Small garden design – optimising the potential

Small garden design – optimising the potential

In small gardens making use of all available space is essential

An underwhelming water feature is somehow lost in an univiting space

When it comes to designing a small garden, it is important that most if not all the space be utilised productively. Designing isn’t solely concerned with the aesthetics or the style and range of features, plants etc but more importantly with defining a layout which is practical and fulfills the owner’s requirements. Looking nice might be attractive but being practical and attractive is much more appealing.

As is typical of similar sized spaces, design is a function of function and form with the emphasis on the former. In this instance the owners being proud and loving owners of various family pets had reached the conclusion that retraining the lawn area was no longer feasible or desirable. A keen interest in plants as well as growing herbs and vegetables indicated that the preferred design was not only functional and easy to maintain but also a space which looked well and stimulating.

A unique feature of this townhouse garden was that the rear wall was part of an earlier development dating back almost 200 years and all agreed that it was an important element to retain with the new layout. In contrast the boundary walls looked rather bland and these would benefit from some remedial improvements including new rendering.

A key feature of the new design was the construction of new perimeter raised planting beds which defined the extended patio space, provided discreet plant protection from family pets, scope to segregate distinct zones for a water feature, ornamental planting and herbs. For added stimulation a LED lighting scheme featuring uplighters and spike spots would add additional interest at night. Adding features provides visual as well as practical benefits but important to be balanced and avoid risking creating a cluttered space in a small garden. Sweeping curves are generally preferred in most gardens and probably more so in smaller spaces. Varaible gentle curves to the raised beds provid ea more inviting softer appeal and very useful informal seating areas.

The critical objective in designing any small garden is to define the space in a practical but visual interesting way which should provide more space and scope for enjoyment.

Avoiding clutter during construction is a constant challenge

The water feature is repositioned to be of more interest

Preparing planting positions

Plants arrive following construction of raised planted beds

Designing for a harmonious blend of constrasting forms and textures

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