9 tips to create paradise in a small garden
Phyllis, September 2015
The trends towards smaller housing blocks and townhouses also means smaller gardens with less privacy and sometimes surrounded by high walls. But there is a lot of scope in a courtyard to create an intimate paradise. Best of all, with less space to fill, there’s more money to spend on quality rather than quantity. Add width to a narrow garden by using the same paving material right across the space. Light coloured gravel or pavers will create an illusion of spaciousness as well as brightening a shady area. [caption id="attachment_2468" align="alignnone" width="690"] Image courtesy of Blue Poppy Photography[/caption] Soften walls with climbers that will also act as natural cooling. Climbing plants also reduce the sense of height in tall walls as they connect to lower plants around the edges of the garden. Another option is to use a tall object such as a water feature or planters in the middle of the space to draw the eye away from the height of the surrounding structures. Keep clutter minimal with a simple design. Less ‘‘stuff’’ in the form of plants or furnishings will create a spacious atmosphere that will also make it a more relaxed space to spend time in. Go for a clean, minimalist look that matches the surrounding architecture. Block plantings of two or three plants will also minimise the appearance of clutter. Try sticking with similar shapes in built features such as benches, outdoor fireplaces and water features. If you have a square firepit, don’t be tempted to put in curved benches around it. Get the picture? [caption id="attachment_2470" align="alignleft" width="690"] Image provided by elementsaustralia.com.au[/caption] If you don’t want to grow vines on garden walls or fences, use them as a backdrop for other objects such as tall pots with sculptural plants. This is truly where the benefits of a small garden become apparent. With less quantity to buy, you can afford to indulge in some truly beautiful pots and sculptural plants that will leave that wall well and truly in the background as they draw the eye with their sheer decadence. Another indulgence could be to place striking timber panels or laser cut metal ones on the wall. Something the average large garden owner can only afford to dream about. Make sure there is a balance between the house and the garden. A grand house doesn’t need a similarly ornate garden and vice versa. Allow one to act as a foil for the other. Create illusions that will draw the eye away from the boundaries of the space. Extend a timber deck so that it curves up to the top of the fence of wall, or use mirrors or doors to give the illusion of more space. [caption id="attachment_2469" align="alignleft" width="690"] Image courtesy of Blue Poppy Photography[/caption] Connect the indoors and outdoors so that they become one large area. If the house has a timber floor that opens onto a deck of the same type of timber the garden. When the doors are open, the area becomes one lovely big space. Narrow side gardens are an often neglected area of the yard, but in a small area, every square metre counts. Informal paving and planting can draw attention from the surrounding walls and fences and create a hidden retreat. Read this story for more tips on how to create your own tiny oasis.