Long garden ideas: 11 ways to give a narrow plot a new lease of life

Our long garden ideas are full of landscaping, planting and styling suggestions – just what you need to transform your plot

long garden ideas: long roof terrace
(Image credit: Bowles & Wyer)

Our long garden ideas are the perfect solution when it comes to elevating a narrow plot. If you're the owner of a space of this shape, you'll know that they aren't the easiest to work with.

A long plot may be spacious one way, but the lack of width can lead to a claustrophobic and uninspiring vibe. The dingy 'corridor' effect is primarily what needs to be avoided to create a more welcoming space. But it can also be tricky to work out how to make a long garden work for your needs. Where to put the seating area, the flowerbeds, and even the pathways can be difficult to decide due to possibilities being seemingly limited.

However, there are a few tricks and tips that we've shared below, which will help you transform your narrow garden into the stuff of dreams. Covering well-placed mirrors, pretty pathways, clever seating plus more, these long garden ideas are sure to have you inspired. And once you've finished browsing, head over to our garden layout ideas for lots more gorgeous looks.

1. Elevate a seating space at the end of your plot

long garden ideas: narrow plot with stepping stone pathway and seating area at the bottom

A raised deck lifts the space

(Image credit: Claire Lloyd Davies/Future)

Position a path neatly to the side to maximise on space for a verdant lawn. Wide stepping stones embedded in a gravel pathway help to draw the eye widthways.

Then, try positioning a seating area at the end of the plot, raised up onto chic decking. The height will help to break up the long line of sight. Take a look at our decking ideas for lots of beautiful designs.

We love the use of planting here too. Bamboo in a tall planter offers a subtle screen which adds a sense of intrigue. Meanwhile, lines of lavender and ornamental grasses feel structural and modern, as well as providing color and movement.

2. Draw the eye with a water feature

long garden ideas: water feature in middle of long garden

A stunning water feature can be a lovely focal point for long garden ideas

(Image credit: Mark Bolton Photography/Future)

Work with your plot's shape rather than against it with a stunning water feature such as this. It's an impressive focal point that feels playful, yet will offer tons of sensory benefits with its soothing sound, cool feel, and shimmering look.

Edge with pared-back stone for a clean finish, and balance either side with a symmetrical design for a visually pleasing scene. If you have the space, try adding in an ornamental tree or two – these small Indian bean trees make a contemporary statement.

Looking for more inspiration? Head over to our water feature ideas.

3. Cut into the space with hard landscaping

long garden ideas: modern plot with seating

A modern bench breaks this plot into zones

(Image credit: Colin Poole/Future)

Add zones to your long garden ideas with a clever use of hard landscaping, as seen here. This contemporary design has been divided by built-in planters and a zen-like, floating bench which cut into the space, making it feel wider. Love the look? Take a look at our outdoor seating ideas for more designs.

Structural alliums bring the eye upwards, as does the raised garden building at the bottom of the plot. This added height and use of levels is a great way to deter even a hint of the 'corridor' effect.

4. Use a wall to divide your space into 'rooms'

long garden ideas: symmetrical plot with lawn, borders and central bench

We love this cottage garden style plot with its characterful brick wall

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

This idea may be the one for you if you're a fan of our cottage garden ideas

As mentioned above, a symmetrical design provides visual appeal and helps to balance a narrow plot. Here, the mirrored borders and brick edging add color and order to this space.

A stone wall adds to the vintage vibe and is used to screen off the bottom of the plot, breaking up the space into distinct garden 'rooms'. A round window above the bench provides a playful peek at what's beyond, adding to the sense of discovery. Want to recreate the look? Try our garden wall ideas for more inspiration.

5. Go for a consistent color scheme for your long garden ideas

long garden ideas: aerial shot of urban garden

Garden designed and built by Bowles & Wyer

(Image credit: Allan Pollok-Morris/Bowles & Wyer)

Have you been thinking about garden color schemes for your long plot? Try opting for warm, sandy tones for a soothing and cohesive style. It will instantly welcome you and your guests to the space.

Gorgeous color scheme aside, this sunny roof terrace has also been divided into two distinct living areas – one for alfresco dining and one for lounging in style. Angular furniture, such as the corner sofa seen here, are fabulous for establishing zones, as are larger containers filled with tall plants and rectangular outdoor rugs.

Again, the eye is drawn upwards to maintain visual interest, this time by the row of planters along the roof of the building's entrance. Filled with evergreens, they will provide a pop of green all year round.

