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Flower Garden Ideas For Small Spaces

Do you have a small yard, but would still like to have a flower garden? Maybe, all you have is a tiny courtyard, or a small balcony or patio. Or, maybe you have a large yard, but only have time for a small flower garden. Perhaps you’re like me and love to garden, so you have lots of different flower gardens both large and small. Whatever the case may be, follow along and I believe you’ll come away with new ideas to create you own flower garden in a small space. 

Whether it’s adding flowers to your front yard landscaping, or creating a small gardening space in your backyard, your outdoor space is an extension of your home. Yes, you can create a beautiful outdoor space even if it is small. 

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How to Design a Flower Bed for a Small Yard

First, start with a sheet (or sheets) of graph paper. Do a simple sketch of the area you have to work with. Try and sketch how you picture the area in your head. The sketch doesn’t have to be to scale and it doesn’t have to be perfect. This exercise is to get you thinking about what you envision for the space. Do you want a little bench in the midst of flowers? What about a fountain? Or perhaps a little bistro set? Be sure to add some landscape lighting for evening ambiance.

Next, go ahead and add in some circles to represent where you will want your plants to go. It doesn’t matter how crude your sketch is, this will help you visualize the space. To learn more about garden design – see Flower Garden Design Tips.

Image of a Small Flower Garden

How to Select The Best Flowers to Plant in a Small Area

Is your outdoor garden space in full sun, part sun or shade? It’s important to know this and you will want to purchase plants that are suited for your garden.

For those of you that are beginners, just a quick reminder of the difference between annual and perennial flowers. Annual flowers need to be replanted every year. Perennial flowers are planted once and come back every year.

It’s also important to do a little research before you hit the garden centers and select plants for your flower garden.

Choose plants that stay small to medium size. Stay away from perennial plants that get huge or sprawling. Also, stay away from plants that take over.

Great Perennials for a Small Flower Garden

  • Campanula – (blue clip, white clip, uniform series, or birch hybrid)– beautiful perennials that are low growing and have a long bloom period.
  • Dianthus – choose short varieties
  • Balloon flowers – very long bloomer – be sure to mark it with a plant tag because it’s very slow to emerge in spring.
  • Shasta daisies
  • Catmint – choose smaller varieties like Cat’s Pajamas or Walker’s Low Junior
  • Gaillardia
  • Tall Garden Phlox
  • Daylilies – shorter varieties (like Stella D’Oro) look best in a small spaces
  • Veronica
  • Lilies
  • Coneflowers

Need more ideas for perennials for your small sunny flower garden, see Classic Perennials.

Don’t be afraid to add annuals to your small gardening space. In fact, if you want tons of color and guaranteed blooms the entire summer, go ahead and do your entire garden in annuals. In the long run this is more expensive and more work because you have to replace them every year. See Best Annual Flowers for sun and shade if you aren’t familiar with annual flowers.

If you have a shady area that you want to turn into a small flower garden, there are tons of great perennial plants you can add. See: 20 Perennials for Shade. Also see the little gnome garden I share below that’s in the shade.

Flower Garden Ideas for A Patio or Balcony

No yard space at all, don’t despair. There are many ways you can add flowers and plants even if you have a small patio or balcony. The way to go is container gardening.

Image of flowers in pots

Other outdoor spaces like steps are also a great place to add planters and containers full of flowers. Just be sure not to create a fall or trip hazard. Also use wall space to hang flower pots. The beauty of using containers is that you can go all out, or use just a few. For more ideas and tips for taking care of container gardens, check out Creative Container Gardening.

Add Finishing Touches to Your Small Flower Garden

Once you have your little plot designed and planted, create character by adding in: a garden bench, a birdbath, solar lights, a fountain, a cute little bistro set. Just go with your imagination. Another cool thing about gardening in a small space is that it doesn’t take much time to rearrange everything.

Image of a small patio with flower and plants

Small Flower Garden Ideas

This little garden encompasses a space between our front door and our side door, and it’s square. What do you do with a square flower bed? It would actually be perfect for a vegetable bed because it gets full sun, but I wanted a flower garden between the doors, as a welcome to our home.

When we moved to our little fixer upper, this area had a huge shrub of some kind growing up over the roof, plus a half dead weigela, a bunch of ribbon grass and crocosmia. It was just flat out ugly and not at all a welcoming entrance to our home. So ugly, that I didn’t even take pictures. Big mistake! Always take before pictures.

This small space has all the elements of a perfect little garden to take a break in: a bench, a fountain, and some little solar lights. In a few days the phlox and the Oriental lilies will be blooming, and the fragrance will be heady. So this little flower bed is an extension of our home into the outdoors. Plants included in this flower garden include: daylilies, clematis, shasta daisies, lilies, salvia, balloon flower, cone flower and some annual flowers to add in continual color.


To make a more formal small flower garden, go ahead and add in some shrubs or small evergreens.

Creating little vignettes in your small flower garden will add tons of character. Like this vintage milk can turned planter.

Small Flower Bed Ideas – Miniature Gnome or Fairy Garden

Now we’re moving around to another outdoor space, our patio. There’s this tiny little garden area that’s about one foot wide and four feet long between the house and the patio. It had some not-so-great looking ostrich ferns mixed with some awesome Maidenhair Ferns.

I got rid of the Ostrich Ferns and kept the Maidenhair Ferns. I decided early on that this would be the perfect little spot for a fairy garden or a miniature gnome garden. Our grandson thought we should do a gnome garden, so gnomes it is.

A Miniature Gnome Garden or Fairy Garden is the perfect way to have a flower garden in a small space. They can be planted in ground, or in containers. Be creative and use a small wheelbarrow or wagon for your gnome or fairy garden, or any other small container you can come up with. Just be sure your container has holes for drainage.

The miniature hostas in the photo below are Curly Fries and Blue Mouse Ears. Miniature hostas are excellent plants for small shady areas. Plus, they are so stinkin’ cute! You can find more great ideas for small plants for your fairy or gnome garden in this article – The Best Fairy Garden Plants.

The miniature hosta to the left of the bridge is Cameo. That’s Fred taking a break on the bridge.

Adding impatiens to small shade gardens gives some nice pops of color. They can be pinched to maintain their size to a certain extent. The hosta between the ferns is Geisha. I’m unsure of the variety of the low growing ferns. I think it might be Ghost Fern. If you know, please leave a comment at the end of the post.

Do you have the perfect spot in your yard where you can tuck in a miniature gnome garden or fairy garden. It’s a great way to get children interested in gardening and a fun activity to do with kids.


The low hanging Maidenhair Ferns create a woodsy effect for the little gnome village.


Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you’re enjoying your visit and are coming up with some Flower Garden Ideas for Small Spaces for your yard, patio or balcony. It’s never too late to plant a new flower garden!

Feel free to hang out in the gardens for a bit and check out a few other posts on Small Garden Spaces.

Small Shade Garden Transformation
Flower Garden Makeover – Before and After

Happy Gardening,

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