How do you know you’ve got a medium-sized garden? Well, firstly you probably feel like there’s a little more you could do with the space. You stand in your garden and look around you, and rather than feeling cramped, you feel potential.
Not too much potential, mind. There are limits to the space after all, and these keep you from dreaming too big. You’ve definitely got a few projects available to you, but there are things that the space just won’t allow.
While this is admittedly quite an abstract definition, it’s the one we worked with when writing this article. These medium sized garden ideas are for people looking for a new project for their outdoor space, but who don’t have the luxury of unlimited space available for such things.
The ideas in this list are designed to help you make the most of your space. To make it relaxing and enjoyable in new ways, and to broaden the range of activities you can do out there. Depending on what you like to do in your garden, some of these ideas are likely to appeal more than others. That’s OK: the idea is to plant a few seeds of inspiration, and to help you feel energised in crafting the perfect improvements for your outdoor space.
1. Build a deck
We’ll start with something uncontroversial: why not build a wooden decking somewhere in your garden? Just outside the backdoor is the most traditional place, but there’s a lot to be gained from having a decking tucked away at the back of your garden.
With a decking that’s not just outside the door you have the option to create a real private little nook away from the hustle and bustle of your home to relax in. Add a few tall trees or shrubs for privacy around the decking, for example, and you’re good to go with your own little outdoor den.
There’s more and more interest in putting outdoor sofas and other comfortable seating on decking, or covering them over to keep them completely dry in all weathers. Depending how big you’re planning to go, you could be on your way to creating an outdoor living room for the ultimate R&R.
2. Build a permanent gazebo
If you’d like a nice space for outdoor relaxation but you find decking a little uninspired, why not go for a permanent gazebo? The example in the picture above shows how striking a wooden gazebo can look in your garden, and there’s a real charm to sitting in a space specially fenced off for relaxation.
Go for a big enough gazebo for a dinner table and a few chairs, and you’ve got yourself an outdoor dining room – great for entertaining guests, or even just for particularly nice nights as a place for you and your family to enjoy their supper.
3. Get a hammock
If you’ve never been in a hammock, there’s a real risk that you don’t know what you’re missing. While they may not look it, these pieces of fabric are surprisingly comfortable. They support all areas of your body at once to provide all-round comfort.
And while the image above includes trees, you actually don’t need trees to support a hammock. You can use many other structures, and some hammocks even come with their own frames to keep them supported.
Adding a hammock to your garden is a great way to tap into the relaxation your outdoor space can offer. Whether you go for something hippie and exotic, or just a simple piece of fabric, you’re sure to find something that matches the overall aesthetic of your garden while giving you somewhere to recline and enjoy the space.
4. Build a sunken trampoline
So far we’ve included ideas centred around relaxation, and the creation of spaces designed to facilitate it. Jumping to something completely different now, why not consider building a sunken trampoline?
Trampolining is a fantastic way to keep fit. It’s fun whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete beginner, and it’ll help you to work up a sweat and burn off some extra calories.
Building a sunken trampoline is a way to incorporate a trampoline into the space without disrupting the visual lines of your garden. By digging a hole and having the supporting frame below the ground, the top of the trampoline stays flush with ground level. No more ugly frames kicking around, but still the same enjoyment. See our full guide to building one here.
If you’re looking for a way to keep active in your garden, this idea may be for you. If not you’re probably better off reading the next few!
5. Set up a firepit
There’s nothing quite as cosy as sitting beside a fire, whether by yourself or with a circle of friends and family. Thankfully, there are also myriad ways to safely harness fire in your garden, ranging from the cheap and cheerful solutions like a £20 fire bin, to a fully bespoke fire pit built to your exact specifications.
Depending on the size of your garden, your budget, and the amount of work you’re willing to invest in this project, your fire pit could be anywhere on this spectrum. We’ve seen some amazing sunken fire pits with built in bench seating, where 10-15 people can sit comfortably around a roaring blaze. The picture above shows something a little more modest to demonstrate the range available.
Whatever you go for, we can assure you that your fire pit will attract a steady flow of friends and family to your garden and, if you let it, it’ll be the centrepiece for many a special evening.
6. Build a log store
As the proud owner of a fire pit, you’re going to want somewhere to store your logs. Because while a sack of logs from the local petrol station will do the trick for the odd fire here and there, when you’ve got a custom built pit in the centre of your garden, you’re going to get through a lot more logs.
Log stores are not only practical, but they lent a real rustic vibe to your garden’s aesthetic. You can choose to build one yourself if you like a bit of DIY or, if not, there are plenty of options for a pre-built store. Whatever you choose, make sure to get it full before winter rolls in!
7. Make a pond
Ponds need little introduction. These man made water features are a spot for wildlife to hang out in your garden, ranging from frogs and toads through to dragonflies and bees. They also represent a garden project almost infinite in scope: you can buy and bury a small plastic pond kit, or you can go all out and landscape a vast aquatic environment for a horde of ornamental fish.
With a medium garden at your fingertips you’ll likely have a lot of options for building a pond. We won’t stifle you here with too many suggestions; instead we’ll give you a few things to think about. Will you have fish? Will your pond have a pump or the right combination of plants to keep the water in good condition without it? Will you incorporate any fountains or exciting water features?
The choice is yours.
8. Build some raised beds
Growing fruit and veg is a great way to use your outdoor space, and raised beds are a nice way to keep this project separate from the rest of your garden. So if you want to grow but would prefer not to convert your whole yard into a fertile cornucopia, this is the idea for you.
As you can see in the picture, raised beds are simply box shaped frames filled with compost where you can grow plants. Many home gardeners opt for these beds as a way to keep things compartmentalised, and they also come with the benefit of having fresh compost, as opposed to the soil elsewhere in your garden that might not be great for growing.
9. Get a chair swing
We’ll end with another great idea for garden-based R&R. The humble chair swing has been a popular addition to gardens for generations, with many a Dickensian Londoner rocking gaily back and forth with their sweetheart exemplifying the practice.
If you’re looking for a project for your garden that gives you somewhere comfortable to relax, but that’s a little closer in line with tradition than hammocks and fire pits, then this is the one for you.
You can either build your own swing if you’re feeling handy, as in the picture above, or you can buy a kit from any good garden store. Whatever you go for, take time to choose the right space in your garden and you’re guaranteed somewhere calm and comfy to bask in the tranquillity your outdoor space offers.
There you have it!
This list of ideas to spruce up your medium sized garden is, as you are probably aware, far from exhaustive. Our aim has been to plant seeds of inspiration from which your very own garden improvement projects can grow. So if you now feel invigorated to set up a hammock, build some raised beds, or dig yourself a new pond, that’s great. And if nothing in this list has tickled your fancy, hopefully you’ve at least got a little inspiration to take ahead into your ongoing research!
Just keep in mind that this is your space, and that you know best how to make the most of it. Listen to your heart, and go with your gut. It doesn’t matter how many garden magazines tell you to do x, y, or z: if those suggestions don’t fit with your vision of the space, they can be safely ignored.
Your garden should be your sanctuary, and we hope these ideas have helped you to move a little closer to that reality.