Small garden design ideas

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Small garden design ideas


When it comes to gardens, the best things really can come in small packages. Working with a more focused area provides lots of opportunities to dial up the details. And, with a little care and creativity, you can transform your mini space into something truly mighty.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth, or take tonnes of time, either. Being smart with small garden design can really open you up to the great outdoors and help you make the most of it.

In this article, we’ll share some of our favourite small garden designs from the Ronseal team and community. From mini-bars to clever colour hacks, you’ll find plenty of small garden inspiration and ideas to bring your bijou plots to life.

Set the bar

Credit @making_a_home (Garden Paint - Daisy)

Building a bar in your backyard is a great way to bring function, and friends, to a pint-sized plot. From foldout benches to fully fitted huts, there are many designs to choose from depending on the space you have to spare.

Top tip: Painting your mini bar in a stand-out colour, such as our ‘daisy’ coloured Garden Paint, will help make a style statement too.   


Mix your materials


Credit (Ultimate Fence Life Concentrate - Medium Oak)

Mixing materials and tactile textures helps to add depth and interest to any small garden design. Pebbled floors, lush greens, wicker furniture and wooden backdrops all layer really well together to create a space you’ll be drawn to.

Top tip: Contrasting colours also adds to this effect. Try combining bright foliage and crisp white gravel with a warmer fence. Ultimate Fence Life Concentrate in Medium Oak is a great choice.


Add purpose with pergolas

Credit @houseno1atno1 (Fence Life Plus - Warm Stone)

 Pergolas are a small garden owner’s secret weapon. These slimline structures will frame and zone your garden without invading your light or floor space. They’re also incredibly versatile.

 Draped with material, a pergola can provide shelter from the midday sun. Wrap it in fairy lights and you’ll have a romantic retreat to spend your nights in.

 Top tip: For a light and luxurious look, treat your pergola with Fence Life Plus in Warm Stone. Or, opt for a bold and bright shade such as Garden Paint in Summer Sky.


Widen with white

Credit @shelly_cottage (Fence Life Plus - Warm Stone)

It may be an old trick, but it’s still a good one. Painting an area in a white or light shade, such as Fence Life Plus in Warm Stone, will help it look wider and bounce light around.

It’s not just fences this tip works on either. Our Garden Paint, in Elderflower or Daisy, can be used on brickwork, metal, wood or terracotta.

Top tip: Treating all your surfaces in a similar shade will help to unify your surroundings and give an illusion of unbroken backdrops. This will instantly feel less restricted.


Be bold

Credit @beauteous bungalow (Garden Paint, Pink Jasmine)

No matter what size or shape your garden is, it can always pack a punch with the right colour palette. Plants like Busy Lizzies are a great pick for small garden designs as they provide lots of bright flowers and don’t mind a bit of shade.

 To complement your colourful setting, try giving your furniture a colour injection with our Garden Paint. Available in 29 shades, from pops of pink to zesty greens, there’s a colour for every theme.

Top tip: If you find picking complementary colours hard, pick out a cushion design you like and draw inspiration from the colours in that.


Set a suntrap 

Credit @insidenumber90 (Ultimate Protection Decking Oil - Natural)


Sometimes, a little sunshine is all the small garden inspiration you need to make the most of your outdoor areas.

 Decking your space will give you a nice, neat area to set up seating or a more laid-back lounger. The horizontal lines can also give the illusion of a wider area. Protect your decking from UV light, and water, with our Ultimate Protection Decking Oil in Natural.

 Top tip: Installing decking on a diagonal can create a more refined and unique look for your small garden design. Talk to a professional decking installer, or do your research, to see if this is an option for you.


Perk up your plant pots

Credit @ournineteenfiftiesreno (Fence Life Plus - Sage)

 Painting your plant pots is a quick and cost-effective way to personalise a smaller outdoor space. These little pops of colour can be placed almost anywhere, from window sills to quiet corners, for instant impact.

 To ensure a smooth finish, give your pots a good wash and dry them in the sun before using a product designed for terracotta surfaces. Our Garden Paint is a great fit for this with its wide range of shades.

 Top tip: Continue the colourful theme on your fences, planters and sheds using our Fence Life Plus in Sage. It’s great for brightening a backdrop and it offers five years of protection.    


Bring your fence to life

Credit @athomewiththemunsters (One Coat Fence Life - Tudor Black Oak)

How’s this for small garden inspiration? Vertical gardens, or living walls, are a brilliant way to style up your surfaces and they’re handy for space saving too. Suitable for patios, balconies or fences they’ll work in urban or country settings. They can also be used to grow everything from vegetables and herbs to flowers and succulents. The choice is yours.

 Top tip: Partner your living wall with a dark fence colour, such as One Coat Fence Life in Tudor Black Oak, to elevate its dramatic effect.


 Make your fence a feature

(Garden Paint - Beetroot)


When you have a smaller space, every item in it should work hard to deliver fun as well as function. Fencing isn’t just about boundaries, it can be used to create a feature too.

Using our Garden Paint in colours like Purple Berry, or Summer Sky, you can make a real style statement with your fences. Finish your feature panel with accessories, fairy lights, mirrors and contrasting furniture to elevate the look even further.

Top tip: Echo the colour of your feature wall in the flowers that you plant elsewhere in the garden. This will help tie the whole space together.


Get slimline storage 


(Garden Paint - Daisy)


Storing your garden items needn’t require a bulky shed or containers. Instead, save your space and opt for a wire rack, peg board, old crates or shelving. This small garden design idea will free up your floor and it’s far more cost-effective than purpose-built storage.

 Top tip: Painting the wall behind your storage in a fresh white, like our Garden Paint in Daisy, will add focus to your feature. It will also prove useful when looking for your newly stored items too!


Welcome in wildlife 

(Garden Paint - Pink Jasmine, Summer Sky and Sapling Green)


Birdhouses, bee hotels and other dinky dwellings won’t take up much space in your garden but they’ll definitely add value to your view. Watching wildlife come and go is great for your well-being and the environment. It’s a win, win for everyone.

 Top tip: To create a more muted feel, opt for Garden Paint colours like Willow, Sage or White Ash. If you prefer a more vibrant look try Pink Jasmine, Summer Sky or Sapling Green.


Choose fitting furniture

(Garden Paint, Daisy)


When choosing furniture for a small garden design, consider light and open styles that let the light through and don’t feel too bulky. Small, rounded tables or stools are also naturally free of sharp edges and angles. This makes them easier to manoeuvre and more flexible in tight spaces.

Top tip: Why not update your furniture using seasonal shades to keep it looking even more fitting? Our Garden Paint in Lemon Tree or Lime Zest will give you a citrusy twist for the summer, whereas Purple Berry and Willow work as great autumnal hues.


Invest in smart seating

(Garden Paint - Moroccan Red, Sunburst and Summer Sky)


When it comes to making more of your space, smart seating is the small garden inspiration we all need.

Try building (or buying) a bench that doubles up as storage or a planter. Or, find foldable options that slip easily into or under your decking or can be hung on a wall.   

 Top tip: Building your own furniture, or working with a local professional, is a great way to ensure it sits snug in your space. With custom lengths and depths, you maximise every inch of your garden and minimise wasted nooks and crannies.

However confined your outdoor space may be, there are lots of great small garden designs out there to help you soak up your square footage in style. If your garden is larger or perhaps paved, and you’re craving even more ideas and inspiration, check out our guide on how to make the most of your garden for more tips and tricks. To help you get going with your garden project, check out our featured products below and start creating the exterior space that works for you.