Small Garden & Courtyard Design by Wonderful Gardens


Start Planning Your Garden Now

Start planning your new garden with our unique and creative professional landscape design team. Winter is the ideal time to start the process so your garden can be ready for spring and summer 2018.


Small Gardens Do Not Mean Restrictive 

Many of us have relatively small gardens or perhaps a courtyard style garden, which does not mean you must be restrictive in your thoughts, ideas and how you use your garden. It can often be difficult to think outside the norm when you have limited outside space. Coming up with creative and imaginative ideas that allow you to maximise your garden and still use the garden effectively can be a challenge.

With our small garden design service, we can pack a punch into the smallest of gardens or courtyards. No matter how small your garden there is room for design, movement, space, sound, colour and fragrance. With careful planning, we can design your courtyard or small garden into a beautiful space designed for you. All we need is a little inspiration and some careful thought and planning.


Small Garden Design - What Does it Mean?

By definition, a courtyard garden is an open space surrounded by a structure, and typically this would be walls or a building. However, with our modern housing this could be said to include fences or railings. Courtyards should provide a feeling of space but also privacy and peace and refuge. The possibilities are endless and whether you have in mind a traditional walled courtyard garden, or a contemporary front courtyard garden, there are designs that will suit every home. Ranging from designs using traditional York stone creating a patio courtyard to modern contemporary courtyard design focused on structural planting and symmetry. 


'Good design is making something intelligible and memorable.  Great design is making something memorable and meaningful'Dieter Rams

Courtyard Garden Design - How Is It Defined?

Having a small garden does not mean we can’t be creative in the way we think and utilise the space available. It’s all about defining the space and tricking the eye with colour, lighting and maximising the garden to create solutions to seating, storage and a feel of space when area is confined.  We can create small terrace garden designs without grass to small formal gardens using our knowledge and experience of design solutions for small gardens.

Small Garden Design - What is Your Style?

A small garden can follow in any style that is symbolic of your home, personality and own style. The range needs careful consideration and can include ideas such as a small contemporary garden design, which does not necessarily mean modern. At its most precise explanation, “contemporary” means the style and design of the moment.  Therefore, a small contemporary garden, whether courtyard or with grass is not a style of one thread and you can still use traditional materials such as wood and stone but they are aligned with a contemporary layout.

Small Urban Garden Design 

Urban or City Gardens need to provide lots of solutions including space for planting, entertaining, relaxing and sometimes children's activities, all within a mall area .  Therefore we need to be creative, inspired and deliver a functional urban garden into a small area and creative a paradise or small piece of your own heaven. Often Urban Gardens  consist of minimalist design features and repeating patterns or shapes, this is so the space can appear larger to create an illusion of space and maximise the effect on  the eye. 

Small Modern Courtyard Design

Courtyard Gardens conjure up images of Box spheres, gravel and stone and architectural planting with even perhaps a parterre. However, once again the theme can be created towards a modern and contemporary courtyard garden with symmetry and modern materials with clean lines, architectural planting and bold landscaping elements.  

Small Formal Garden Design 

Formal Garden Design is based on symmetry and a balanced style with both elements of hard landscaping and planting geometrically aligned to create structure and defined lines.   In small gardens this can be formed around a central feature such as bench, sculpture, or even architectural planting such as Box, a specimen Olive tree or a cloud tree. Formal conjures up images of country estates or large gardens, however with a well constructed Parterre or Herb Garden, the style can fit into the smallest of gardens. 

Small Garden Planting Plans

Small garden design should not exclude planting and by adding colourful displays and structure we improve the garden and allow it to envelop us to its heart. We should include structure such as Buxus (box) and when we combine this with plants such as Nepeta (Cat Mint), Heuchera, Lavender, Agapanthus Echinacea and with so much more we can transform the smallest garden into a wonderful space.

Small Garden Design - How is the Investment Weighed?

Materials are often expensive, so we will encourage you to maximise the investment by ensuring quality above quantity to ensure we can use the very best materials that the investment will cover.  Our initial consultation is where we understand what you are looking to achieve within the investment and go over the requirements in detail whilst making suggestions on what we feel might work best within the investment


Understanding The Investment 

The importance of understanding your investment is vital to ensure we design a garden that will not overwhelm, or underwhelm you. Investing in your garden will improve your home and lifestyle and by understanding the amount you wish to invest we can then design the garden to meet this expectation. We do not want to design a garden that is not within the boundaries of your investment. Therefore, if you have not given this consideration until now, then we recommend you start to deliberate the investment you are most comfortable with. 


Design Costs

Size does matter, and whether you garden is a small courtyard garden or a small garden  it will still need careful planning and creative design to ensure the garden flows and very inch of space is maximised.  Once we have considered the options available, we will create a design proposal that detailing the elements discussed that is within the investment expectation and together with a mood board of thoughtful images we will reflect how the garden may look once it has been completed. Within the design proposals we set out the investment expectation and include our fee for designing the garden.  Our designs start at around £900.00 but are often based on 10% - 15% of the build costs. Additionally you can recoup up to 25% of the design costs if we construct the garden for you.


"We are able to draw on years of experince"


Small Garden Design - The Design Process

Small Garden Design develops through inspiration, that’s why when we start the process we will keep developing the ideas as the project progresses.  As the ideas flow and develop there will be changes and even additions that you have not considered. Even for smallest gardens we can include water, or even a small pond or even music with our range of exterior sound systems by Sonance. Consider everything, from structures, lighting and power supplies to planting.

Planting - Vital To A Small Garden 


Planting is extremely important for small gardens and will be the visual fulfilment to your small garden design. Think of the colours you love and how your personality will be reflected in your choices. Fragrance is important and how this will indulge the senses. And finally, think how the planting will look throughout the year. Plants can be expensive, so think carefully how the garden will be managed and if this is something you may like us to undertake.

Gardens Can Be Expensive 


When you start thinking about what you want in your garden, you will need to go through many drafts of the wants, needs and must haves! This is ultimately driven by cost and what you want to invest is ultimately the most important process of the garden design.

As mentioned previously, gardens are expensive and how we design the garden must be weighed carefully. Therefore, when we are designing the garden we will advise what can be allowed for within the investment but also items that can be put back to a later date, which will help spread the costs.

Key Areas


We will consider the key areas, whether this is a central feature or smaller features of individual areas such as a front garden design and how this impacts the arrival at the property with imposing planting and the draw towards the front door through symmetrical influences. Or, a rear garden and the the use of stone or gravels for the entertaining area and how this flows from the interior to the exterior as one fluid space and how this connects with the rest of the garden.


Please take the opportunity to fill in the form opposite so we can understand what you are looking for and inspire you through our initial free consultation.

After the initial consultation we produce  design proposals, including images relating to your style, needs and investment expectation. Within our design fee we include a full site survey and topography survey if required, which sets out the scale and potential scope for the garden design. This is then plotted into AutoCAD as our outline for the design. We then spend some creative time sketching out ideas through inspired images and the design brief.

We then plot our idea and concept into AutoCAD and when complete we then import the line drawing into PhotoShop where the design goes through a CGI process adding plants, structures, furniture and points of reference. This is further enhanced by adding shadow, embossing and detailing the design.  During the process we believe in keeping you fully informed on how the design is developing and will send you a draft concept so we can ensure we are meeting your expectations, and of course iron out any issues that may be relevant. This makes the design process interactive and ensures we deliver a design that will thrill and excite you.

Once this is completed we then produce a 3D CGI concept image of one or two key areas of the garden allowing you to see the garden from a different prospective, this is then followed by a planting plan and subject to proceeding to the build stage, we also supply detail construction schematics.