Small Gardens Can Be Beautiful

When you live in a country, where space is at a premium, its no surprise that most new-builds we find popping up these days, are fairly “economic” when it comes to garden space. Developers know that people will want a garden but with the need to put as many properties on a particular development site as possible, it’s not unusual to find fairly modest sized homes, with even more modest gardens.

Of course, this is also true of many homes built in the past, especially when it comes to terraced houses or cottages. Sometimes a row of 8 or 10 small cottages will sit in a row, with the typical “cottage” garden, which can be pretty small.

But just because your garden is small, doesn’t means you have to ignore it or just go for a patio and rectangular lawn. In fact, sometimes a small garden can be made more intimate. Using the right shapes, colours and plant choices can create a beautiful little sanctuary for you to enjoy.

So let’s say you have a garden which is say 24 feet long and 20 feet wide. That might sound quite a decent size but when it’s fenced off and there is a wall at the back, You’ll realise that its not that big at all. Now unfortunately, we do have to have some practical elements to this garden to make it functional, like a gate, somewhere to put your bins and paths wide enough for a lawn mower, but apart from that, there really aren’t too many restrictions.

One of the biggest mistakes people make with a small garden is to try to make it look “bigger” by pushing everything back to the borders. They keep the lawn as rectangular as possible to make it as big as possible and put thin, single plant borders around the edges.

If your lawn isn’t going to be big enough for your kids to play football on, forget about trying to make it big and take them to the park. You can only work with the size you have and when children are young, they only need a small space. As they get older and want to kick balls, a bigger garden would be nice and if you can afford it, buy a house with it. If you can’t afford it, your kids have grown up, or even left home… Don’t try to make your lawn any bigger than it needs to be.

Grass isn’t actually very exciting to look at but it’s a lot nicer than concrete so it’s about trading off your needs against your wants. In the garden design I have put together for this exercise, you’ll see that I’ve included a gate, with a pathway to the back of the garden, where you can put your bins etc.

There are 2 trees, one on the back left and one on the back right and I’ve put a load of different shrubs around them and the lawn. The tree on the right will also help conceal the bin a little, just so that it doesn’t become a focal point for anybody sitting out on the patio / decking area.

Talking of which, the patio (could be decking) area has enough room for 4 and the large plant urn on the right hand side could be replaced with a BBQ and you could put some small pots around the edges. There is some trellis on the right and front right, just to screen it off a little from the pathway.

The pathway not only goes all the way to the end of the right hand side of the garden, it also goes across the front of the patio / decking area. This will allow you to bring a lawn mower or wheel barrow to the lawn… Something you are going to need to do (You will need to move the front right planter temporarily). Steps from the patio / decking area, lead to the front path to give access directly from the patio doors on the house.

The lawn is a kind of pear shape but you could equally use a kidney shape or something else with curves. The most important thing is that it is not square or rectangle, so we now have some curves. Because we are not trying to make the lawn bigger, we can put loads of colour around the edges and by not keeping it “uniform” you can have loads of fun mixing colour and shape.

This is an extremely straight forward design. It’s practical, functional and from every part of the patio / decking area, you can see shape and colour. Also, once created, it’s fairly low cost to maintain. Some extra flowers each year for the borders and maybe some lights and a few other “trimmings” will set it off nicely.

It doesn’t matter if your garden in small, you can still make the most of it. Just make sure you think about the practicalities and things you absolutely need, like storage or and area for the bins. Once you have the practical things sorted, you can pretty much go crazy.

Just don’t be too tempted to concrete up the whole thing. I know people who have done it and later regretted it. It’s the same with fake grass. Its green and it looks like grass but you’ll never get that wonderful smell of a fresh cut lawn if you go fake.

Good Luck 🙂