Having a small garden doesn’t mean you can’t have big growing ambitions.  

It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at a limited space and not seeing the potential. But there are ways space can be optimised to get the health and wellbeing benefits of spending time in your garden. 

Let’s face it, we all gather stuff from time to time so it’s good to have a clear out to take stock of what gets used and what doesn’t. 

Have those sun-faded children’s toys and frost-damaged pots seen better days? Can anything that’s no longer used be passed on or recycled? 

Tidying up will quickly reveal the true extent of the space available, plus it’s a process that’ll make you feel positive. 

Reconsider the lawn 
A small lawn still requires regular mowing and maintenance if it’s going to be healthy and look good. As a result, it’s one of the higher maintenance gardening jobs and one you might want to reconsider, particularly if the lawn is shaded and damp. 

Container growing 
Growing plants in containers has the advantage of flexibility – they can be moved and arranged to optimise their presentations and conditions of individual spaces. 

They offer an easy way of experimenting with different colours and textures, plus they’re more straightforward to look after, although require more attention when it comes to watering. Having at
least one large pot makes a statement in a small space. 

Add height 
Design features, such as pergolas and arches, can make small gardens feel bigger by taking your attention away from boundaries and breaking up the space. 

Another similar way of creating visual interest is to plant big shrubs and trees.  

Plant up 
Growing plants upwards can be a useful alternative when available space means that you can’t ‘grow out’ too far. 

Climbers up a wall or fence can add greenery and colour, as well as softening the overall look. 

For a gorgeous scent during summer,  the evergreen Trachelospermum jasminoides is an excellent choice. 

Green walls are another increasingly popular way to garden vertically. 

Besides custom-made options, there are simpler and cheaper alternatives, such as using gutters or old tins secured to walls. 

Don’t settle for a bland garden this spring and summer. A small space can still pack a hefty horticultural punch and provide a connection with nature which is invaluable for mental and physical wellbeing. 

Mark Lang works for the horticultural therapy charity, Thrive. For more practical tips and information about gardening for wellbeing, sign-up to Thrive’s free Gardening Club: www.thrive.org.uk/gardeningclub