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10 Tips For Getting the Most out of a Small Garden

Aug 2014


You don’t need a garden the size of a football pitch in order to have a stunning green place to relax in. Behind every specific tip on our list is the aim of economising space. When it comes to furniture, think Japanese minimalism – live within your means and eliminate clutter. Why do you have four garden seats when only two of you use the space? Get rid of them. Meanwhile, feng shui your garden to maximise ground space.

Take the opposite approach when it comes to exercising your greenfingers. Use every bit of space available – plant in every nook and cranny.

The Only Way is Up

Vertical gardening is all the rage. As the world’s population continues to swell and living gets ever denser, vertical gardens have been popping up all over the place. Some of them are truly stunning.

The easiest way to get started is buy a trellis and some climber plants like honeysuckle or clematis. However, if you adopt the principle of growing vertically, rather than horizontally, the sky is literally your limit.

Some people have been incredibly creative, upcycling old bottles into wall pots in a number of ways:

Key Pieces

A single stand-out feature, like a small fountain, statue or chiminea, can focus attention away from the small size of your garden.

Use Furniture in Unusual Ways

Buy multifunctional furniture: a table that could also be a seat, a stool that can be a side table. Do you have an old, weatherproof bookcase? Upcycle it! It takes up little floor space and you can have shelves of flowerpots (or you could use it as a bar: see picture).

PS. It won’t maximise space, but if the case has a back, lie it down and… voila! You now have four-five makeshift planters!

Let There Be Light

Now that we have sung the praises of vertical gardening, we should add an important addendum. Don’t plant upwards if it will block out the sunlight. You don’t want your garden to turn into a dingy, wee cave. If you are in the dark anyway, why not try run a line outside and add artificial lights to your garden? Paper lanterns and fairy-lights are particularly recommended, giving diffused, ambient light. Great for those rare warm evenings when you want to stay out after sunset.

Pots and Planters

Often the smallest gardens are in the city. Even more frequently the garden spaces are paved. That, of course, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have plants in your gardens. Buy a few plant pots, or even a planter!

Wait in Line

As we discussed in a previous blog post, horizontal lines make space look bigger, vertical lines smaller. The same is true if you have a harsh geometric shapes, like paving stones crisscrossing your garden. Think about where you normally sit. You want horizontal lines leading your eye away and round your garden, not a wall of vertical lines like prison bars.

How’s it Hanging?

So, you’ve used up all the ground space, but you still have a few packs of seeds left? Hanging baskets are the perfect solution. Are baskets too passe? Why not try a hanging glass terrarium?

Take Your Garden To The Next Level

Space allowing, installing a mezzanine level – even a simple deck – into your garden gives the space a whole new dimension.

Tower Power

Potato towers, easily made with a cylinder of metal fencing and alternating layers of straw and compost, are increasingly popular.

Colour Blind

Does your garden looks like David Hockney painted it will having a fit? It’s great to have a multiplicity of flowers, but if you have painted all your furniture different colours, it will confuse the eye and make a space seem smaller. Dark colours will likewise elicit a claustrophobic feeling. Choose a simple, light, pastel-toned pallet.

 

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