Courtyard Garden Design by Wonderful Gardens


Designed With Inspiration 

Designing and creating small gardens is borne through a passion for design, plants, structure, nature and gardens. We inspire our designers to think beyond the normal confines of design to create uniquely individual gardens. By ensuring we work within your investment we allow for the very best in materials and plants, which is then realised by our own team of craftsman. We offer a complete service with garden design consultancy, planting plans, construction, installation, project management and a range of styles and themes with specialist services to realise your dream garden.


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?

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.  The possibilities are endless and whether you have with a diverse range of styles themes and layouts to suit any garden

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


Professional Garden Design Costs are a Worthy Investment


Size does matter, and whether your garden is a small courtyard, or just a small garden  it will require careful planning and creative design to ensure the garden flows and every inch of space is maximised. Our professional garden designs are created using the latest computer generated technologies through CGI or, computer generated imagery. Our design team is dedicated to providing unique, inspired and creative  designs. As such there are costs associated to producing individual and bespoke garden designs.  Our small garden designs or plans start at around £1,000.00 for small garden designs,  but can often be 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.   However, our first initial meeting is free, and this is where we start to understand the project in more detail, so take advantage and make sure you have done your homework! 

Small Garden Development & Invesment

No matter the size of your garden, we encourage you to maximise the investment by ensuring the very best materials can be used thus ensuring quality over quantity. Gardens are expensive as are the craftsman that construct them and the cost to install can often be the next biggest purchase to a house. Therefore, it is important you  carefully consider the amounts available and a contingency for those unforeseen items you may wish for as the project progresses.   


Understanding The Investment 

It is very important for us to understand the investment you want to make, which will improve your home, garden and lifestyle.  Understanding your investment allows us to design the garden to meet this expectation and use the best materials we can within the design and build of the garden. We do not want to underwhelm or overwhelm you with a design 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. 


Small Garden Design - What is Your Style?

A small garden can follow in any style that is symbolic of your home and your personality. The options available require careful consideration and can include concepts such as 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. Bellow, we have outlined some of the styles you may consider. 


Courtyard Garden Design 

Courtyard gardens are often defined by being surrounded on three or four sides by walls, however this can be achieved with contemporary fencing, or closely clipped evergreen hedges. Courtyard gardens often trap and radiate heat, which makes them uniquely placed to grow plants that may be slightly more tender and create sun traps. That being said, some courtyard gardens can be north facing, which whilst a little more challenging, can be created into a plant oasis.


Urban Small 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 retaliative small garden.  Therefore we need to be creative, inspired to deliver a functional urban garden.  Often though, 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. The material choices should not be bulky and must also be size consistent, for example; we would use larger paving stones as opposed to smaller stones to create less negative space. 


Traditional Small Garden Design

Traditional gardens encompass thoughts and images of cobbles soft planting,  intimate seating areas and traditional materials such as York stone or sandstone paving. All these element can be pulled into a small garden to create a traditional style and theme. Often intimate gardens are themed on this style with soft flowing planting and Box with lavender, verbena and alliums to create a truly magical atmosphere.   


Formal Small Garden Design 

Formal Garden Design is based on symmetry and a balanced style with both elements of hard materials 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.


"Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts"

                       Sigmund Freud



The Small Garden Design Process

The design process starts with a conversation, which  allows us to understand what you are looking to achieve, the styles and themes that most inspire you and what your dream garden may look like with the considered investment.

After we have discussed the various aspects of the project and your availability, we will make a free consultation appointment with one of our senior designers, Annie Brown, MA, MSc, Megan Motmans UCA, or Justin Manington, Creative Director. This is the point where we view the garden, look at the current layout and consider the aspects and the ideas you have conveyed. We will offer some inspiration and look at other potential ideas that have perhaps been overlooked and help give you a visualisation of what can be achieved.

Taking detailed notes and extensive pictures  will help develop our proposals and look at the garden in terms of a survey, which is vital to ensuring the garden is designed to scale. The survey takes into consideration existing trees and plants, boundaries, structures and most important, height variations.

We then put together a detailed design proposal that features one or two augmented reality concepts. This is where we use a real photo of the garden and overlay some design imagery to give you a taste of what can be achieved. Within our proposals we set out the investment expectation, theme, the interpretation, landscape and planting strategies together with a detailed mood board of images that convey the various thoughts, ideas and inspiration behind the design. Our fee structures are based on the amount of time the design will take, together with the survey costs. 

Once you have received our proposals and had the time to review and would like to proceed, we then set our creative team of garden designers to work!


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.