Even the smallest outdoor space can be turned into a colourful, character-filled garden paradise. Don't let limited size clip your creative wings: there are plenty of easy tips and tricks to turn even a tiny yard into a bijou gem.
Words by Natasha Were.
Rather than letting walls, fences and garages make you feel boxed in, use them to your advantage: these are blank canvasses for you to decorate. Grow vines or creepers up unsightly expanses of concrete, or create a living wall by hanging old pallets and filling them with edible herbs and plants.
Use the height to draw the eye upwards: hanging baskets and window boxes are an easy way to add colour above ground level and thus distract from the small footprint of the space.
Create different zones using bamboo screens, trellises or walls of foliage: this prevents the eye from taking in the whole space at once, and thus gives the illusion of being larger. Create hammock hideaways, reading nooks, herb gardens or separate seating areas, depending on your needs.
A lawn is simply not practical in a small space. Better to go for a low-maintenance option like sand, gravel or pavers. Opt for light coloured slabs, and watch how you lay them: square paving can make a space feel smaller, whereas laying them diagonally making diamond patterns, creates the illusion of more space. For a topsy-turvy, higgledy-piggledy effect, use different size slabs and broken pieces while sticking to the diagonal rule.
To add life and activity to your outdoor space, invite nature in. Placing birdbaths or boxes, feeding stations and roosting pouches will attract birds – which in turn will fill the air with colour, sound and movement. Planting flowers and shrubs for butterflies and bees will similarly bring in insect life. The more living creatures you have in your garden the more natural it will feel.
Avoid cluttering your limited floor space with unnecessary furniture. Keep outdoor furniture to a minimum and look for pieces that serve more than one purpose – like seating that doubles as storage or that can be folded away when not in use.
Where possible, go for slim, low profile pieces rather than big, solid ones. Instead of a garden bench or picnic table, choose a bistro table set: it takes up less space, and doesn’t block sightlines.
Rather than giving up valuable real estate to flowerbeds, put your plants in pots. It makes them easy to re-arrange and swap out, so you can revamp your garden at the drop of a hat. Group pots into clusters or push them to the edges to increase open floor space. There are countless options for containers in terms of size, shape, material and colour so select containers with a certain look or style in mind.
Water features are a wonderful addition to any garden. Not only are they an attractive focal point, but they also create soothing sounds and add movement to the space. What's more, they needn’t involve building and plumbing work – there are endless easy-to-install options, from compact, solar powered fountains to pretty stone ones that use their own reservoir pump.
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