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rustic long narrow garden ideas

If you’ve embraced your green thumb in recent months and hopped onto the garden trend, you know that to pull off a cohesive look it takes a lot of grit and determination, especially if your plot is on the slender side. But fear not: a long, thin garden doesn’t have to curtail the fun! Case in point, these 16 long, narrow garden ideas, which we’ve curated to show you that every garden has the potential to have that wow factor.

The upsides and downsides to narrow garden design

In urban areas in particular, these types of gardens are the most widespread – and we do love to complain about them! After all, it’s easy to get stuck when it comes to making them look elegant when they’re crying out for a makeover. Trimming the hedge and compulsively rearranging outdoor furniture just isn’t going to cut it.

The downsides of owning a long, narrow garden are fairly obvious: if your garden snakes alongside your house like an uninviting corridor, you might be familiar with feeling ‘boxed in’, a lack of space for landscaping or excessive gloom and shadiness.

But it’s not all doom and gloom: narrow garden design forces us to get creative and with our creativity we can truly do wonders. What’s more, you might even save money as the cost of garden landscaping often hinges on the size of the area or areas that require work, so the narrower your backyard is, the cheaper it will likely be.

16 long narrow garden ideas to make the most of an awkward space

Now we’ve dispelled some of those bad feelings, let’s get the show on the road. With these sharp ideas, you can turn your unruly, long narrow garden into a delightful space that commands both calm and charm for all the family.

1.     Get off on the right foot with a comprehensive layout

With a strong garden layout, you will have a brilliant backdrop and blank canvas to work from. A good layout will consider the shape of the lawn and paving, so it will look good in all seasons.

Then you can begin to section off the space to remove the ‘corridor’ effect and prevent your eyes from immediately leaping to the end of the garden. One way to do this is to use circles, squares and rectangles for different terrain and only hint at a path rather than relying on sharp, swooping lines.

narrow garden steps idea

2.     Blur boundaries with carefully placed flower beds

One way to make a lacklustre narrow space far more interesting is to add some raised bed garden ideas into the mix. This will draw the eye away from the boundaries and the width of your garden and towards the vibrant assortment of eye-catching flora you have planted.

These don’t need to be huge, nor do they have to be tiny, as long as you measure the bounds of your garden accurately you can make room for successional blooms that will be colourful all year round.

3.     Invest in multifunctional outdoor furniture

In a narrow garden, keeping your furniture focused on functionality and simplicity is not only helpful if you wish to create simple, clean lines free of mess, but it will help you make better use of the space from a utilitarian point of view.

To illustrate this point, think about how you can avoid overwhelming the space with compact multipurpose furniture such as a bench which can double up as a coffee table or footrest depending on your needs at a given moment.

modern narrow garden design

4.     Pare back your decoration

Sometimes less is more, and a minimalist garden speaks a thousand words. For one, a pared-back design minimises clutter, making your outdoor space feel more spacious and low maintenance, ideal if your time out there is limited.

5.     Use your walls as space savers

While garden walls and fences serve as boundaries between your home and the next, they can also double up as practical storage places. Affix hooks, hanging baskets and shelving to them and you have ample space to put your miscellaneous garden tools and trinkets up and out of the way.

6.     Create a feast for the eyes with layering

Layering is a key ingredient in successful narrow gardens. By introducing multiple layers and levels with retaining walls, fauna and hanging baskets, you can build intrigue, depth and direct attention away from the garden’s edges.

narrow decking ideas

7.     Stack your deck with rows of pots

Whether you have wood or composite decking, lining its edges with an array of ceramic plant pots is a simple and affordable way to decorate the space if it is particularly narrow. Plus, your curation will reflect a bit of your shining personality. Plant them up with your favourite blooms, fragrant herbs that will attract the bees and even some small veggies will get the space looking cosy.

8.     Let your plants grow vertical

This is one of our favourite long narrow garden ideas as there’s so much room for experimentation. If you’re starved of space width-wise, why not go upwards by training vertical plants up surfaces such as a trellis on your fence or wall?

