By focusing on the main purpose of your outdoor space, and designing your garden around that, you can transform a small area into an inviting oasis. 

Here are a few key steps to take when transforming a smaller outdoor space:

Decide on the main role for the space – committing to a single use in a small outdoor space is important. Choose what you’d like the garden to be primarily used for (such as a dining area, drinks terrace or only a space for planting) and it won’t feel overly busy and cramped.

Plant vertically – When you don’t have much floor space, use what space you do have and think about things on a different plane! For starters, this could be with a living wall (although these can require a bit of maintenance), or with slightly-oversized planters. These will allow you to play with planting combinations within them, creating interest and height with textures, colours and form. Using climbers can add interest and greenery, and, crucially, don’t take up too much space. 

Think big, but with variety – don’t be tempted to plant only smaller plants as these will only emphasise the lack of space. Instead plant a range of sizes to create shape and variety. When planting shrubs, opt for larger ones. Don’t go for very dense varieties as these will look like they take up more space than they do. If you want a tree, choose a multi-stem which will appear lighter, allowing you to see through the stems to the rest of the garden.

Paving and landscaping – keep it simple with a limited number of materials. One or two types of paving, and lighter colours are a good place to start. Maintaining one colour palette for the hard landscaping areas will also give an illusion of a larger space. The simpler the better!