Let’s start at the very beginning
According to the BBC, the average British garden is 90 square metres but many are a lot smaller and require a more compact design to take full advantage of your outdoor space. Before going full steam ahead with your garden project, first decide what you want from your garden. A pretty flowery extravaganza? A vegetable patch for delicious home-grown produce? An alfresco dining room? An easy to maintain sun trap? A child-friendly play area? Whatever you decide, a landscaping company can help you to achieve the perfect design for your small garden, but here are some tips to get you started:
With a small space it is advisable to have one material covering the ground; this will guarantee a sense of flow. Instead of having patches of grass, bits of decking and a patio area, pick one, otherwise your small garden could risk looking cluttered. There are many options, such as;
- Grass is the obvious ‘garden’ choice and is also useful if you have children as it provides the ideal foundation for many types of outdoor toys. However it can be hard to maintain; mowing, watering and fertilising can be time consuming as well as costly. Synthetic grass has been a popular choice in recent years as it removes the maintenance aspect of having a grass garden.
- Paving slabs to create a patio will provide a minimal effort garden. However, if you choose to turn your entire garden into a patio area, there will be no room for flower beds or shrubbery. Potted plans (think palm trees and bright flowers) will add an exotic atmosphere, and will be easier to look after if you’re not a get-your-hands-muddy kind of person!
- Decking looks sleek and stylish and will automatically update your small garden. It is ideal for entertaining friends and family, and the option of two-tier decking can help your small garden have multiple areas without it look cramped. Decking can get very slippery so is not the ideal choice for those with children
Focus on a garden feature
A small garden doesn’t mean a boring garden but it is advisable to stick to one main feature to make sure your garden doesn’t feel overcrowded. Again, consider what it is you want from your garden and work from there. You could go for any of the following:
- Vegetable patch: it is an urban myth that you need acres of sprawling fields to cultivate a few carrots, you can do just that in any garden. Wooden boards embedded into soil will provide a defined area to grow your veg. Or alternatively you could grow your produce with flowers in a raised bed – pretty and practical! Timber containers will give a natural look, but there are many types available.
- Children’s play area: think fun rather than ornamental, a sturdy climbing frame or a swing set is sure to have your kids smiling. This type of practical garden is great for those after low maintenance too.
- Flower beds: inject your small garden with a burst of colour by having a landscaped flowerbed. This will look beautiful when they flower, but remember the upkeep involved in keeping your flowers looking pristine.
- Pond: they’re not only eye-catching, but can attract an array of wildlife to your garden, as well as being the main feature of your garden. Koi ponds are particularly popular, although involve a lot of maintenance and expenditure, so aren’t for everyone. Those with young children should avoid having a pond.
- BBQ: If in the summer months you love to eat al fresco, why not invest in a BBQ and cook outside too? Along with an outside dining table and chairs, a BBQ is a great feature when having friends and family over for dinner parties. Al fresco dining is decadent and delicious, just remember the citronella candles to keep the mozzies away!
Decide the details
Once the basis of your small garden is formed, it’s time to think about the details. In smaller gardens every detail counts because they will be all the more noticeable, so it is worth carefully considering. The following details can help to personalise your garden and tie it all together:
- Garden lighting: decent garden lighting means you can use your small garden 24/7 and on a balmy summer night there is nothing better than sitting amidst nature with a nice glass of wine. Be it fairy lights strung through a tree or a few decorative candles, soft garden lighting will prolong the hours your garden is in use as well as add an air of romanticism.
- Garden ornaments: Whilst the iconic garden gnome may not be to everyone’s taste, it certainly offers up a bit of classic garden charm. And if the gnome is not for you, there are many other types of garden ornaments such as modern sculptures and even wall art.
- Soft furnishings for the garden: Decorative cushions can be a great addition to garden loungers and brighten up dining chairs. Just remember to bring them inside during bad weather.
- Bird tables: Bring your garden alive and attract birds with a bird table or feeder. Remember to keep it stocked with yummy treats to keep them coming back.