VERY small garden ideas on a budget

We have a 10ft by 10ft garden, covered in old various paving slabs. We've cleared a small patch and are growing a small volume of herbs and vegetables. We also have a smallish portable greenhouse to start of seedlings. Id really like to see a programme on TV that deals with small gardens like ours on a budget. It would ideally include how to get rid of paving slabs because we cant find anywhere to take them (e.g. local tip) and cant afford more than about £800 to do the whole thing. I really don't know what to do and would love some help. We're not the best at DIY so decking is not our first choice, nor is concrete, although we'd like somewhere to put our round table and deckchairs.. so grass everywhere isn't an option either. We're really stuck for ideas to meet our budget. Can you help?



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,333

    I agree taht TV gadening is niot currently destined for peopple with small budgets or small plots although on Beechgrove they do occasionally do this and also do garden fixes for people witha  problem that needs a redesign.

    If you google "small garden design" quite a lot of sites come up that should be able to help you.   for a setaing area, could you not leave some slabs in place for yur table and chairs and make tehrest of teh garden around taht?  If not, try levelling an area completely flat, covering with a weed proof membrane and then laying a thick layer of gravel.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    One of the things for a small garden is to use the sides to grow climbng plants, as this makes the whole area more 'garden like', I - personal opinion only -  cannot agree with less is more in a small space. I have seen some of the most stunning small gardens, absolutely packed with suitable planting - and that's the thing, it does need to be suitable for the space.  What position is the garden in, when does the sun shine and where, what kind of soil do you have  -  and most important - what do you actually want? A place to sit, flowers with perfume, colour or green, pots or ground planting - £800 sounds like a huge amount of money to me, although I have a bigger garden than you have, I rarely have spent large amounts of money on it.  You can get membrane at any good retailer or on line, and a builders merchant will tell you exactly how much gravel you want need for the site, and will deliver it alot cheaper than stores.  I would suggest that if you do go the gravel route, you keep the colour muted and almost diaappearing as the emphasis needs to be on the plants, and you will quickly tire of a fancy colour in a year ot two - hopefully with something neutral you will just stop seeing it at all.  Allow things to develop slowly, you don't have to 'finish' it all at once.  Take time to get it right for you - gardens - whatever their size - evolve as nature and you work together to grow something special.

    There are some excellent books about small gardens, it might be helpful to use your public library to look at some of these, and see what kind of thing makes you feel happy, and that is right for your area.  Take your time, you will have to live with the results, and you do not have space to hide errors.  Most of all, have fun and enjoy the search and the making of your own special place. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 19,333

    Crumbs.  You can tell I typed in a hurry.  Sorry about that.

    Excellent advice form Bookertoo to use your verticals to grow climbers.  There's a clematis for every aspect, sun or shade and you don't need to buy trellis panels.  They'll be perfectly happy trained on wires attached to walls or fence posts using vine eyes so cheap to install.

    A climbing rose will add colour an dperfume if you choose well.  try and get one of the modern bred roses from avid Austin or Peter beale as these are bred for perfume and disease resistance so are more likely to do well.  

    Honeysuckle can get a bit rampant if allowed to but is also easy enough to train on wires and keep trimmed.  

    Choose a couple of good evergreens to give your garden form and interest over winter and then fill the rest of the space with plants you like and that are suited to your soil and aspect and also how cold you get.   If you let us know which way your garden faces and what kind of soil you have - sandy, clay, loamy, alkaline, neutral or acid - we can suggest some.   have alook at what neighbouring gardens are ghrowing to see what plants do well - rhodoendrons, azaleas and heathers like acid soil.  Lavenders and clematis prefer it alkaline.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • reb4reb4 Posts: 54


    I also have a tiny garden and I am afraid I jam as much as I can in and pretend I am in the cosy, secret seating area of a much larger garden! My garden is all paving slabs as when I tried to take them up, it was concrete underneath! The one suggestion I can make that has worked really well for me is that a friend of mine made me some long wooden 'steps' A bit like those shoe racks you can get with wooden slats, but bigger. It goes along one of the sides of the garden. It meant that I can fit lots and lots more in. This adds height. I put lots of herbs on this and the fabulous benefit of small is the shelter; most of my herbs carry on through winter so there is year long interest. Grasses are great too. I also have a small arbour seat, my friend is very handy! I am trying to grow evergreens from tubs up and over it but it is a slow process and I am impatient. I grow everything in pots and put the veg in long thin ones with bamboo poles to grow on, again if like me you are overlooked runner beans make a fantastic tasty screen. Just a word here make sure pots are heavy or put a brick in tub as they can topple when covered. 

    I also have a tiny table and two chairs and don't care that they hardly fit, and walking around the garden is a hazard and exciting. 

    The worst thing is the watering and the dreaded unsightly whellie bins. It, as above, all depends what you want, I am a horder and fall in love with every flower of herb I see and 'rescue' so many plants from the supermarket.

    But I much prefer to be in the garden than anywhere else. 

    Have much fun

  • BookertooBookertoo Posts: 1,306

    yes indeed, darn the wheelie bins!! They are such an eyesore, and if your space is tiny they intrude so much.  I have seen them surrounded by hazel hurdles, and then sweet peas or clematis or something light and pretty grown up that - it's a thought. 

  • Lupin 1Lupin 1 Posts: 8,916

    reb4 your garden sounds lovely. I love wandering around with the hose at the end of a warm day. I think that's the only time I really see all my plants.

  • reb4reb4 Posts: 54

    It is lovely, in my opinion, if I ever get sorted I shall post some photos, but I am new here so need to read instructions!




  • Rodgy-dodgeRodgy-dodge Posts: 115

    You could try being creative with your paving slabs by breaking them up and creating verticle walls and planting into it! I took these pictures from Harlow Carr the other month which I thought was a great idea for gardening verticle.








     My son has a small back yard and at the time I was thinking of him.

    I keep coming back to this and editing  image my son and his girlfriend use shoe holders to plant verticle too.

    Back again lol, wish gardeners world would do more on front gardens and driveways! I'm struggling as what to do with mine.

Sign In or Register to comment.