For some people, any size garden is too small, but when you genuinely have a garden the size of a stamp, you need some imagination to make the best use of the space. Maximising the room you have in your garden can be achieved in a few easy steps, and you can easily go from neighbour shame to an outdoor oasis.
When you have limited space, you have none to waste. Therefore, you need to get rid of the items taking up room but adding little value. Filling up the floor space with different pots and a massive variety of plants will make any garden look smaller.
You have to be brutal. When making room, remove anything and everything that doesn’t bring you pleasure. If you feel very little reaction to your garden items, they should be good. It is all about maximising your pleasure in what you can have in the garden.
Too often design our gardens along the ground and forget the walls, fences, and places where things can hang. Using the vertical spaces in your garden allows you to maximise every inch. A really good tip is to put a trellis against a wall and then hang pots from the trellis. Equally, if there are natural holes in the wall, you can fill these with soil and some hardy alpines to make it a feature.
Using hanging baskets is also a top idea, as are taller planting boxes that go up in layers. Generally, the idea is to think up and not across, leaving as much illusion of space on the ground as possible. A tiered garden works here, too, as you can build other functionality into the space. For instance, the first layer could be seating, followed by a bedding layer and another layer to offer privacy, all along one wall.
Containers give you a lot of freedom in your garden. Having borders and beds fixes your garden to a single design and can leave you feeling dissatisfied and closed in. Containers can be clumped together to create your desired effect and moved when you get bored. One tip for making this work in a small garden is to create a theme in the organisation of the pots. The more you can design zones in your garden, the better, as it will appear as if there is an order for the eye to follow rather than clutter.
Paving not lawn
When you have a lawn, you want it to be big enough that it makes the hassle of mowing worthwhile. Also, there is room for something other than grass in your garden. Consequently, if your garden is small, you can opt for paving instead. The lines in the paving allow you to perceive length, too, as the eye follows this to the bottom of the garden. Alternatively, you can use slabs to make interesting patterns and designs.
While laying paving is relatively challenging, you can get a similar courtyard effect with bound gravel. This material is much easier to put down and is great if you want to create a Mediterranean effect in the garden.
Like in a small room in your house where a mirror helps create space, reflective materials in your small garden can help too. Shiny pots or some glass will reflect the greenery and give a sense that the garden has more depth than it has.
Reflective materials also reflect light and make a small shaded garden feel roomier.
Outside and inside room
Merging the inside of your house with the outside can make the garden feel bigger. Having some french doors that slide open can extend a living area out into your garden. You can also bring some of the gardens indoors by having plants in this section of your home.
You can make your garden feel bigger doing this, but you can also help give the feeling that your garden is an extra room in your home. People often choose to eat in the garden or sit out with friends, which is more comfortable when it feels like you are still connected to the house.
Cool tones are better
Warm colours such as reds, oranges, and yellow can make a garden feel smaller, and they ping out into the space and feel like they take up a lot more room. While these are great colours for the Spanish courtyard feel, you might be claustrophobic. Therefore, going for blues and purples will help push the plants back and give a sense of space.
Much of what you need to do in a small garden is illusionary. You need to give the impression of space with your use of colour, lines, and height. The more you fill up the floor space, the smaller that garden will feel. So, making a small number of powerful choices will have the best effect.