Five of the Best... Ways to Maximise Space in a Small Garden
You don’t need a large country estate to enjoy an outside space with room for entertaining, relaxing and even growing your own ingredients for the kitchen. Even the smallest patch of patio or lawn offers scope for grand ideas: take a look at our five of the best ways to make a small garden feel bigger.
Play with perspectives
Play with perspectives
Clever use of shapes can make your narrow garden feel wider: emphasise width with circles, alternating paving, flowerbeds or lawns to the draw the eye to the edges, but remember that bold, geometric shapes look bigger so opt for circles or semi-circles which span the entire garden. A diagonal design can also help to draw your focus to the sides, and gravel and bark paths are a low maintenance route — plus, straight lines are easier to get right. Similarly, separating your short garden into compartments can make it feel longer. Consider how the view works from the house, too; if there’s a particular spot where you like to sit and take in the garden, ensure you plan the layout so it looks good from here.
Small gardens don’t need to limit your growing space: consider tall plants and trees to draw the eye upwards. Those with particularly green fingers can make fantastic use of space by using vertical planters which also provide privacy — climbing plants on walls are another great way to achieve this. It’s easy to do yourself: buy specially-designed planters from garden centres or make your own by building in levels and stacking pots on bricks and walls. Raised beds are another solution, offering space for sun-seeking plants on top and useful storage underneath. A tried and tested way to make the best use of space is with hanging baskets, which allow you to grow up and down depending on what plants you choose.
A simple solution to maximise your growing space is by using containers, whether that’s permanent pots or reusable fabric ‘bags’ which can be easily transported around your garden. If you have steps in your garden this is a bonus, too: they’re structurally strong and can cope with large pots containing fruit trees and bigger shrubs. Herbs can be grown around the trunks of fruit trees in pots providing edible living ground cover, so you can grow two types in one space. Low maintenance herbs like thyme will scent the area and provide fresh flavours for the kitchen.
The ‘rule of three’ of decorating applies to your garden too. Try to stick to three materials and three key colours to stop your garden from looking cluttered, for example a paved patio, gravel path and lawn area, with green, white and purple plants — choose evergreen plants that look just as good in the winter as they do in the spring. Go for plants that flower for a good amount of time too: lavender is low maintenance, easy to grow and looks and smells beautiful. To further enhance the light paint fences and gates in pale colours to bounce light around the garden — opt for a hue that complements your planting colour scheme. It’s important not to forget the effect of good lighting, either, providing a warm and welcoming glow in the evenings that helps to extend your interiors when entertaining. Light in layers: by the house, paths and steps, or to highlight interesting features. Festoon lighting above a table is a great alternative to fairy lights — plus cleverly positioned mirrors can reflect the light back.
Seating solutions can help to boost much-needed space in your garden. Feeling practical? You can easily construct a built-in wall seat with storage inside for keeping cushions and blankets hidden away when not in use. If space really is at a premium then folding furniture is your best bet — you can stash it inside if needed. Consider how you want to use your garden seating before you go for a long-term option: if entertaining is important then you might want to create an outdoor dining room, or if lounging is more your thing then low-level seating where you can stretch out with a book might be best.
We’re full of great ideas to help you maximise your home, whether you’re buying, selling or looking to make improvements. Take a look at more of our home improvement blog posts here.
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