6. Offset your pathways

ideas for awkward shaped gardens: Long thin garden of Georgian townhouse with paved area with outdoor sofa and large, oversized standard anglepoise lamp Redecorated 3-bedroom Georgian townhouse in south London, home of Julia and Paul Thompson

Pathways lead from zone to zone

(Image credit: Rei Moon/Future)

Stepping stones are great for boosting the fun factor in a plot and are one of our favorite garden path ideas. When it comes to long garden ideas, they're a great way to get from zone to zone. 

These two walkways are offset from one another, offering a winding journey through the plot which makes the most of the width of the space. Meanwhile, tall planting helps to screen off the far end of the garden.

An oversized outdoor light and plenty of fluffy textiles provide the perfect finishing touches to this eclectic scene.

7. Reflect the light back with mirrors

long garden ideas: archway and mirror on far wall

A mirror is a simple update but provides maximum impact

(Image credit: Simon Scarboro/Future)

Mirrors are a well-loved design feature for interiors and exteriors alike, and they can really come in handy for long garden ideas. As seen here, they help to reflect the light back up the garden, so are especially useful for shaded areas which could otherwise feel on the gloomy side. 

So, position one against a wall or fence at the bottom of your plot as a focal point. Plant shade-loving hostas nearby – their white-tinged leaves will help to lift the space – and frame the scene with a foliage-covered archway for a Secret Garden vibe.

Looking for more inspiration? Head over to our garden mirror ideas feature.

8. Embrace a Mediterranean feel

long garden ideas: roof terrace lined with olive trees

Garden designed and built by Bowles & Wyer

(Image credit: Bowles & Wyer)

Want to take your long garden ideas to sunnier climes? Then how about opting for design features inspired by the Med.

This rooftop terrace is lined with silvery-leaved olive trees for a holiday feel, whilst a mix of stone and wooden materials offer a natural, laid-back vibe. 

Matching furniture is positioned to make the most of the sun, all the while creating chic zones. Cream fabrics and white florals lift the scene further. Check out our outdoor dining ideas for more inspiration.

9. Use white furniture as a focal point

long garden ideas: white bench at end of paved path with soft planting either side

A quaint vintage bench provides a pretty feature

(Image credit: Annaick Guitteny/Future)

Whilst dark tones help features recede into a space, pale hues reflect the light and stand out. When using them at the bottom of a plot, this can make the space feel shorter, as they will feel closer. 

So, to balance out a narrow space, try using white-toned garden furniture ideas as a focal point at the far end of your garden. This vintage-style bench and table provide a perfect example, offering a pretty feature as well as a lovely place to sit.

Opt for pale-hued paving to expand on the feeling of space, and soften with plenty of overarching foliage to draw the eye upwards and outwards.

10. Create a seating spot halfway down your plot

how to support climbing plants: metal gazebo

(Image credit: Agriframes)

Break up the length of a plot by placing a chic seating zone halfway down. It's a simple way to section up a garden into smaller, more inviting spaces.

This pleasingly circular patio has been turned into a real focal point with the help of a metal gazebo. Before long, the climbing roses will establish either side to create a beautifully fragrant canopy. Add a pretty bistro set and you've got a gorgeous place to while away the afternoon.

Take a look at our patio cover ideas for more stunning styles.

11. Use curves to break up long lines

shade garden ideas: pathway and lawn

Garden designed by Rosemary Coldstream

(Image credit: Rosemary Coldstream Garden Design)

A winding pathway in a pale tone is a great way to break up narrow lines and brighten a space. Continue the theme by using curves for your borders and perhaps your lawn, too.

To create even more visual interest, add small trees to your borders – acers are a good choice for stunning color and feathery textures. Plus, if you let them grow, their overhanging branches can be used to obscure the line of sight. 

Want to get started growing your own? Take a look at our guide on how to grow acers.

How do you landscape a long, narrow garden?

how to plan garden lighting: garden path and tropical plants

Lighting scheme by Garden Builders

(Image credit: Garden Builders)

When it comes to landscaping a long, narrow garden, leading garden designer and CEO of Bowles & Wyer John Wyer shares some expert advice...

'A long garden shouldn't be too disparate,' he says. 'One really good trick we use sometimes is to have some unifying feature or theme that ties the different areas together.' This can be demonstrated in the ideas above which use a consistent color scheme or use of material, for example.

John also suggests to use simple dividers to partially separate areas. 'I like to think of these like scenery insets on a stage,' he says. Take a look at our garden divider ideas to get inspired. 

And lastly, 'Lighting is also really important to add mood in these gardens,' John says. The garden above provides a lovely example, where the winding pathway is given a whole new lease of life with subtle spotlights. Don't forget to check out our garden lighting ideas for plenty more stunning designs.

Hopefully by now you've found some long garden ideas that you love, but if you're looking for more inspiration for tricky plots, take a look at our ideas for awkward shaped gardens.

Holly Crossley
Acting Deputy Editor

The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.