Sunday, 20 June 2010

Small Garden Design

If you’ve got a very small garden it doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful outdoor space. I’ve seen many dismal small back gardens that are featureless and neglected because people cannot see their potential, or simply don’t know what to do with them. Even the tiniest space can be a garden and a cleverly designed small garden can look amazing. The key is to make use of the vertical space. Here are my tips for making use of every inch of space:-

1. Walls: if you’re lucky enough to have a walled garden you’ve got an immediate advantage. Attach some wall mounted troughs – use lightweight fibreglass versions, there are some really good quality ones available these days. Plant the troughs with a mixture of plants to give you year round colour. Installing a micro irrigation system is easier than it sounds and will ensure your planters remain healthy even when you’re away.

2. Trellis: use trellis clothed in a mixture of ivies, clematis, climbing roses and jasmine for a display of colour and scent throughout the seasons. If you have no borders, use floor mounted troughs and back with trellis.

3. Fences: hang baskets and troughs from fence posts, you can even mount troughs along the tops of fence panels, but make sure they’re well secured. Plant climbers and support with wires or trellis.

4. Wall shrubs: some shrubs do best when secured to a wall or fence, such as Garrya elliptica, Fatshedera lizeii and Itea illicifolia.

5. Uprights: dig a hole 600mm deep and 300mm square, place a 100mm square 3m long post in the hole and mortar in place with some Postcrete. You now have a 2.4m high hanger for pots and baskets. Place more than one in a line and you have the makings of a vertical garden even if you have no fences or walls. You can use this method to create a really interesting divider, single rail pergola, or the back of a built in seat.

6. Dual purpose features: a built in bench seat can have storage underneath and a planter along the top of its seat back – so, actually that’s triple purpose. If you think carefully you can make all garden elements work harder.

7. Plants: be highly selective with plants. Make sure that plants are either evergreen or long flowering (preferably scented) and if possible both. Plants that don’t perform must be ruthlessly culled – all plants count, there’s no room for nursing stragglers.

Need more ideas for designing a small garden? Have a look at this previous post that gives tips on how to make a small garden seem bigger.

If you need help designing your garden get in touch all contact details are on my Web site.

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