Make the Most of Your Space
Create a Window on the World
A garden without a view can seem too confining and insular so consider how your garden might connect to the surrounding landscape. If your garden is enclosed by high walls or fences, think about creating openings in them to give views onto the world outside. This is also a really effective way of framing and enhancing a view. Inside the garden, establish some areas with low-growing plants to create a more open aspect.
Openings can also give an impression of greater space in a tiny garden.
If your view is blocked or unattractive, focus on creating a private oasis. You can create a greater sense of space using garden mirrors, trompe l’oeil or false doors that hint at something beyond the visible.
You can give your garden a greater sense of space by planting shrubs at the end. This will disguise the length of a short plot by obscuring the boundary and merging into the plants of the neighbouring garden.
Other garden ‘defects’ can also benefit from this trick. If you have a difficult corner, disguise it by planting a large, bushy evergreen there. Make a feature of a narrow spot by using foliage on both sides to create a leafy entry that opens out dramatically into another part of the garden. Undulating, organic border edges can also help to convey a greater sense of space.
Change the Perspective
Thinking about the way visitors will experience the garden can help you to identify ways in which you might be able to shift their perspective, to overcome any flaws in the garden. For example, without careful planning, a long, thin garden may feel rather more like a corridor. However, we can reduce this effect by avoiding anything that encourages the eye to focus on the far end of the garden.Similar,y avoid a long straight path running down the whole length of the garden. Instead, use stepping stones in a curved line or bring side borders right out half way down the garden, so that there is a sense of mystery about lies beyond.
Interrupt a long, straight view by creating interest with hedges, mixed borders with contrasting heights, small trees or a summerhouse surrounded by shrubs and flowers.
Try creating various levels – each higher than the last – running a winding pathway from one side of the garden to the other, and softening parallel walls with climbing plants.
Consider Planting a Row of Trees
In larger gardens, an avenue of trees is an attractive way to line a path or driveway. A row of trees can also be used to highlight a view or direct the eye towards a focal point, such as the entrance to the house, a pool or other attractive feature.
A line of trees is often most effective when created with a single species. Before making your choice, research the height and spread of each of your choices carefully and think about the effect they will create around the year. Evergreen trees will look attractive in every season, but the ghostly white skeletons of Betula Jacquemontii can make striking sentinels throughout the winter, whilst creating a very different look when in full leaf.
Use Levels to Create Space
In a very small garden, different levels not only add interest, they also give you more space for planting. Don’t let a lawn take up the centre of your garden – instead, create terraced levels, if your site is suitable. Steps and low walls add extra interest to your design, providing a perfect backdrop for a collection of container. Low walls also look wonderful with attractive rockery plants spilling over their side.
Hide an Area From View
A concealed area can provide space for cars or dustbins without spoiling the effect of your garden design. A hedge, fence or trellis can be used to create the screen.
Enlarge Your Garden With Water
Even a small water feature can make a garden seem larger, as water has the same reflecting and lightening effects as a mirror. If you have a small garden, site the water feature in the foreground, make it long rather than wide, and angle it towards the length of the garden. In a larger garden, there may be space for a pond, rills or even a natural swimming pool.
Creating an Illusion of Depth
A garden mirror framed with dense foliage can be a very effective way of creating a greater sense of length or width, depending which is required. Position the mirror in a shady spot where it will not catch the sun and give off a blinding glare. You can also put a mirror on the banks of a pond to make the water seem wider and deeper.
Another way to create a sense of greater depth and length is to make the pool narrower as it recedes from view.
The pathways through a garden are an important element of the design. In a large garden they connect different areas together, creating a sense of cohesion, a sense that everything belongs together. In a small garden, a curving or zigzag path can add an important element of extra interest. Soften hard corners with low growing shrubs or perennials that will also create connection between the soft landscaping and hard landscaping.