Designing a small garden can pose many challenges. They are often uncomfortable in shape, shady or overlooked and may be difficult to access. However, the design solutions to these problems can be really inspiring and transforming. I always like to design small spaces because I have the potential to really inspire customers. Our construction teams also find this very rewarding. Well thought-out garden design can positively change the way a customer enjoys a small space – it can become a quiet, intimate oasis or a special place to entertain others.
As a professional designer, I know that I have to be able to justify every design decision, and in a small garden there is absolutely no hiding place for the design decisions made. Every detail can be seen and must therefore be considered very carefully. Of course, creating a place of lasting importance – however small it may be – creates the overall appearance of a house and can increase real estate value.
Here are 7 principles for garden design that affect me when I work in a small space:
- Creation of volume and places of the sanctuary in space. Use trees and structures (e.g. pergolas, pavilions, seating) to expand the perception of the room and create defined areas. Place the headquarters area a little away from the house so it is surrounded by plants and feels like a harbor.
- Avoid narrow edges around the edges. If you push planting to the limits of the garden, the lack of space is exacerbated, instead keep an eye on the garden.
- Set priorities. Sculptures, vases, water features, benches – even a hammock – give depth and interest to a small room.
- Be brave with plant decisions. Do not fill the available space with evergreens, which can become depressing when overused. Use model plants and plant them with structural varieties to create a long-lasting seasonal interest. Cover the changing seasons, leave seed heads for the birds, cut back herbaceous plants late and enjoy the emerging growth in spring. Add onions to increase the early color.
- Promotion of wildlife – by planting a number of different flowering plants, building an insect hotel or introducing a bird feeder. A garden can become a work of art if it attracts birds, bees and butterflies.
- Create a feeling of calm with water. No garden is too small for water. You don’t need a pond; Any watertight container (a basin, pot, urn, or stone trough) can be used well.
- Soften the boundary between the house and the garden. Use plant beds along the foundation of the building to create the feeling of being in nature as soon as you go outside.
With all of these design principles, our creative process is of course not about starting a project with a view to the design and making it fit! We always have to know at the beginning how the customer wants to use the garden, what kind of “place feeling” he wants to create and of course what specific possibilities or problems the location offers. All of these factors are taken into account to create bespoke, handcrafted spaces that our customers love. We care for our customers every step of the way and develop our ideas and approach to meet the needs of each project.
Further examples of our garden design – in all sizes! – Search Here.
This article was first published by the British Association of Landscape Industries, of which James is a designer member and The Garden Company is a contractor member. James and his team based in Hertfordshire also work in North London, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Middlesex.
Credit: Rebecca Bernstein
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