It’s easy to underestimate the potential of a small outdoor space. In an area where every precious centimetre counts, the pressure is on to get the design right. So where do you even start?

Whether you have a narrow balcony, a small rooftop or a poky courtyard, there’s always a way to create a usable space. We believe you should embrace the challenge and to help you get started, we’ve put together a free ebook of our top tips for designing, planting and styling in small outdoor areas.

Titled Small Spaces, Big Ideas, the ebook covers many of the tried-and-tested design tactics we have honed over the years. We also share practical tips, inspiration and a full guide of plants that are suitable for any small space.

Designing for a small outdoor area

No matter where you live, exposure to nature is essential for a balanced lifestyle. Your outdoor area provides you with more living space and a connection with plants, sunshine and fresh air, which all help to boost your mood and reduce stress (and no-one should feel stressed at home).

The secret to creating an outdoor area that works is to keep it simple. Balconies, courtyards, rooftops and small gardens won’t allow you to go overboard, which means you need to keep a clear focus in mind.

In most cases, your space will only be able to serve a single purpose, so take your time to consider how it can best enhance your lifestyle. For example, if you are dreaming of a balcony garden, it’s unlikely you will have space left for a large dining setting. Trying to do both will make your balcony cluttered and uncomfortable, meaning you’ll need to decide whether entertaining friends or growing your own plants is more important to you.

This is where you need to think holistically. In this situation, you may be better off opting for a balcony garden if you have plenty of entertaining room inside. That way your available living space takes on more functions. If, however, you don’t have space inside for a dining table, you may find that creating an outdoor entertaining area with just a few plants is a more practical option that will improve the livability of your place.

Once you have a purpose and a vision in mind, get creative with your ideas. Think about how you can use walls, furniture and plants to maximise the functionality of your area. From vertical gardens to art and lighting solutions, there are so many ways to create a space that is a pleasure to spend time in. As one idea leads to another, you bound straight past any overwhelm you were initially feeling and you start to gain clarity.

There’s nothing more fun than losing yourself in a pinning frenzy on Pinterest (and we’re talking from experience here), but the most important part of garden design is honouring your own taste, personality and lifestyle. If you don’t, you won’t get as much enjoyment from the space.

Three garden design tips you need to know

1. Design

To create a sense of continuity, take cues from the style and architecture of your home and think about how you can integrate complementary colours and textures.

2. Planting

Colour in the garden doesn’t need to come from flowers alone. By choosing flowering plants as well as species with contrasting foliage, you’ll be able to enjoy year-round colour.

3. Styling

Placing a mirror on a courtyard wall is an effective way to make a small enclosed space feel much larger than it actually is.

How can you transform your own space?

We are so excited about this ebook because we truly believe that a connection with nature is essential for vitality, especially for those of us who live in the city. Small Spaces, Big Ideas has 45 pages of ideas, tips and images like the ones we’ve just shared above. If you have been searching for inspiration for your outdoor area or you are planning a transformation, this ebook is for you.

Grab your copy, make a cuppa and discover the ideas you’ve been looking for. We hope you love it as much as we loved putting it together.

Download now

Carolynn Brooks