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I?m a firm believer that there?s a gardener in everyone. Sadly, we often don?t have the space to make all our dreams come true. Fortunately, there?s more to a great garden than size and if you?re willing to put the work in, there are plenty of options available and while the end result may not be exactly what you had in mind if you like to dream big, you?ll still be proud of your work.
If You Can?t Go Outwards, Go Upwards
You probably judge the size of your garden by its area. What you can see when you look out of the back door is what you get, and your plans will evolve accordingly. However, many gardeners overlook the fact that while you might want a larger surface, there?s nothing stopping you from working upwards.
Okay, so there are some considerations to be made ? if you get to a stage where you?re interfering with the light of your neighbours, you may have gone a bit too far. However, there is no harm at all in taking that into account when you develop your grand plans.
First up, take note of the rising space you already have available. Fences and walls are always ripe for inspiration, and the chances are that they won?t be going anywhere soon. Your ambitions don?t have to be quite as permanent either. Bamboo screens, trellises and all sorts of other upwardly mobile garden fixtures can serve as a fantastic base for plants and flowers.
If you want to break from convention, something I always liked to use when short of small garden ideas was wooden pallets. They?re pretty ugly, but they serve as the perfect base for inspiration, especially when you attach them to the existing walls.
Divide Up Your Space
The whole point here is that you do not have all that much space to work with. Dividing it up even smaller may be the last thing on your mind, but it can lead to fantastic results. You can even combine this tip with the first ? use your choice of bamboo walls, trellises or any other kind of barrier to set up sections and then work on them individually.
You could dedicate one area to garden seating, another to a small grassy area and yet another to things you like to grow. Of course, there are no limits, and the idea of focusing on an even smaller space can make your garden feel much bigger than it actually is.
Position Your Paving in a Diamond Formation
When I think of paving slabs and their arrangement in the typical garden, a fairly uniform setup comes to mind. They are straight and rather uninspiring. Of course, that is what they were designed for, so I can?t have any complaints.
However, this uniform nature is not exactly great in smaller gardens. If we?re talking about really small gardens, then just a couple of rows of paving slabs might take up a significant amount of space. However, you can use a paved area to create an illusion.
Much as fashion blogs recommend that you wear vertical stripes to look thinner, you can make your garden appear more spacious through the use of diagonal lines with your slabs. If you lay them point to point and make a path or trail, the brain assumes that the trail leads somewhere ? preferably somewhere far away to make your garden feel like a journey.
Don?t ignore the colours either. You?ll often find that lighter slabs work better in smaller gardens as they tend to reflect the light better.
Don?t Underestimate the Importance of Trees to your Small Garden Ideas
Trees take up a lot of space and so they?re probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you?re on the lookout for small garden ideas. However, they pull off a visual trick of their own. The mind knows that trees are big. If it sees one, even in a smaller space, the fact that the space in question can accommodate a tree means it must be a decent size.
You can?t overlook the regular benefits of trees either. Optical illusions aside, they are great to increase privacy and they will add some of that much-needed height we mentioned in the first tip to your garden. Just remember to keep them trimmed, as a large tree in a small space can often overwhelm everything around it.
Remember that even Small Gardens should be Light and Airy
Light and bright colours can often combine to make smaller spaces look far more potent than they actually are. In the mind?s eye, lighter usually means bigger. You can?t reposition the sun, and you probably don?t want to rotate your house so the garden gets the most light. However, you can achieve the same kind of effect through a focus on lighter colours.
As noted, lighter-coloured slabs play a great part in small garden ideas for this reason. However, there is no reason to stop there. Whatever you go with in the garden, be that plants, flowers, ornaments or anything else, always try to use bright colours that add to the spacious feel.
Bright yellow flowers are a great idea if you want to increase the perception of space. However, you should try to steer clear of darker yellows and reds as while they can resonate, they tend to make for a cosy atmosphere. Cooler colours can be a great complement, with purple and blue often tricking the mind into feeling like any given space is larger than it actually is.
Small Garden Ideas Benefit Hugely from Small Animals
Any additional life in the garden will always lead to great results and it is not difficult to make your garden attractive to the local wildlife. If there are some critters you love and others you can?t stand, tailor what you put into the garden to attract those you like the most. If you can?t stand birds but love bees, ditch the bird bath and go for pollinating flowers instead ? or vice versa.
Position your Garden Furniture to Enhance the Visual
It goes without saying that if your space is limited, you have to be particularly selective with your garden furniture. At the same time, there is no point in putting in all this work towards small garden ideas, design and maintenance, if you don?t have a comfortable space in which to sit back and enjoy your handiwork.
As a general rule, go with smaller versions of whatever comes to mind. If all you need is seating, skip past the picnic benches and 10-seater garden sets in favour of a bistro set. The less space you can take up with the furniture, the more will be left to achieve the illusion of a larger garden.
Pots Have a Place
Ideally, even a smaller garden will have enough grass and soil to meet your requirements. If you like to grow plants or herbs and you live somewhere that the climate is acceptable, you?ll always prefer to plant outside. However, if your space is limited, you should not be against the ideas of pots and planters.
The best part is that the sky is the limit when it comes to pot designs. If you?ve selected a plant because you love the way it looks, you can set the style and colours off even further with a complementary pot, and you don?t need to devote the natural soil to it. From there, you are free to position your pot wherever makes the most sense.
The Best Small Garden Ideas are the Most Interesting and Unique
Space may be a concern, but that does not mean you need to miss out on the more interesting elements of garden design. As long as you stick with the options that are the most appropriate for your space, there is nothing to say you cannot explore water features, lighting and other options that are traditionally reserved for larger gardens.
Indeed, a water feature is among my favourite additions. Make sure you go with one with its own pump and you won?t need any more space than that taken up by the unit itself. For lighting, just a single freestanding light positioned correctly can cast the right shadows and add to the illusion of space.
Make your Garden Private
The reasons to make a garden appear larger than it is are largely down to you. It might only be for your personal benefit, or you may wish to impress visitors. When you come up with your small garden ideas, factor privacy in. If you can?t see what?s going on next door ? and they can?t see you ? it is easier to take the garden at face value.
Ensure that you?ve made enough use of the first tip, where we cover growing upwards rather than outwards, to make your garden feel like its own enclosed space. That way, you are in full control of perspective and perception, and you can make any necessary tweaks for the small garden of your dreams.
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