Small maybe… but never dull
By Alia Babapulle
Small gardens have a lot more potential than you realise. Whether dealing with a long narrow space, a cramped back garden that lacks privacy, a run-down garden being given a facelift or a terrace which has nothing going for it, the possibilities are endless. So don’t write off your outdoor area just yet – with the right design, it could be an incredible garden.
The best small garden designs, as I have said before, are simple but elegant; no complicated arrangement and trying to mix different garden styles together Trying too hard also will not work. Step back, have a good look at your space and think it through.
Designing a garden in a small space is challenging – I love doing them – and yet they have many advantages compared to a larger one. Since the area is small, less effort is needed to maintain the area. Also, you can
concentrate on very detailed accents and accessories. Never forget to take clippings form healthy plants and re-plant them.
One more important thing is to use vertical spaces efficiently, and opt for plants that grow upwards. Another aspect while planning a small garden is the inclusion of a private space. You need to decide whether you need tables and chairs where you can enjoy your morning tea or evening wine. If you have a terrace, especially think how about the sun moves; shade for the midday sun is important, or plants which can withstand the powerful heat.
Small garden plans should include a proper selection of flowers and herbs for cooking. As per the availability of space and sunshine, you can select from among the large variety of flowers that grow in light shade, deep shade, full sun and partial sun. If you do not want to be too bothered, find plants which are not fussy and do not need a lot of looking after. Always put in plants which attract bees, as they are vital for us.
As for other criteria… Create a list of essential things you want to apply in the garden. Good planning of plants placement and other elements is very important. Optimising curves and circles visually expands the available space. Remember the importance of negative space; even a tiny courtyard or lawn can provide balance to a small garden. Include built-in seating in a corner to keep your garden from feeling crowded. Use a living wall to add lushness where ground space is limited. Step back and look at your yard with fresh eyes, then simplify and tidy.
Even if your outdoor space seems overwhelming, pick just one thing that you most want to change.
Think big. Ample pathways and gathering spaces are inviting, and large features are engaging in any size space. You can maximise the liveability of a small yard by taking advantage of changes in terrain to segment the space into different living areas. Dividing a garden, even when small, often has the paradoxical effect of making it seem larger.
In small gardens where space is too limited for major focal points, compose a series of mini views within the garden itself, offering interest in every direction while using plants to provide a framework. If you are planning to entertain groups, keep furniture and plantings along the perimeter of the garden to allow for mingling in the centre of the space.
When selecting plants for a relatively small space, don’t go colour crazy. Stick with a more monochromatic scheme of cooler colours (such as blues, violets, yellows and silvery greens) -otherwise you might end up with a garden that feels close and confined, which is what I have noted in previous articles. Finally, don’t forget lighting to extend the use of your yard well into the night.
If you do all this, you will enjoy your small garden just as much as those
with a large one do. Have fun!
Alia Babapulle – Interior and Exterior Designer
Tel. (+34) 616 670 975 · firstname.lastname@example.org