Ideas To Make the Most of Your Small Garden
The average size of a garden in the UK is 188 square metres. If you’re fortunate to have a small garden, we’d like to share with you how to make it mighty…
Tom Gadsby of Structured Growth Garden Design spends a day a week at the Malvern Garden Buildings’ showsite in Buckingham advising new garden building owners how to inject the ‘wow’ factor into their gardens. Here, he shares some of the tricks of the trade for transforming gardens with limited space.
Create the Illusion of Space
Keep things simple – a terrace with table and chairs for dining al fresco, a garden office or summer house to extend the garden’s use beyond the warmest months and some key large plants help to soften the boundaries and keep the eye within the space.
Keep Elements to a Minimum
Ask yourself is a small scrap of lawn necessary? If you can do without, you won’t need a lawnmower or somewhere to keep it either. Storage space saved and one fewer chore.
Avoid doing everything on too small a scale. A few large slabs rather than small brick pavers can make a small garden seem bigger. If you do use brick pavers lay them in linear fashion to create a feeling of breadth or length, depending on the direction in which they are laid.
Think Outside your Plot
Your small garden could be ‘an extrovert’ where you borrow from the surrounding landscape. If there are trees beyond the garden plant a tree or two within the space to blur the boundaries and bring the world beyond into your own space.
Celebrate your Space – Whatever its Size
Rather than yearning for what you don’t have create an introverted garden. A small garden can seem cosy and private with all the focus on your own space and a sense that the garden is enfolding you in its embrace.
Small Garden Building Ideas
One of the easiest and most rewarding ways you can increase the value of your home and your enjoyment of it is by landscaping your garden. A garden building can be a worthwhile investment too when it extends the living space.
Corner Garden Studios
Corner designs are perfect for smaller gardens. A garden studio like this one makes a compact home office in the garden with an impressive 180-degree aspect. Look at this set up in the Hanley Corner Studio at the Malvern Garden Buildings’ showsite at Buckingham Garden Centre. Effortlessly turn your office desk into a bed with Studybed in just 3 seconds. This makes the most of your space when you need to make overnight guests feel welcome or for power naps between meetings.
A custom-made Shepherd’s Hut can make a truly unique small garden bolthole. Being the only garden building on wheels they are of course portable. Favoured by a former Prime Minister and a Prince, Shepherd’s huts have grown in popularity for glamping, children’s playrooms and writing retreats. Inside Shepherd’s huts are deceptively spacious with careful planning and modular furniture. Many have stoves fitted to make them cosy and practical for use all year round.
Space and Storage
In urban gardens a useful although often overlooked feature for small garden studio is a side shed. This Studio Pent we designed for Justin Coakley of @design_at_nineteen has an integrated, windowless shed with locking door for safe storage of bikes, garden tools or other equipment. This example just shows how you don’t have to compromise on the aesthetic for practicality. With a footprint of 14ft by 10ft it isn’t the smallest garden structure but positioned at the end of the garden looking back at the house parallel to the boundary fence beckons you out of doors to explore.
Lower Pitch Roof
A traditional summerhouse is a classic choice for a small garden. This bespoke Hopton has a lower pitch roof so it can sit closer to the boundary and save on valuable garden space. It creates the perfect spot to take in your garden and soak up the sun through the Georgian windows.
A little Oasis Breeze House has a tiny circular footprint of 194cm in diameter. That’s roughly the same size as an open garden parasol. The advantages of devoting some space in your plot to an open sided garden structure is that you can immerse yourself in nature without giving up home comforts. For added cosiness you can install retractable canvas panels and a heater to make full use of this extra living and dining space even in the depths of winter.
Tiny Potting Shed
Even the smallest of gardens needs some storage to house all your outdoor kit. This compact but perfectly formed tool shed called The Stanford not only looks cute but provides lots of useful hanging space and hideaway space for gardening essentials without taking up too much floor space. The side shelves are ideal for stacked plant pots, watering cans and garden accessories or perhaps an attractive vertical display of plants.
Neatly stacked firewood arranged in a Log Store makes an attractive feature in any small garden. Firewood needs to be left outside to season properly and a purpose-built store protects it from the elements. The open sides allow the air to circulate. Always remember to position a log store in a sheltered position to keep it out of driving rain and close at hand for feeding the firepit.
When space is at a premium, but you still want to feed your passion for growing a mini greenhouse is a happy compromise. The Robinsons Renaissance Greenhouse is great value for money and octagonal in shape. The smallest available is 5’7 by 5’7. Unlike other octagonal greenhouses on the market, these models have full height doors for easier access and more room to grow.