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Gardening in small spaces

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Even if your plot is no bigger than a few square metres it should be possible to develop a small charming garden. The design challenge is to utilise all space to create tantalizing glimpses of what appears to be a larger than life.

  • Develop a sense of space by including a patio area to place seating and dining furniture. Be careful not to make this area too congested with furniture, use planters wisely to add some colour.
  • Use devices to create a sense of space or perspective, for example arches, screen might indicate more depth. A pathway which leads to a focal point be it a plant, a statue or a birdbath will provide more perspective. Similarly a large mirror will help create an illusion of more plants and a larger garden. Be sure to frame the mirror with planting, this way it the edges will be well camouflaged and difficult to see.
  • A very useful way to create a sense of depth is to position taller plants at front of garden and use diminishing heights to smaller plants at rear. Alternatively try distorting perspective, make the lawn wider at front than at the back.
  • Use scale wisely, do not distort the overall design by using plants or features which are very big and perhaps out of scale, instead use one two as focal points. This way you’re likely to be more effective than using lots of small indistinct shrubs. 
  • Try incorporating features in amongst plants, a half concealed sculpture can create plenty of interest.
  • Avoid using shrubs which are too big and overpowering, select plants and shrubs with a sense of scale and balance. In smaller gardens it is much more important that the garden looks lush all year round, so it might be wiser to select shrubs which are evergreen and supplement this layout with bulbs and herbaceous planting for seasonal highlights.

The author is a leading Garden Designer and Landscaper based in Dublin, Ireland. Many of his ideas and advice have been tried and tested through many years of professional experience as owner manager of a well established and award winning garden design and landscaping company which provides Private and Commercial clients a complete landscaping service including Garden Design, Construction & Planting.

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