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10 Urban Garden Design Ideas for Small Spaces

Are you looking to spruce up your small outdoor space but feeling limited by its size? With a little creativity and strategic planning, you can transform your small urban garden into a cozy spot to relax. Let's explore 10 landscape design ideas for small urban gardens in Toronto, Ontario.

a stone sculpture in garden
Photo by Maksim Goncharenok:


Create a focal point

A striking sculpture, a cool tree, or a unique piece of outdoor furniture can draw the eye and create a sense of interest in a small space. There are unlimited ideas to add a focal point to your urban garden, and make sure you choose something that speaks to you!

2. Use vertical space

A courtyard in sunset with trellis over hang
Photo by Volkan Vardar:

Maximize your space by utilizing walls, trellises, and hanging baskets to add height and dimension to your garden. You can grow climbing plants like Clematis against a sunny wall; hang seasonal hanging baskets on your porch, or even hang your garden tools on the fence... The possibility of maximizing the vertical space in the landscape is endless.

3. Add colour and texture with container gardens

Container Garden Full of Texture and colour
Colorful Container Garden Full of Texture

Container gardens are a great way to add pops of colour and texture to a small space without taking up too much room. Contrary to popular belief that containers/ pots are for annual plants; you can plant shrubs, perennials and even trees in pots. Container gardens allow you to have a greater selection of plants not only because you can easily move them around to change the design of the space; you may bring the container inside to winterize plants that will not survive the harsh Toronto winter.

4. Plant smart

Choose plants that will thrive in your small urban garden, such as dwarf varieties or those that can be trained to grow vertically. By creating a mixture of plants, you are adding layers and depth to make a space seem fuller and bigger.

LED light under the porch
Photo by Katterinaaa :

5. Incorporate lighting

Outdoor lighting can create a cozy atmosphere and make your small space feel larger at night. Remember, you don't need a fully lit space to create the ambience. If you're considering adding lighting to your backyard, make sure you read our Guide to Landscape Lighting.

6. Choose Compact furniture

If you want to use your small space for outdoor entertaining, choose compact furniture that can be easily moved or folded away when not in use. Even a small bench or chair can create a cozy spot for enjoying your outdoor space.

cozy chair in garden
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto:

7. Add a water feature

DIY water feature in garden

A small fountain or pond can be calming to your small garden. Water is one of the elements that complete nature, and by adding natural elements, you essentially create the cohesiveness of the space and add tranquillity to your daily life.

8. Choose a theme

A cohesive theme like a tropical or Japanese garden can tie your small space together and make it feel intentional. For example a container garden!

minimalist landscaping idea
Photo by Harry Cooke:

9. Keep it simple

Sometimes less is more. A simple, minimalist design can make a small space open and serene.

10. Hire a Professional

By using these landscaping ideas, you can transform your small urban outdoor space into a beautiful and functional urban getaway. As you begin to contemplate ideas, you might find yourself overwhelmed with different strategies and not sure what to do next with your outdoor space. 

That’s OK. Leo Landscape Studio can help. We can walk you through the landscape design process and help you prioritize your needs so you end up with that Toronto landscape you’ve always wanted

Ready to see how Leo Landscape Studio can transform your Greater Toronto landscape into something beyond your expectations? We’d love to share our design and installation expertise with you and deliver a custom space that stands out. Get started today with a free consultation. Together, we can prepare a plan that works best for you. Then you can enjoy your new landscape for years to come.


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