…But perfectly formed

Garden designer Kirsty McLean shares how to make the most of small spaces…

Here are some tips for designing small garden spaces:

Start with a plan:
Before starting the design process, it’s important to have a plan in place. Think about how you want to use your garden space, where the sun falls, privacy issues etc.  Even in small spaces, zoning can optimise use and can also be used to create division toward better privacy and greater interest. Think about casual seating, dining, solo contemplation, play and utility.  Division can be achieved in so many ways using containers or planting, wooden panels, trellis, slats, solid fence, or decorative metal panels.

Choose the right plants:
When designing a small garden space, it’s important to future-proof your planting by choosing plants that are appropriate for the size of the space. You need to understand what their height and spread will be at maturity. Look for plants that are compact and can be trained to grow vertically, such as climbing plants, dwarf trees, and compact shrubs. If in a sheltered spot, using plants with a jumbo leaf that look almost too big for the space, can create a luscious, vibrant feel, and make the space feel intimate and private.

Create different levels:
To make the most of a small garden space, create different levels by using raised beds, containers, or retaining walls. The materials chosen can really
pull a design together. Consider brick, block with stone veneer or wooden pressure-treated sleepers. This will not only add visual interest but also allow you to ‘layer’ your planting.

Use vertical space:
Make the most of your small garden space by using vertical space. Hang plants from walls, add trellises or support wires for climbing plants, or use tall planters to add height to the garden.

Create a focal point:
A small garden space can benefit from a focal point, such as a water feature, sculpture, or a striking plant. This will draw the eye and create a sense of interest in the space.

Think about lighting:
Lighting can transform a small garden space at night. Add outdoor lighting to highlight focal points, pathways, and seating areas. Solar-powered lights are a budget-friendly and eco-friendly option, but don’t expect too much out of these in the winter months.

Add seating:
A small garden space can be the perfect spot for relaxing and enjoying nature. Add seating in the form of a small patio, bench, or chairs to create a cosy and inviting atmosphere. Use retaining walls to double up as seating. Round tables in square spaces allow the maximum dining capacity and soften angular shapes.

Designing a small garden space can be a fun and rewarding project. By following these tips, you can create a beautiful and functional garden that is perfect for your lifestyle and needs. 

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