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50 Charming Small Garden Ideas That Won't Break Your Budget
Simple and stunning ways to revamp your balcony, backyard and front gardens.
Being surrounded by fresh greenery and florals improves our physical, emotional and mental well-being — which means houseplants and outdoor gardens are the key to making your house feel like a home, both indoors and out. There are a ton of affordable ways to reinvent your small outdoor space, whether you're hoping to grow fruits, vegetables and herbs, or stick with simple perennial flowers, bushes and ground cover plants. To prove that decorating a small landscape is easier than you may think, we've rounded up charming small garden ideas that you'll want to steal when spring rolls around.
Even in very small garden areas, a little creativity and a couple clever design hacks can go a long way. As you browse these inspiring and colorful outdoor photos, you'll find a ton of garden projects fit for balconies, courtyards, backyards and more. For modern small spaces, you'll want to find affordable patio furniture (like bistro tables, stools, benches and hammocks) to elevate your backyard design.
A few of the genius ideas: plant a tiny floral patch in the backyard, set up a DIY vertical garden, build a raised garden bed or hang fresh herbs from a wooden palette. You'll also discover tips for growing beautiful evergreen shrubs, trailing plants and the best trees for small yards. Keep scrolling and you may even decide to assemble your own backyard pond, outdoor living wall or bubble fountain.
Create a spot dedicated to potting and trimming your outdoor plants. The best part? This table is made from a few galvanized barrels and an old wooden door.
If you don't have floor space to display your plants, mount pots onto the exterior of your house. Here, interior designer Tori Rubinson sticks with terracotta pots, but you can also go for bold patterns and colors!
Instantly elevate a small garden space with a beautiful bird house wind chime, like designer Kate Anne does here. Not only will it draw birds to your yard, it'll create a soothing sound in the process.
Green up your patio or deck with oversized terracotta or plastic planters overflowing with anything from tomatoes to wildflowers. (The lush lineup here creates a pretty privacy wall!)
RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Container Gardening
You guessed it! A cocktail garden is a space designated to growing ingredients for delicious drinks. Go for herbs like mint, basil and sage, as well as fruits and veggies such as strawberries, cherries and peppers.
Get the tutorial at Inspired by Charm ?
Make use of an old whiskey barrel and create your own backyard pond — a great alternative if you don't have space for a real one. Add your water plants (lily pads, of course) and even a few small fish.
Vertical Herb Garden
Whether you have a small yard or lack outdoor space altogether, a vertical garden can be a charming addition. You can create one on your own with landscape fabric and copper pipe.
Get the tutorial at A Beautiful Mess ?
Attach clay pots to a pallet with nails and stainless steel cable ties for a living art display that keeps your rosemary and basil at the ready. Space out the pots so your plants have room to grow.
Pergola Full of Greens
Grow your garden vertically by trailing plants up the sides of a pergola, fence or outdoor wall. English ivy, pothos and Russian vines are a few great choices.
Keep your garden organized, so harvesting remains quick and easy. Craft your own plant markers using wooden paint sticks and some acrylic paint. Added bonus? This is the perfect craft for kids.
Get the tutorial at I Heart Arts N Crafts ?
Hardy succulents, which stow water in their stems and leaves, will thrive in a shallow birdbath perch. Add pebbles to hold more moisture in the soil.
Repurposed Shelf Garden Box
If you're partial to vintage-inspired decor and happen to have an old shelf that's been collecting dust in your home, consider turning it into a garden box. It's the perfect spot for herbs like mint, thyme and parsley.
Get the tutorial at Bless'er House ?
DIY Bubble Fountain
With just a few supplies, including a submersible pump, a waterproof pot and decorative river rocks, you can make your garden more zen with an eye-catching DIY bubble fountain.
Get the tutorial at Scared Thoughts of a Crafty Mom ?
Outfitting a small space doesn't mean you have to settle for drab furniture. The brighter, the better is the way to go to bring your outdoor area to life.
There's something special about an orderly display of potted plants, especially when they're in vibrant colors that showcase the beauty of the season.
Get the tutorial at A Beautiful Mess ?
Faux Grass Stepping Stones
You might not have a huge lawn, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy a bit of grass — even if it's faux. These faux grass stepping stones are inexpensive to make on your own.
Get the tutorial at Sugar & Cloth ?
Mason Jar Planters
Add a country-chic touch to your garden with mason jar planters (pint or quart size), which are perfect for herbs of all kinds. Use outdoor vinyl and a Cricut machine to mark each jar.
Get the tutorial at Crafts by Amanda ?
You can't go wrong with taking advantage of outdoor wall space. A simple fold-out shelf can serve as the perfect spot to display small plants and outdoor entertaining essentials.
RELATED: Best Amazon Outdoor Decor Items for the Backyard of Your Dreams
Monique Valeris is the senior home editor for Good Housekeeping, where she oversees the brand's home decorating coverage across print and digital. Prior to joining GH in 2020, she was the digital editor at Elle Decor. In her current role, she explores everything from design trends and home tours to lifestyle product recommendations, including writing her monthly column, "What's in My Cart."
Alyssa Gautieri (she/her) is the associate lifestyle editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers all things home and interior design. Prior to joining GH in 2022, she wrote for publications including ELLE Decor, Chairish, BobVila.com, Unique Homes Magazine and LODGING Magazine, in addition to crafting product copy for home brands like BrylaneHome and VIGO Industries.
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