How to Practice Minimalism in Your Garden

How to Practice Minimalism in Your Garden

How to Practice Minimalism in Your Garden

What is Minimalism?

Minimalism is a lifestyle that focuses on keeping only the items you really need and eliminating clutter. It’s about living with less and being intentional about what you own. Minimalism helps declutter your physical space and also your mind.

When it comes to gardening, minimalism means carefully choosing the plants, materials, and decor you use in your outdoor space. The goal is to create a simple, soothing sanctuary that brings you joy. Less is more when designing a minimalist garden.

Benefits of a Minimalist Garden

Embracing minimalism in your garden has many advantages:

  • Reduces clutter and maintenance: With fewer plants and features to care for, a minimalist garden is easier to maintain. You avoid being overwhelmed.

  • Saves money: Not overbuying plants and materials saves on costs. And less clutter means fewer items to replace later.

  • Creates tranquility: Simple, clean garden spaces have a peaceful, relaxing vibe. You can decompress surrounded by nature.

  • Lets plants stand out: With open space and fewer distractions, the plants become the stars of your garden. Their natural beauty shines.

  • Enhances focus: Eliminating excess clutter in your garden helps you focus on what truly matters most to you.

How to Create a Minimalist Garden

Follow these tips to practice minimalism in your outdoor space:

Stick to a Limited Plant Palette

  • Focus on just a few types of plants instead of trying to collect them all. Select 2-3 plants as the stars of your garden.

  • ** repetition and consistency**. For example, massed beds of grasses punctuated with occasional flowering perennials.

  • Choose low-maintenance perennials that suit your climate and site conditions. Avoid fussy plants that need a lot of care.

Use Restraint with Garden Decor

  • Resist the urge to fill every corner. Leave negative space for plants to breathe.

  • Limit decor to just a few meaningful, multipurpose items like benches, birdbaths, and obelisks.

  • Choose decor in natural hues that blend into the landscape. Avoid brightly colored plastic or ceramic pieces.

  • Opt for simple materials like concrete, stone, metal, and wood over flashy accents.

Design Simple Garden Beds

  • Frame beds with clean lines and basic shapes—squares, rectangles, and circles work well.

  • Neatly edge beds with thin metal, bricks, or stone for crisp definition.

  • Arrange plants in groups and swaths rather than dotted randomly. This looks tidy and purposeful.

Keep Hardscaping Minimal

  • For paths, use a single neutral material like decomposed granite, gravel, or pavers. Avoid a hodgepodge.

  • Direct paths to key destinations vs meandering aimlessly. Straight lines suit a minimalist aesthetic.

  • Limit furnishings like benches and planters. Select versatile pieces that serve multiple functions.

Take a Subtractive Approach

  • Start with a simple blank slate, then add features intentionally as needed rather than cramming in elements.

  • Periodically remove plants that underperform or you’ve lost interest in. Edit and refine over time.

  • Be willing to take things out rather than just adding more in. Subtracting often achieves a cleaner look.

Real Life Examples

Jessie’s front yard garden is a stellar example of minimalism. She removed her lawn and designed a simple layout with gravel paths leading to a bench. Just three types of plants provide year-round interest—ornamental grasses, lavender, and rosemary. The limited color palette of silvery greens and purples creates a cohesive, soothing look.

Rob took a subtractive approach in his backyard, gradually removing overgrown shrubs, overplanted perennial beds, worn furniture, and faded accents. He was left with a blank slate to build his minimalist garden. A stone patio now anchors the space, edged by mass plantings of carex grass and Japanese maples. The only decor is a stone bench and bubbler fountain. The garden has an airy, uncluttered elegance.


Creating a minimalist garden requires restraint and editing. Start simple and add purposefully only what you need most. Repetition of plants and materials helps achieve cohesion. Subtract and refine to avoid clutter. With thoughtful plant selection and clean-lined design, you can craft a garden that soothes the mind and refreshs the spirit. A minimalist garden celebrates the natural beauty of plants themselves, unburdened by excess.