Thoughts and musings
Josh | February 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
Are you considering building a garden but only have a small outdoor space to work with?
There is absolutely no reason to worry about that. Every home deserves a lovely patch of green, after all, and maintaining one is more than just a responsibility. Alfred Austin, a noted English poet, describes gardening as something that transcends the physical: ‘the glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul’.
Small open spaces present their own unique challenges. In many cases, however, cultivating a more manageable garden is a treat. This is especially true for beginner gardeners. Small gardens are easier to build from scratch and take care of. Nevertheless, smaller spaces do require an expert eye. Every square centimetre in a small space is important. Building successful gardens in tiny spaces require a lot of elimination. The initial flood of ideas has to be trimmed down only to the essentials, or else you will end up with a crowded outdoor space.
Specifying a seating area will keep your small garden functional. A small set of chairs with a free-standing pergola can keep things in perspective. This also declutters the space by creating a focal point for the garden. With a defined subject, the eyes will not wander around the limited space.
A good seating area starts with the appropriate flooring material. A popular and affordable option is resin bound gravel because it works well with smaller gardens and allows rainwater to leech into the soil. So that it looks good, use devices to always keep them in their place. A layer of geotextile membrane underneath the gravel to prevent weeds from coming up to the surface will work well enough.
When faced with minimal ground space, plant upwards to turn bland surfaces into planes of greenery. Vines on vertical structures, for instance, provide better views than just a solid wall. If vines are not your cup of tea, however, you can hang small potted plants instead.
Aside from expanding the arable space in a small garden, vertical gardens also serve as great dividers. You can use them to separate the sections of living space or use trellises as doors for your garden, if it needs one. Unsightly elements like trash receptacles or a storage bunk can be camouflaged with vertical gardens as well.
When a garden lacks in area, simple visual cues can trick the eye into believing more space exists. Instead of building straight pathways, let them snake around the garden. In addition, you can hide the end of these trails behind shrubbery and plants, creating an illusion of more space behind the plants. Moreover, the shape of curved pathways is relaxed and invites visitors to explore the garden.
The little details in small gardens keep the eye entertained; design elements like lamps and small sculptures can really boost a small garden’s aesthetic appeal. Be careful about these little adornments, though. With the many options you can choose from, overstuffing a garden with them is a possibility.
Think beyond the usual garden gnomes and porcelain statuettes. Other options would include tiered potted plots or pots that dangle from existing structures. Remember that balance is essential and less is more, especially when it comes to small gardens.
Instead of making the entire garden revolve around a single theme, create sub-sections and design accordingly. By dividing the small space into even smaller fractions, you can, ironically, create an illusion of space. Do remember to keep the sections big enough to move around in, however.
A small garden is not something to be merely taken in; it should be an immersive experience as well. People should step into the garden space and let it surround them. By thoughtfully planning angles, the views become more controlled and intimate. At the same time, it distracts from the modest size of the garden.
Consider integrating a corner with a water feature as well. While it is true that small gardens do not have the space to spare for elaborate fountains or alluring ponds, versions to scale can really boost a garden’s appeal. Not all fountains are huge and ponds can be just as big as a giant salad bowl, after all.
Moreover, water features are great for managing problematic areas in your garden. If there are low areas that puddle up in the rain, digging soil out and lining them is a great way to start a pond section.
The plants you choose to have in your small garden can make or break the entire space. Always make sure that you only use plants suitable to the dimensions of your garden. Some popular examples are lavenders, Camellia and pretty day lilies. The rule of thumb is to choose plants that are tidy and small. Potting them is an excellent idea, especially if your garden goes through the seasons.
Think about adding a tree or two to your garden. Trees that branch out high up can provide shade to the living space as well as become the most powerful plant element in the garden. However, if your small garden already has trees in it, you might have to move them because their placement is crucial to a successful garden. In many projects, this is probably one of the most dramatic transformations.
Small gardens can be great for homes. What they lack in space, they easily make up for by being easier to maintain. By employing the right design concepts and paying close attention to the execution of the small details, your compact garden can be a beautiful bite-size paradise for your home.