Gardening in small spaces brings huge pleasure
A small space isn't the gardening disadvantage that you might think! There are so many people who are put off from buying properties with tiny gardens or courtyards. Let's face it, most average modern houses are set in small plots. But even the most enthusiastic of gardeners can gain great benefits compared to those with big gardens. So why should a small garden NOT curb your affection for a home?
Excite the passion!
A diminutive outside space can result in an extraordinary passion, even for former 'non-gardeners'! It's all about manageability, creativity and imaginative thinking.
What an intriguing space, with hard surfacing, lawn, raised beds, seating and features
Small spaces often prove to be more satisfying than larger plots because a gardener can manipulate, engineer and nurture every square centimetre of space to his or her liking. This would be an impossible aspiration in a large garden without an army of regular helpers and a tree that grows money. It is feasible to maintain a small plot in a weekend. A spare half an hour, put to good use, will make a big impact, whereas the same amount of time in a large plot will go virtually unnoticed.
A small garden with huge interest! It doesn't need a lawn because it is filled with interesting planting and begs you to explore.
Lets unlock some small space secrets!
Firstly, look beyond the boundaries and think outside of the box. Most gardens have a patio, a lawn and flower beds and this is probably what you will inherit with the house. If you have some steps, you are already onto a winner!
Wouldn't you just love to have these quirky steps in your garden?
Steps and changes in levels
Changes in levels are interesting, as are areas that make you want to explore. If you can see all your small garden at a single glance, it represents rather a dull space.
The flamingos make this lawn look interesting but otherwise, it's a bit dull!
Disguising the fence is a good place to start in a small garden. Any vertical surface can provide interesting growing potential and nows the time to clothe them in climbers,
wall shrubs or even hanging plants.
Is the eye drawn to the fence or the climber?
Pop up a few birdboxes
too, as the wildlife will enjoy making a home in amongst the climbing stems. For the more adventurous there are also vertical green wall systems complete with planting pockets in which to create a truly artistic display. When covering a fence, you could build in the illusion of a doorway or window leading to further space. Mirrors
are a great way to bounce some light around and provide a little magic. Make sure that only small areas of mirror show, however, as birds tend to fly into them.
A garden mirror can add intrigue and create a spatial illusion.
Raised beds and structures
Next, raised beds
with planting that obscures some of the garden beyond, garden obelisks
and structural plants
give the eye a space to roam and a carefully positioned archway can lead the mind towards exploration.
'See through' plants in a raised bed tend to add depth to a small space and make it seem more spacious and interesting.
Then theres the lawn. Some people decide to do without one, and theres good argument for doing so in a small garden. However, you really need to ensure that you fill the space with interest
rather than hard surfaces that are no good for man nor beast.
There's interesting planting, pleasant colours and appealing furniture on this small patio.
Others like a green lawn mantle because its a visual pleasure and provides a natural backdrop for plants; it offers potential for games
and gives access to different areas too. The smell of freshly mown lawn is not to be sniffed at either! Make it an interesting shape to bring a feast to the table but avoid fussy curves and intricate shapes. Interlocking rectangles or circles, an oval or ribbon of lawn can be highly effective in a small space. Its well known but not always well remembered that large shapes in a small space make the scale seem bigger.
What a delightful lawn! There's nothing boring about this shape, not the beautiful planting.
Whilst a focal point is always useful, in a small space its not helpful to have too many. If you have a penchant for garden statues
, for example, keep all but one well-hidden so you catch only a glimpse when you are looking closely. Its far more intriguing to position statues behind planting rather than having several un-related items dotted randomly around the garden.
A tasteful water feature with surrounding planting looks good in a small space, but make sure it's not too fussy.
The same principle goes for water features
which are far more effective when they blend naturally into the small garden rather than appearing to have fallen from the sky! You might want something such as a bench,
framed by planting, positioned in a visual focal point in order to provide a logical destination. It continues the theme of a journey and can be highly effective, even in the smallest of spaces.
A statue can provide a focal point within a garden but it will look much better if it's surrounded by planting to help it blend in.