Small garden? You need Matt Blashaw's cool styling tip for raised garden beds

Did you know that raised planters can be used as a beautiful garden design feature, not just a container for your veggies?

'Take some Thyme' show garden by Down 2 Earth Garden Design at Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2019
(Image credit: Matthew Taylor / Alamy Stock Photo)

When it comes to small gardens, any styling tip that maximizes space while enhancing the design scheme is hugely welcome – and HGTV's Matt Blashaw has a genius one. Matt has a unique and fearless approach to garden design, and gave us some amazing small garden ideas during a recent interview. If you're keen on growing healthier plants while introducing something a bit different in a small garden, this tip is for you. 

Matt Blashaw's top raised planter tip for smaller gardens

Matt Blashaw is a licensed contractor and takes a fearless approach to home remodeling. He says he’s never afraid to make mistakes – but also understands that people may be wary of doing too much at once, especially in a small space. 'I try to tell people all the time: don't do too much – leave it to me!' he laughs.

When asked what one thing he would focus on in a small outdoor space, he replies straight away: 'I like raised beds.' First, there are the practical advantages to raised garden bed ideas or planters: 'Sometimes when we plant plants straight into the ground, we have no idea what the soil is. You can get your soil tested – a lot of people don't know they can do that – but if you don't know what soil you're planting your plant in, it may not survive.'

In a smaller space, having dead plants will look even worse than in a larger one, so raised beds help you eliminate mistakes.  'You'll have a green thumb if you're able to control that soil.'

Bistro set in seating area with raised planters

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme/Future)

However, Matt also has a fondness for raised planters because of their often untapped design potential. He explains that raised garden beds are perfect for small gardens because 'they add some height to your garden. I've actually done sculptural designs with different sizes [of planter beds].' Matt says that you can achieve a highly stylized look with planter beds if you put 'the bigger one at the back, the smaller one at the front, and then even a smaller one to the side. So we're kind of creating this cool little terraced level.'

Arranging raised planters in this tiered way helps achieve an 'interesting' look in a small garden, as well as making looking after your flowers a lot easier without having to bend down.

Contemporary courtyard with raised beds planted with vegetables.

(Image credit: Mabo / Alamy Stock Photo)

Matt  also advises bringing your vegetable raised beds 'right into the center of your garden', into the planting scheme rather than a specially allocated vegetable garden area, because 'then you can clad them in really cool wood, or even stone, and have this really cool sculptural feature that gives you levels in your backyard.' 

If you're not sure what you want to grow in yours, browse our guide to the best vegetables to grow in raised beds.

Oh, and make sure you stick to natural wood for the planter finish. Matt concludes: 'I like to do natural cedar or redwood; stay away from the pressure treated stuff.'

Will you be including raised beds in your garden layout ideas? Head over to our guide on how to build a raised garden bed for a handy step-by-step guide. 

Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.