MAKING THE MOST OF A SMALL GARDEN

Making the most of a small garden

For those of us who are living the city life it’s difficult to find a property with any outside space, let alone a garden. But if you’re one of those lucky ones who have found themselves with a small space outside, there are some tips and tricks that you can adopt which will make even the smallest of spaces seem like a green haven.

To begin with, it’s important not to overfill your garden. Spend some time researching plants at your local garden centre and make sure you choose something suitable for the space available. As lovely as a wide, tall plant might look in the shop, if your space is limited them it will end up dominating the whole garden, making it feel closed in and compact. If you are adamant on buying a particularly large plant then introducing mirrors could be an effective solution as they help to give the illusion of space where there is none. BUT make sure the mirrors reflect something colourful to really maximise their impact!

If your goal is low-maintenance, or creating a practical area for the children to play, then paving could be the answer. Believe it or not, laying large tiles can have a unifying effect, making your garden feel less claustrophobic for visitors. Go for light coloured paving to brighten up your garden, something which is even more crucial if it doesn't get much sunlight. Another option is to try linear, rectangular tiles that give the illusion of a much longer garden as it draws the eye into the distance. This minimalist, modern garden is perfect for busy city dwellers, but for maximum ease of maintenance make sure the paving you choose is resistant to common factors in our great British climate, such as moss and algae.

For those of you who are more adventurous it’s time to think ‘vertically’. Fences can be very dull so why not give them a dual function – adding greenery or event a spot of colour with some clever planting can change a boring brown fence into a feature wall for your garden! Vertical gardens create the feeling of being surrounded by nature and will direct the eye upwards towards the sky and the open space rather than drawing attention to the small footprint of your garden. If you are feeling extra ambitious then why not add in some grow-your-own vine plants against a trellis, such as cucumber or squash.

Finally, with the British winter upon us your garden may start to feel neglected but if you are a keen entertainer then this space should not go to waste. Why not introduce some subtle lighting, maybe highlighting a particular plant or the garden boundaries, as this will give a feeling of depth. Good lighting can also add to the ambience with a sense of warmth and welcome, a feeling which will continue into your property because a well-lit garden makes for a great view. Most importantly though, this lighting is practical and will allow you to make the most of your space, all year round and well into the early hours of the morning. For something slightly more extravagant, a hot tub or alfresco dining area will add a sense of luxury, or for those with less budget flexibility a fire put or chiminea will finish the look perfectly.