I’ve never been more thankful for a big garden than when we spent the first 14 weeks of lockdown at my mum and dad’s house. Both of the girls just love being outside and although we do have a balcony on our flat and a little park area just outside it definitely wasn’t the same as letting them run crazy around the garden. That’s not even counting the trampoline and paddling pool that they had to play in.
Aside from that though, I’ve really enjoyed sitting outside more these past few weeks too. Maybe it’s being able to actually enjoy this weather and not that I’ve had to battle a sweaty commute home before I can sit out maybe it’s just that it feels like we’ve had so much more nice weather recently. Whatever it is I’ve decided that I want to make more of my little space.
Lynsey Abbott, Outdoor Living Buyer at Dobbies Garden Centres has put together her top 6 tips to create maximum impact in small gardens.
1. A clutter free zone
Just because your garden is small, doesn’t mean everything in it has to be too. One very large pot will add more impact than lots of small ones because it will stop the space feeling cluttered. A bigger pot will also house more plants, so you can mix and match with flowers and herbs that complement each other and your overall colour scheme.
Fill the garden with an eclectic mix of tiny pots and ornaments, and it will soon look busy and feel smaller. This also applies to garden furniture and features – one large furniture set, or garden ornament is far more effective than a collection.
2. Small but perfectly formed for relaxation
Do you often wish you had an extra room in the house to shut the door on household chores, or to unwind after work with some screen-free relaxation time? Just because your garden is small, doesn’t mean it isn’t perfectly formed just for this.
Create your very own relaxation or reading zone, with a single piece of outdoor furniture. A garden daybed, snuggle armchair or single hanging egg chair are all ideal options and can be layered up with outdoor cushions for extra comfort (or borrow some from the living room!). Hang outdoor lights or place solar stakes around the border of the furniture to create a cosy snug you can curl up in on a summers evening – your very own slice of garden bliss!
3. Colour it in
One of the most cost-effective ways to instantly transform a space is to paint the fence. Neutral colours like whites or creams will lift a dull area and create a sense of space. Perfect for shady gardens, plants and flowers will pop against a white backdrop. If you have a south-facing plot, avoid using bright white shades as it will be blinding.
If you want your outdoor space to be somewhere in your home you can have a little more fun and experiment with colour, a small garden doesn’t mean you can’t do this, but stick to a colour theme to avoid it looking busy. Bright colours will give an invigorating, party feel.
If you are choosing a brighter shade as a backdrop, choose light-coloured accessories or furniture in materials like natural wood or white metal.
4. Seeing double
Hang garden mirrors to create the illusion of space, they are a great way to create a focal point and make the overall space feel bigger.
Use one large mirror against a backwall or fence, or place smaller mirrors in clever spots, such behind a flower bed – the mirror image tricks the mind into thinking that there is more of the garden to see, effectively doubling the amount of blooms on display! Position near a seating or dining area as when using the space in the evening, the mirrors will highlight the warmth of lighting and candles.
5. Grow up
Making use of vertical space is the best way to expand a small garden and add another dimension and layer of interest. Save on ground space by planting up.
If you want to fill gardens with colour without cluttering up patios or decking, hanging baskets are the perfect solution. Match your plants colour theme for a display with impact and place them near the house by the backdoor or use multiple baskets and place along the side of fences. A quick colour fix of easy to prune blooms, you will save using ground space for flower beds. These are also a great solution for balconies.
A living wall is easy to install and maintain and can be made as big or small as you like, perfect for a small space. Creating a super stylish backdrop, they can also be used to grow herbs, adding a lovely fragrant scent with Rosemary and Thyme.
6. Space saving trees
Small trees are perfect for tight spaces and they can help to create privacy if your garden is overlooked.
One of the best space saving trees is an Espalier fruit tree. Planted flat against a wall or fence, they not only look stylish and produce delicious fruit, but are also easy to maintain once planned. You will be rewarded with blossom in spring, followed by tasty fruit from August to October.
Definitely some food for thought there. I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of my rather sad looking balcony as it currently stands. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take in a few of these tips and share an exciting makeover with you soon.