How to Make the Most of a Small Garden
By Sadira Sittampalam
Not all of us have large garden spaces for us to renovate, much less enough money to renovate - but there are still plenty of things you can do with a smaller garden space that will ensure that you have a homely atmosphere that is beautiful and functional. Here are a few tips and tricks that will make you make the most of your garden.
If you have any seating areas in your garden already, a nice way to add a functional feature is to add a few shelves behind the seating areas so that you can place plants on it. This can also double as a place to set down a few drinks, especially if you don’t have space for a large table. Getting vases that match the furniture would look great together and make the space feel a lot more uniform.
Most small gardens make the most of a tiny space and that usually means that it will not be of a regular shape. It would likely have lots of weird angles or an extra lump on the end of it that makes it look quite non-uniform and therefore quite an eye sore. In order to solve this problem, you should take your time to try and create a few regular shapes out of it. You can impose a rectangle, square or circle on it by either planting things in those shapes or by creating small paths or features that create these shapes.
Add a tree
Every garden space needs a focal point - a central place that people will look at as they enter your garden. Adding a tree as your focal point is a good option, especially if it is placed in a good-looking container. If you plant it in the back of a small space, it will make the space feel a lot more uniform. A Watha Bhanga – Birdlime tree is a great option as it is easy to cultivate and has a high growth rate, while also being perfect as a shade plant. Alternatively, you can also use a tree to break up the space into two sections, especially if the garden space is an odd shape.
Add seating around your tree
If you end up deciding to plant a tree or two in your garden - or if you already have one - you can elevate this feature of your garden by adding some seating right around it. Not just any seating, you should try and add bench seating that is built right along the tree trunk so that the tree can be beautiful and functional. Using natural material for this bench would be the best option as it would look a lot more cohesive and homey. Alternatively, you can build the small bench around the tree trunk and add small decorative items there instead, such as more plants.
Fences often close up a space and make it feel a lot smaller than it actually is. If you have some nice views from your garden, the best option is to have a small and thin fence so that you can still experience the world outside your garden. You should also position your seating to make the most of these views, especially if you have large water bodies right outside.
With a small garden plot, you might be struggling to find floor space, so the best option is to find this space vertically. This will help your garden feel a lot fuller and a lot brighter. You can add some creepers along the walls or even start adding hanging plants for a more dynamic look. If you decide to cover an entire wall with greenery to create a living wall, it will make the space feel a lot softer, which is a desirable feature for any outdoor space.
Add natural shade to any seating area
If you want to add a seating area to your small garden, one of the best features to include is shade. With the shade you will be a lot more inclined to sit outside more as you won’t be sweltering in the heat. You can achieve this by sectioning off an area of the garden using lots of tall plants or small trees. This will create a nice canopy of greenery that will give you the perfect shaded spot to relax. Adding some garden lighting will elevate this area even more, especially if you plan on hanging out in those areas at night.
Use the sun to your advantage
One of the biggest tips that you can get with any home design practice, is to use natural light in any area that has it. If you have the sun shining in on a certain area of the garden, you should embrace this light and keep any feature that you want to highlight right on it. While you might not want to put a chair there as it will probably be quite uncomfortable for anyone sitting in it, you might consider putting in some plants that love lots of sunlight.
Go for straight lines
If you are looking to make your garden look contemporary, you should make sure that everything is nicely cut into straight lines. While some people prefer curves, it is a lot harder to make this look nice, oftentimes with curves ending up looking rather tacky. If you think that the lines make the garden look too harsh, these lines can always be softened up with lots of plants, which makes everything feel a lot more welcoming.
While this may seem counterintuitive as your garden is probably already quite small, sectioning can actually make your garden feel bigger than it actually is, as there is a sense of intrigue as to what is behind the next section. The best way to section is by using more planting, however, if you are finding it hard to find the space to do so, you can just put in a nice screen, which can divide up the space without taking too much room of its own. You should also have different materials in each section to help create that sense of transition from one area to the other.
Add in a play area
If you have kids, you are most likely going to have them play in the garden and so if you want to keep both the children and the garden in good harmony, you should consider having sections where they can play, which will have some durable plants that won’t mind being harassed by a football every now and then. Alternatively, you can have a raised garden bed for your plants. Moreover, if you can find nice seats that also double as storage for all the toys you’ll be having, that is a huge advantage.