Let a narrow garden look wider – 5 easy to implement tips

A large garden is probably the dream of every hobby gardener. I can see that everyone who only has a small garden is annoyed. But you can make it look bigger with a few simple steps.

Divide the garden into areas
Divide the garden into areas

Terraced house gardens and allotment gardens often have an unfortunate ground plan. Owners of long and narrow gardens have to struggle with the terms “towel” or “hose”.

You shouldn’t get angry, though. Even the narrow garden can become a garden paradise if you divide it up and plant it correctly. With a few simple, but very effective tricks he looks much wider.

This makes the garden look wider

1 Divide the garden into areas:

Make a plan of what you want to place in your garden. Lawn, space for fruit, vegetables and herbs, playground for children, pond, garden house, paths, seats – the list is long and requires careful planning. Do not strictly line up the individual areas so that the narrow structure of the garden is not accentuated even further. A staggered crosswise division is better. You can separate the zones with simple measures, so that you get a lively appearance.

Planning a narrow garden
Your drawing does not have to be perfect, only the plan itself is important! (© krappweis – Fotolia.com)

2 Arrange marginal planting sensibly:

The plants at the edge are often the first to be planted. Here you can already provide for an optical widening. Do without a straight hedge of the same shrubs. A mixed hedge with different growth forms and widths, consisting of flowering and evergreen shrubs, loosens up the narrow garden. If a part of the marginal planting grows into the garden, one might suspect that it appears even narrower as a result. Exactly the opposite is the case! Build in exciting elements ranging from rose arches to willow trees with overhanging branches.

3 Plan for privacy screen and hidden corners:

A garden where you can see everything at a glance is boring. You’d better surprise them! This works even in a narrow garden. Plant a low hedge between the vegetable bed and the pond, use trellises that block the view, place large tubs as eye-catchers. If the individual garden areas are arranged alternately left/right, a broader effect results. You can visually delimit the seating area with high-growing plants or climbing plants. High marsh grasses or bamboo provide privacy at the pond.

If you have the feeling in a narrow garden: “Now bend around the corner, then a new area will come”, then you have successfully tricked out the elongated shape.

4 Curved, soft shapes instead of angular elements:

In nature there are no strict geometric forms. You can take advantage of that in a narrow garden: Create curved paths and break up the narrow structure with soft shapes. Of course, there are exceptions: A formal structure is important in Japanese-inspired gardens. But also here oval or round shapes are well suited to visually extend the narrow shape of the garden. Reading tip: Designing garden paths: 22 creative examples.

5 Select suitable plants:

Plants that fulfil several functions are particularly useful in narrow and small gardens. An example: The apple tree enchants in spring with many flowers and in autumn it provides for a rich harvest. Also very beautiful are trees and shrubs that change leaf colour over the course of the garden year.

In the flower bed, you can vary with perennials and plants that bloom at different times. Another point is the colour: blue tones and discreet flower colours make the garden look bigger. They create an optical depth. Yellow, orange and red, on the other hand, are more eye-catching and create closeness.


However you approach the design of your garden: Fortunately, the garden is not a “thing” that you have to take for granted. Every year you can experiment anew, choose new plants, move old plants to a different place and change the inner form and appearance.

Don Burke

I am Don Burke, one of the authors at My Garden Guide.  I am a horticulturist that cultivates, grows, and cares for plants, ranging from shrubs and fruits to flowers. I do it in my own garden and in my nursery. I show you how to take care of your garden and how to perform garden landscaping in an easy way, step by step.I am originally from Sydney and I wrote in local magazines. Later on, I have decided, more than two decades ago, to create my own blog. My area of specialization is related to orchid care, succulent care, and the study of the substrate and the soil. Therefore, you will see many articles dedicated to these disciplines. I also provide advice about how to improve the landscape design of your garden.

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