If your outdoor space is relatively small, it can be difficult to know how the space can be used to the greatest effect. Conventionally, small gardens have always been treated largely as bigger ones would – a play area for kids, a lawn, a space to sit, and similar – but just on a smaller scale.
However, the confines of a small space can sometimes mean it is preferable to choose a simple theme and double down on it; using the entire space to service a single goal. Below, we have suggested four different ways that you can use a small outdoor space, as well as the benefits each option can provide…
#1 – Create a haven for wildlife
Many gardeners choose to dedicate at least some of the space in their garden to wildlife by, for example, providing an insect hotel or bird feeders. However, you can take this a step further; all you need is a small seating area for yourself, and then the rest of the space can be entirely dedicated to wildlife.
There are plenty of different ways to ensure that your garden is as wildlife-friendly as possible. Bird feeders, for example, do not necessarily need to contain food – you could save one container and fill it with discarded pet hair, which birds will then be able to use for their nests. Wildlife ponds are also a great idea and require relatively little maintenance when constructed, and you can also add sheltered areas that small animals can use as hides during the winter. Finally, you can boost the number of bees and butterflies that visit your garden by removing your lawn and planting a beautiful wildflower meadow instead.
#2 – Use the space to add an extra “room” to your home
The way that people use their gardens is changing, to the point where modern gardens are no longer just about plants, flowers, and trees. For many, their outdoor space can be used as a place to relax, cook, and gather with friends and family – a place of leisure that essentially functions as another room in their house. Using outdoor space in this way is a particularly popular choice with those who do not necessarily have the time to maintain a conventional, greenery-filled garden, but still want to be able to enjoy time spent outside.
If you want to give this idea a try, it’s best to focus on weather protection first; the likes of Stylemaster Patios can install patios with opening roofs or covered decks that help to enclose the space and make it more all-season-friendly. With this in place, you can then look to add function; barbecues are a particularly popular choice, especially for those who want to entertain guests frequently, and a comfy sofa and a few decorative touches can add a sense of coziness. Last but not least, think about how you will provide heating to the space, especially if you intend to be able to use it throughout the year – patio heaters are usually the best choice for this purpose.
#3 – Dedicate the space to growing your own produce
People growing their own fruit and vegetables has become more and more common in recent years, though in most cases, the activity is restricted to small sections of a garden or a few individual containers. However, the more space you are able to use, the greater your yield will be – so you could consider the majority of your entire outdoor space to the purposes of growing.
To turn this idea into a reality, you’ll probably need to make sure you leave enough space to keep equipment – such as fertilizers, plant labels, hand tools, and so on – in, but a small cabinet will usually suffice for most families. The rest of the space can be used to plant out fruit and vegetable seedlings. If you want to make the absolute most of the space you have available, square foot gardening is by far the best way to do this. Also think about vertical space and how it can be used; hanging baskets, for example, can be used to grow strawberries and blackberries, which can help to free up ground space. In time, you’ll be able to visit your garden rather than a store when you’re cooking a meal – so not only is this idea a useful way to use a small outdoor space, but it could also help to cut down on your grocery bills.
#4 – Create your own storage center
The idea of turning your garden into a kind of storage center may be unusual, but for some families, it can make complete sense. If you have run out of storage space in your property or your garage, then repurposing your backyard and dedicating it to storage can be a great way of easing this concern.
Sheds are perhaps the most valuable way of adding to your home’s storage; while these (usually wooden) buildings are most commonly reserved for garden equipment, they can be used for anything – leisure equipment, out-of-season clothes, and anything else you’re struggling to find a home for elsewhere. Provided that you store items in water-tight boxes and add padlocks to ensure your items are secure, there’s really no reason not to use a shed as valuable extra storage space for your home. You may want to reserve a small section of the garden for a patio that you can sit out and relax on, but otherwise, it makes complete sense to utilize your outdoor space for storage purposes if doing so is the most practical choice for your family.
Exploring one of the ideas above gives you the chance to fully focus your time and resources to ensure you can use your small outdoor space as effectively as possible. Choosing a single focus is often simpler, and more cost effective, then trying to use a small space to create a multipurpose garden, so if you like the idea, it could well be worth selecting one of the ideas above and giving it a try for yourself.