanding Garden Perspective

Before you start transforming your small garden, it's crucial to understand the concept of garden perspective, which is essentially how your eye perceives distances and spaces. Garden perspective is the art of manipulating how we see and experience spaces, making them look more extensive or more intimate than they actually are. It's the trickery that garden designers use to add depth, height, or even mystery to a garden.

You can use perspective in your garden by using color, scale, and placement. Light colors tend to recede, making an area appear larger, while dark ones advance, making it seem smaller. Large plants placed near the front can make a garden look deeper, while smaller ones in the back can make it seem shorter. Placing a focal point, such as a trellis or statue, at the end of a path can draw the eye and make the garden look longer.

Understanding and implementing garden perspective is like learning the art of illusion. With the right understanding and careful planning, you can create a small garden that feels surprisingly spacious. Remember, it's not about the size of your garden; it's about how you use it.

Incorporating Mirrored Features

After mastering the art of vertical gardening, consider adding another dimension to your garden's illusion of space by incorporating mirrored features. Mirrored surfaces can work wonders in small gardens by reflecting light and images, giving the impression of additional depth and space.

You can experiment with different types of mirrors, from garden wall mirrors to mirrored ornaments. For instance, a large, strategically placed mirror can create the illusion of a secret garden beyond. Smaller, decorative mirrors can serve both aesthetic and practical purposes by reflecting sunlight onto darker corners.

Remember, it's crucial to position your mirrors thoughtfully. You don't want to be blinded by glare from the sun or to reflect unwanted views. Instead, aim to capture and reflect the most beautiful aspects of your garden.

Also, be mindful of safety. Ensure mirrors are securely fixed and that they're made from a material suitable for outdoor use. Acrylic mirror sheets, for instance, are safer and more durable than glass.

Incorporating mirrored features isn't just about making your garden look bigger. It's about enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal, creating intriguing visual effects, and maximizing available light. With careful consideration, your garden can transform into a captivating, seemingly expansive oasis.

Choosing Plants Strategically

Strategically selecting plants can significantly enhance your small garden's perceived size, adding depth and a sense of abundance. But how exactly do you choose the right plants to accomplish this?

Start by selecting plants of varying heights to give the garden a layered look. This not only draws the eye upwards, creating the illusion of more space, but also introduces a sense of depth. Place taller plants at the back and shorter ones upfront. Climbing plants such as ivy or roses can also be used to add height without taking up too much ground space.

Next, consider the plant's shape and texture. Opt for plants with small, fine leaves as they tend to make a space feel larger. Large, bold leaves can overwhelm a small garden. Similarly, plants with airy or open growth habits can make your garden feel more spacious.

Implementing Vertical Gardening

To make your small garden appear larger, you should consider implementing vertical gardening, an innovative technique that uses upright space to cultivate plants. Instead of spreading out, you're growing up, a strategy that can dramatically alter your garden's visual dynamics.

You might be wondering, how do you start? First off, you'll need a vertical structure. This could be as simple as a trellis or as elaborate as a green wall. You could even use an old ladder or some hanging pots. The key is to use what you have, and remember, you're only limited by your imagination.

Next, choose plants that naturally grow upwards. Vines like ivy, clematis, or morning glory are excellent choices. For a splash of color, try adding flowers like sweet peas or climbing roses. Or, if you're more focused on practicality, herbs or even vegetables like tomatoes or cucumbers can be trained to grow vertically.

Utilizing Color and Light

Harnessing the power of color and light can dramatically enhance the spaciousness of your small garden. The key is to understand how these elements interact with each other and how they contribute to creating illusions of depth and breadth.

Light colors make spaces seem larger as they reflect light, while darker hues absorb it, making areas appear smaller. Therefore, you should paint your fences and garden walls in light shades. Whites, creams, and pastels are good choices. They'll bounce sunlight around your garden, making it seem brighter and larger.

Similarly, plant lighter-colored flowers at the back of your garden and darker ones towards the front. This simple trick creates a 'fade out' effect, giving the illusion of depth and distance.

Harness light to your advantage, too. It's not just about having a well-lit garden. Strategic positioning of mirrors and glossy, metallic ornaments can reflect and scatter light, creating a sense of space.

Don't forget the shadows! They add depth and dimension. Use garden accessories like pergolas and arbors to cast interesting shadows that will visually expand your garden.

Designing With Multi-Level Planting

In the realm of small garden design, multi-level planting can be your ace in the hole, adding visual interest and creating an illusion of additional space. This strategy involves arranging plants in tiers or levels, from low ground covers to medium shrubs, and then to taller trees. It's a bit like designing a mini-forest in your backyard.

Start by planting ground covers like creeping thyme or sweet woodruff at the base. These will provide a lush carpet, giving your garden a sense of depth. For your mid-level, choose shrubs that don't grow too tall, such as boxwood or azaleas. They'll create a nice, dense middle layer.

Now, don't forget the trees. Opt for slender, sky-reaching trees like Italian Cypress or Columnar Junipers. They draw the eye upwards, making your garden appear larger.

Remember, it's not just about height. Consider plants with different textures and leaf shapes. Combine ferns with hostas or grasses with salvia. These contrasts in texture and form will further enhance the feeling of depth.

Mastering multi-level planting is a game-changer. You'll be amazed at how it can transform your small garden into a captivating, spacious oasis.

Adding Focal Points and Pathways

While multi-level planting can certainly transform your small garden, adding focal points and pathways can take it to the next level, creating not only an illusion of space but a journey within it. Focal points like a colorful plant, a water feature, or a charming garden statue, draw the eye and create a sense of depth. You'll want to place these strategically to maximize their impact. Pathways, on the other hand, invite exploration and movement, further enhancing the sense of space.

But how exactly do you add these elements? You're in luck because it's simpler than you might think. For focal points, consider your garden's overall theme and choose a piece that complements it. Remember, it doesn't have to be expensive or large, just noticeable and appealing. For pathways, use materials like gravel, stepping stones, or even mulch to create a path that winds through your garden. This not only provides a physical route to follow but also creates a visual line that elongates the garden.

With these tips, you'll find your small garden doesn't just look bigger, it feels bigger too. So go ahead, start planning your garden's new look today.


In conclusion, you can indeed make your small garden appear larger. By understanding garden perspective, implementing vertical gardening, and incorporating mirrored features, you can create an illusion of space.

Strategic plant selection, clever use of color and light, and multi-level planting also help in enhancing the sense of depth. Don't forget to add focal points and pathways for added charm.

So, roll up your sleeves and start transforming your garden into a visually expansive haven.

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