19 brilliant small garden ideas from BBC Gardeners World Live!

BBC Gardeners World Live is a great
place to pick up ideas. We all know that
our own gardens will never look like
show gardens- but show gardens have such
a lot of inspiration for us all. And here
I’ve picked up the ideas that I think
will look wonderful in any of our
It’s Alexandra here from the middle
sized garden YouTube channel with tips,
ideas and inspiration for your garden. Tip one – every small garden needs a tree
and a sculpture. I visited BBC gardeners
world live on press preview day when I
met Diarmuid Gavin who supplied the brief
for the BBC gardeners World Live Young
Landscapers Award. He designed two gardens
for the young landscapers to execute,
both in roughly the same 5×5 meter space,
and he specified a tree and a sculpture
both. So I asked him why the tree his
answer is here – ‘as a focal point – and in the future we will
re-interpret what we regard as beautiful
gardens. It is lovely to have lawns but
I’m not sure the perfect weed-free
lawn without daisies is a good thing or is
sustainable in this day and age. When
you see very simple tree, it’s
so effective, so cheap and something that could be grown
any where, even the seaside, then you know that it will alsol
probably sustain two or three hundred
other life forms as well. Now for the rest of
the tips – Tip 2: paint a plant stand a
vibrant color to show off the flowers,
and you can even match it to your shed. This striking purple is in the Thrive
charity garden. Tip 3: use pebbles or
shingle as mulch in your borders. It
really shows off the plants, stops the
soil drying out and helps suppress weeds,
although some will get through. Tip 4:
mix vegetables and flowers in the same
bed. This is the made in Birmingham Show
garden, which draws on the old tradition
of railway workers being allowed to use
railway embankments as allotments.
Perhaps this is an idea that should be
revived again as we have thousands of
miles of embankments that could be used
for growing. Tip 5: reuse, recycle and
upcycle. I loved Peter Cowell’s Living
Garden Design. He reworked a Cala gas
bottle to turn it into an outdoor
fireplace. It gave out a cracking heat.
His garden used salvaged timbers to make
a pergola and old corrugated iron as
a fence. He even cut away one side of an
old iron bath and turned it into an
outdoor sofa. Tip 6: green walls are a
great way of increasing greenery in
small gardens. There were several at BBC
Gardeners World Live including Peter
Cowell’s Living Garden Design and rows of
hanging pots seen here in the Trip Down
Sensory Lane Garden by Shire Oak Academy. Tip 7: sliding doors in gardens. This
is a clever way of breaking up space in
a small garden, seen here in Peter
Cowell’s garden design. Tip 8: use
the space under seats for storage
especially logs, seen here at the
Conquest Creative Spaces Across the
Board Garden. Tip 9 plant between your
pavers. This in the Conquest Creative
Spaces garden is a modern version of
laying pavers as stepping stones across
the lawn. It’s better for the environment
than a solid path as it allows water to
soak in. You can alternate pavers and
planting using either grass or plants
that don’t really mind being walked on
Tip 10 embed planters or window box down
the center of your table to grow herbs
or flowers.
This is Timotay Landscapes ‘this wild life
garden’ and this garden has another
clever idea for tip 11 – to use a
blackboard surface for your garden table,
so that you can play noughts and crosses,
make lists or sketch out great ideas
while enjoying a drink. Tip 12: use steel
cable as it’s used on yachts or in
architecture for a contemporary
geometric take on a pergola. I
particularly like this interpretation of
a pergola in Martyn Wilson’s Keyscape
breath-of-fresh-air garden. Also Martyn’s garden, which won Gold, is tip 13 –
the idea of using a highlight or accent
color. This orange is vibrant and
contemporary but it would also be very
easy to change. You could just paint the
tables and chairs, buy different lights
and cushions, and you’d suddenly have a
completely different look. This would
also be a good way of extending your
interior color scheme outside without
making a big investment. Tip 14 comes
from Martyn’s garden as well – you can use
different and unusual materials for
fencing. This fence is made of something
called design board and it’s a composite
decking material from London Ston,e and
as it’s usually used for decking it’ll
be hard wearing and waterproof. It looks
great as a fence – don’t you think? Tip 15
if you have a dark basement area paint
it white or use white stone – a lot of
small town gardens are little more than
a basement well, and this garden by A-Z Gardening Landscape Services would
make a brilliant and private sitting,
entertaining and eating area in a small
town yard. The white would reflect light
back into the house too. Tip 16: laser cut
fences – they’re a stylish new trend. Stark
and Greensmith have some particularly
good ones, and I’ve done a post about
this. There are links in the
description below as well as to the
garden designers and companies that I’ve
mentioned. Tip 17: spiky plants in pots
are a quick way of making your garden
look contemporary and updated. This is a
red phormium from Wyevale Garden Centres. Tip 18: try some of the old ways of doing
things – this is a traditional Welsh stone
clad earth bank topped with turf
called a clawdd. I’m sorry about the
English pronunciation but it’s spelt C L A W D D
There are blueberries planted in
the turf at the top and designer Bryony Davies
Davies of Seeds of Green says that they
love this wall as a growing environment.
Byrony’s tiny show garden demonstrates
tip 19 – which is that you can grow your own
veg even in the smallest of spaces. This is only about 1-2 meters deep and probably
only about 3 or 4 meters long. but she
even has a composting loo. It has a pond
on top to gather the rainwater for
flushing and also to provide a small
wildlife pond. BBC Gardeners World Live
happens in Birmingham every year in June
and it’s a very relatable garden show,
with show gardens, talks, advice from
experts and loads of stands selling
glorious plants, tools and more. There’s a
link in the description below and if
you’ve enjoyed getting tips from show
gardens – especially when you’re not able
to visit them – do hit like so that I know
you’d like more. And if
you haven’t subscribed to the Middlesized
Garden YouTube channel, do – we upload
once a week with tips, ideas and
inspiration, along with private garden
visits, so I hope to see you soon. Thank


  1. Thank you for sharing this video. I love the tips ☺️ and look forward to upcoming videos. Chris-Raleigh NC

  2. Great great video! I really love to see show gardens and get tips from professional designers. Well, every sort of tip actually but I really appreciate the show part.
    I hope to move to a house with a proper garden soon so I need all the inspiration and the advice I can get. Thanks and keep up the good work.👍

  3. Wonderful video, full of great ideas from the professionals. I really like the idea of a changeable theme colour for the garden accessories as I like to change things up frequently.

  4. Fab, I have some palats iv just acquired so might go for what iv just seen here paint them and put some plants on them in pots thanks for the idea great luv it 😊

  5. Thanks, sometime garden design is overwhelming and then I give up. My side garden is getting French doors out onto it, so now is the time to plan once more and your tips are really helpful. House windows and glass doors need pretty garden views to bring that outdoor area indoors.

  6. Thanks for the video. The pronunciation of the green topped stone wall, ie a Clawdd, is like 'cloud', and the 'dd' at the end is pronounced as a 'th', so the phonetic would be clou-th

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