Small gardens can be a challenge to design and maintain, but with some creative thinking they can also be an opportunity to create a unique and beautiful space. Here, I want to share some big ideas for our small gardens or outdoor spaces that can help you reshape them into a relaxing and inspiring haven.
Choose the right plants
When it comes to making small gardens look bigger, choosing the right plants can be a game-changer. Go for dwarf plant varieties as the smaller foliage will create an illusion of scale. Your choice of plants depends on things like your climate, soil type, and rainfall and sun vs. shade in your garden. Your trusted local nursery will be able to advise you, or visit this website for lots of options. www.lifeisagarden.co.za/plants-for-small-gardens/. Also, using a layering technique of taller plants and grasses in the background, and shorter smaller plants in front can make a garden feel larger than it is.
A great way to maximize your space in a small garden is to create a vertical garden. This can be done by using wall-mounted planters, hanging baskets or even trellis. You can grow herbs, flowers, succulents or even vegetables in your vertical garden creating a lush and vibrant display that can also provide fresh veggies. If you are looking for something purpose-built to hang on to those less than attractive pre-cast walls, take a look at www.mardeou.com and check out their Vibracrete Bubble Planter. It has 8 planting pockets of various sizes, and they can custom paint it for you. It’s a real winner. They are manufactured in Cape Town, but I am sure they can be shipped anywhere.
Mirrors can be a powerful tool in a small garden, creating the illusion of space and depth. You can place a large mirror, or a row of mirrors on a wall or fence, or use smaller mirrors strategically placed throughout the garden to create the illusion of multiple spaces. This can add a touch of elegance to your garden and create a sense of tranquility. However, watch out for the sun and any potential direct reflections they might bring about. Keep an eye out in second hand and bric-a-brac stores where you can potentially find some hidden gems. It is a good idea to treat wooden frames with oils to prolong their life.
A focal point can be anything that draws the eye and creates a sense of interest in your garden. It can be a water feature, a sculpture or a particularly beautiful or interesting plant. By creating a focal point, you can give your garden a sense of purpose and make it feel more complete.
Colours are powerful tools in garden design, and can be used to create a sense of depth and perspective. By using lighter colours in the foreground, and darker colours in the background, you can create a sense of distance that can make your garden feel bigger than it actually is. Plants with bright flowers such as the reds, oranges and yellows create a visual burst that makes the garden feel bigger and more inviting.
Murals are master craft. A well- considered mural can magically change any space, indoors and out. As some of us lack a view out in our gardens, the effects can be astounding. You could be on a mountaintop looking down into a valley far below, or on the edge of a sunflower field. Painting a window with a view through it will give you the feeling of being inside a room while looking out. There are many ways to trick the brain with murals.
Outdoor lighting can be a great way to extend the use of your small garden into the evening hours. You can use string lights, lanterns or even solar powered lighting to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Lighting can also be used to highlight certain areas of your garden creating a sense of drama and depth.
Seating & Spaces
Seating is a must have in any garden, and in a small garden it can be very important. By putting some seating into your garden design, you can create a relaxing and inviting space where one can sit and enjoy the beautiful surrounds – whether it be a place for privacy, or a place to entertain, or even for the kids to play and be safe. You can use a bench, chairs, stumps or even a hammock to create that comfortable space where you can relax, read a book, meditate or just soak up some Vitamin D.
Keep it tidy
Small gardens can look cluttered and messy if they are not maintained and kept tidy. An out of place watering can will break the visual flow and harmony of your garden. Keep flowers deadheaded and trimmed back, remove weeds, and tend and water your lawn regularly.
So, start planning your small garden today and get ready to enjoy spring – not long to go now – and more of the beauty nature will bring.