I have a particular love for gardens on the smaller side. There’s something about the atmosphere you can create in these spaces, if I had to put it into words, somewhere between lush and cosy. But on that same note, you don’t want to feel trapped and claustrophobic either. If you happen to be someone with a small garden, here are a few tips to make it seem bigger.
One of the easiest ways to make your small garden seem bigger is to make sure it is not over-crowded with trees and shrubs that choke out the light and space. A simple clean-up – pruning out branches of trees to let in a bit more natural light and replacing plants that are just too big for the space with smaller varieties is probably the quickest way to make a big difference.
Texture and Colour
Making use of different foliage textures and colours can also help. You create foliage textures by placing plants with larger leaves in the foreground and as you move further back in the bed you use finer-textured plants, this way you create a visual illusion of depth. Think of the way objects get smaller, the further you move away from them. Use plants with lighter leaf and flower colours to brighten up the space and create more interest, so that everything doesn’t blend into the same shade of emerald green.
If you can get away with it, using 45° angled lines can make a big difference. Placing a seating area or walkway at that angle emphasises the longest line possible in a space, particularly in square or rectangular gardens, and creates another illusion of more space. If using that sort of angle is not possible in your garden, then emphasising the length of the property is key. Use lines that direct your eye down to a distant area or focal point and then vertical plants or features that then direct your eye upwards. You can also place a mirror at the end of the garden where your eyes have been directed. This has a magical way of making your garden seem larger because the mirror acts like a window you can peer through. Just keep an eye on the birds in your garden to make sure they are not mistaking the mirror for an open space they can fly through and injure themselves.
Another note on clutter in the garden, make sure the furniture used is an appropriate scale for your garden. Keep any stray toys or objects packed away after use, so that they don’t chew up valuable space. Limit your palette of finishes to two or three and use them boldly. Too many different materials and finishes make the space feel cramped and cluttered.
Going vertical is also a great way to get a lush small garden, balcony or courtyard because you can fit a plant in a relatively narrow space and it can disguise those walls that keep looming over you. Here you can use steel or wooden trellises to direct climbing plants upwards, or you can even use hooks or screws/bolts with cable strewn from point to point. This gives you the freedom to go in all different directions, interesting angles and shapes or you can keep it more formal too.
If you have the budget, you can start looking at fancy vertical gardens systems with irrigation systems included. Pots are also a great idea for these spaces and you can even get ones to mount to your walls to save floor space. Again, the scale is key here as to not consume too much space. For balconies, you can use hanging baskets or planters that have hooks to suspend them over the outside edge of your balustrade. A narrow trough planter combined with a trellis and a climbing planter is another super space-conscious way to green up your balcony and small gardens.
These are just a few solutions to make your garden the best it can be. We hope we’ve inspired you to look at your little slice of Eden in a different way. If you would like some more advice or professional assistance you can contact Kerwyn on 064 658 2815 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info, visit the Purple Turtle Concepts and the Guild of Landscape Designers (GoLD) pages on Facebook.
By Kerwyn Fourie, Chairperson of the Guild of Landscape DesignersRead More