Seven big ideas for tiny plots

Make the most of your space with Kay Maguire’s seven ways to give a small patch the wow fac­tor

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Even the small­est gar­den can be gor­geous − you just have to be clever with the space avail­able. Here we share seven tricks of the trade used by gar­den de­sign­ers to make a plot feel big­ger than it re­ally is. Not only do they give the il­lu­sion of more space, they also help you fit more in, so al­though your gar­den may be small, your gar­den­ing am­bi­tions should have no lim­its.

Break up the space

It might seem odd to di­vide a small space into even smaller ar­eas, but it is a clas­sic trick de­sign­ers use to make an area look and feel big­ger. Not be­ing able to see the whole gar­den at once makes it dif­fi­cult to quan­tify a space, and hid­ing even just a cor­ner from view with a clev­erly placed con­tainer or large shrub is enough to make us want to see more, and be­lieve that there is some­thing else to come, just out of sight.

Make seat­ing more use­ful

Hav­ing some­where to sit and re­lax in the gar­den is a vi­tal fea­ture for most of us, but when space is lack­ing even the fur­ni­ture needs to mul­ti­task. Use benches or box seat­ing that can dou­ble up as tool stor­age or a space to keep chil­dren’s toys. Or make the edges to raised beds high enough and wide enough so they can also be com­fort­able spots to perch – add cush­ions to com­plete your seat.

Blur the bound­aries

Used well, the walls and fences around your gar­den can trans­form the way it looks and how big it feels. Paint­ing or stain­ing them in darker colours, such as black, navy or grey, makes a space feel big­ger by cre­at­ing a sense of depth. It will help the bound­aries to re­cede and blend in with the world be­yond your gar­den, mak­ing them ap­pear fur­ther away than they re­ally are.

Re­flect the light

A well-placed mir­ror will make your space feel big­ger and brighter in­stantly. Help it blend in by plant­ing around the base and edges, and an­gle it so that it re­flects plant­ing or a wa­ter fea­ture rather than a wall or path. Opt for an aged or mot­tled mir­ror that will cre­ate less dis­tinct re­flec­tions, giv­ing the il­lu­sion of space but avoid­ing the risk of birds fly­ing into it. Choose a mir­ror where the glass is par­tially ob­scured to fur­ther re­duce the risk.

Look up

Us­ing height in a small space leads the eye up­wards and helps to ex­pand our view of the gar­den and make it feel larger. In a small gar­den, the temp­ta­tion is to re­strict your­self to small plants, but this can make the gar­den feel clut­tered. A strate­gi­cally placed tree or tall shrub, obelisk, statue or struc­ture such as an arch will help to break up a space into dif­fer­ent ar­eas to make it feel big­ger.

Grow up walls

Cloth­ing ver­ti­cal spa­ces, such as walls and fences, in plants will in­crease your grow­ing area with­out tak­ing up too much space on the ground. They will also help soften hard edges, blend­ing them with the sur­round­ings. Climbers are the eas­i­est way to do this, with trel­lis or hor­i­zon­tal wires stretched across your wall or fence to train them onto. A scented climber, such as this star jas­mine, is within sniff­ing dis­tance next to a seat.

Plant in nooks

Mak­ing the most of ev­ery inch of space is key when your gar­den is small and al­though it may not be ob­vi­ous, there is grow­ing space ev­ery­where. Choose plants that can cope with the dry or shady con­di­tions be­neath your seat­ing or within the cracks in paving and walls, or cre­ate plant­ing space in un­usual places by us­ing the changes of level in-be­tween the steps up to a deck.

gar­den­er­ April 2018

April 2018 gar­den­er­

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