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50+ ideas for small garden design

In the modern world, space matters. Whether you are living in the city or simply have a small backyard, with careful design and features, you can create a unique outdoor experience that will be the envy of your neighbors.

Whether you are good at gardening or looking to specify a low-maintenance outdoor space that you mostly enjoy without needing too many tools, this article will show you how to achieve a dreamy design that suits your needs.



1. The concept of a courtyard

When your garden is surrounded and heavily overlooked by nearby properties, then what you see in front of you is akin to a courtyard.

A courtyard or court is a circumscribed area, often surrounded by a building or complex, that is open to the sky.

When designing with a space of this kind, this is what you need to consider:

  • Maintenance needs: Because space is severely limited, thought should go into the long term maintenance of the space, to avoid having to store the required tools. This is especially useful where the property is rented and the tenants have no experience or interest in looking after a garden, especially due to work commitments.

  • Lawn: Courtyards should be devoid of lawn areas. The space can be completely decked although care should be taken when choosing the decking material.

  • Plants: Courtyards are usually surrounded by buildings and so your space may not get enough sun throughout the day. Be careful with your choice of plants to ensure they are suitable for this environment.

  • Materials: Composite wood is longer lasting and virtually maintenance free, provided there is an outdoors tap to wash it down - you do not even need a long hose for that, instead a flexible expanding hose will work a treat. You can also utilise the same material used inside your home to create a seamless transition from indoors to outdoors.

  • Features: Although courtyards are generally small in size, they can still be packed with features, including intricate seating, fountains or fire pits.


Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about interiors. She launched the award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets creative by redecorating her own home.

Download her free bathroom renovation guide here.



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