Some top tips for small gar­den de­sign

South Waikato News - - Property - NZ GAR­DENER

The hard­est part of de­sign­ing a small gar­den is not what you put in, but what you leave out.

Put to­gether a wish list... then prune it back. Hard.

Think care­fully about your pri­or­i­ties, both from a func­tional and aes­thetic point of view, and work out which items can be sac­ri­ficed or changed. Per­haps the lap pool could be re­placed with a spa pool? And does that fancy foun­tain you cov­eted so much at the gar­den cen­tre re­ally work with the Ja­panese theme you’ve cho­sen, or would a small wa­ter bowl be a bet­ter op­tion?

Suc­cess­ful small gar­dens are all about sim­plic­ity, bal­ance and unity, with each el­e­ment com­ple­ment­ing the other.

This works on ev­ery level from con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als to paint colours, plant choices and the shape of ma­jor el­e­ments such as lawns, decks and paving ar­eas.

When ev­ery square cen­time­tre counts, you have to be ex­tra clever with your de­sign. Built-in fur­ni­ture will save space and seat­ing can dou­ble as stor­age for tools and pots. Broaden the cap­ping on raised beds and deck treads so they can also be used as seat­ing; and widen that shell path so it can be put into play as a com­pact pe´ tanque court.

Think of the fu­ture too. If you’re putting in a sand­pit for your tod­dlers, lo­cate it in a sunny cor­ner so that it can be con­ve­niently con­verted into a raised bed or a for­mal wa­ter fea­ture when they’re older. Build a play­house with a high enough stud to use as a pot­ting shed or a stu­dio in years to come.

Rep­e­ti­tion is an ex­cel­lent de­sign de­vice to use to re­in­force the sense of con­ti­nu­ity be­tween, say, a town­house and its tiny back­yard. This idea can be ap­plied in a num­ber of ways, such as re­peat­ing the con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als and colour choices of your win­dow join­ery with a per­gola or out­door seat­ing.

Even mi­nor el­e­ments, such as pat­terned cush­ion fab­rics or a col­lec­tion of glazed pots, can pro­vide a link be­tween in­doors and out. This also ap­plies to small apart­ment bal­conies and roof gar­dens that are very closely con­nected spa­tially to the in­te­rior rooms.

Also, try to match the scale of a small gar­den’s ma­jor el­e­ments with the main rooms in­side. This ap­plies to the size of decks, paved ter­races and lawns as well as the heights of ver­ti­cal struc­tures such as per­go­las.

For more tips find a copy of NZ Gar­dener.

Land­scape De­sign Project pro­posed for the 2016 Pow­erco Taranaki Gar­den Spec­tac­u­lar.

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