Whichever option you decide to go for, make sure you’ve worked out the balance between shade and privacy you want to achieve. The more you obscure your neighbours with screening, fences and the like, the more enshrouded and gloomier your garden will be. Thus, striking that balance is key.

A brilliant compromise is opting for slatted fencing or trellis panels, which will allow light to slip through whilst providing your outdoor space with ample privacy, and a structure for your climbing plants to cling to. Unlike a hedge or tall shrub bringing complete seclusion and permanent shade, these alternatives provide the best of both worlds.

9.     Add levels with lighting

If you’re aiming to break your plot into smaller sections, outdoor lighting can play a pivotal role. First start by deciding which elements of your garden you’d like to emphasise for visual and functional reasons.

We’d suggest layering these lights and using multiple light sources such as festoons, outdoor wall lamps and even reflective surfaces such as an outdoor mirror. These will serve to cast the illusion of a wider outdoor space and light-up areas meant for dining and socialising.

narrow garden seating idea

10.     Introduce order with straight lines

When you have implemented this long narrow garden idea you will thank us. While it’s tempting to push everything back against the side borders, leaving as big an expanse as possible, this won’t help you. Much like moving furniture away from the walls in a small room, pulling your garden features away from the boundaries makes it feel bigger.

Building a seating area that runs the width of your plot in front of the backdrop of your garden beds works a charm to break up the space. Use different garden edging materials to blend these two layers and it will look perfectly natural.

11.     Opt for a soothing neutral palette

Colour theory goes a long way in terms of narrow garden design ideas. Applying a light and airy colour scheme to your garden décor and horticulture will help you pull everything together and fight off that annoying shade problem. Paint your fence a soft, natural shade and you will suddenly find that your garden borders are nowhere near as harsh.

geometric design in a narrow garden seating area

12.     Trick the eye with modern geometric design

The most modern long, narrow garden ideas are all about changing your perception of the space – and having fun with a geometric design does just that. Drawing your eyes along sharp lines along the patio rather than the narrow confines of the space will help mask its smallness, plus it’s exciting to look at!

13.     Slice up the garden with landscaping

Another clever way to trick the eye and to distinguish parts of the garden from one another is to section them off using different terrains. Consider mixing and matching hard and soft landscaping, grassy lawn and soft flower beds, decking and gravel, stone and paving. Again, avoid the harsh border and it will start looking really professional.

narrow garden path ideas

14.     Transform your path into the centrepiece

When it comes to your garden path, avoid opting for one that runs right down the middle from the top to the bottom of your lawn. Of course, you will likely want a way to stroll right down to the end of the garden, but if you install a walkway here, however charming, it will dominate the outlook from your house.

Alternatively, think about your garden zones and then connecting them up separately, so lots of small paths between these sections that fade out in a gradient. Do this by allowing it to become narrower and peter out into the distance.

15.      Install an above-deck pool at the bottom

With more and more of us wanting to get outside during the summer months installing an above-deck pool in your gardens is a welcome addition to a beautiful summer garden, whether that be for the kids to splash about in or the adults to enjoy with a drink. Simply a delightful way to divide a narrow garden into multiple smaller, more enticing and practical spaces.

long narrow garden with plant pots

16.     Create an al fresco dining area

Who doesn’t love breakfast in the garden? If and only if you see yourself using the end of your garden, this will make a wonderful space for entertaining guests. Installing decking or adding a patio to which a curving path points is an elegant way to zone this area, and a convenient level to place tables and chairs.

Not only does this provide a cosy and intimate nook away from prying eyes, but it also accentuates the sense of space. Whatever you do, don’t place your dining area in the middle section of the garden; this will make your garden look even narrower – the opposite of what you want!

It’s time to muck in

If Mother Nature is calling your name, get stuck into these long, narrow garden design ideas. With your snaking garden transformed into your own little sanctuary, there’s endless outdoor fun to be had!

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