While it can be tempting to purchase and plant flowers off the cuff, it’s not a smart option in the long-run, especially if you’re dealing with a small garden. Instead, you should take the time to create a plan. This way, the finished product will be thoughtful, cohesive, easier to maintain and more functional. Of course, it’s sure to be more visually appealing, too.
Whether you’re making a few small changes or a dramatic overhaul, use these 5 tips to help you plan your small garden layout.
1. Clean Up and Take Stock!
Before you start visualising your new space, you have to consider your current space. What plants do you want to keep and which need to go? Do you have a shed that you can transform? How’s your soil? By asking these important questions before you start creating a plan, you’ll have a better idea of what is (and isn’t!) possible.
After you’ve considered what you have, get rid of what you don’t want or need and do a general tidy up. If you have existing plants, give them a good trim and clear out any weeds. Declutter your balcony. Remove broken pots or planters. Mow your grass. By cleaning up your garden, you’ll not only motivate yourself to transform it further, you’ll be able to see what you have to work with.
2. Determine Purpose and Theme
When dealing with a limited amount of space, you have to carefully consider who will be using the space, for what and how you want it to look overall. Think of your garden as an outdoor room and make it work for you.
If you’re an entertainer, you’ll need to organise your layout in a way that allows for a seating area and possibly even an outdoor kitchen. If you’re keen to create a space that your children can enjoy, you’ll need to find room for a trampoline or playhouse.
Once you’ve decided how you want to use your garden, it’s time for the fun part! How do you want it to look? Do you want to create a Japanese zen space to help you escape from the city? Do you want to plant a vegetable garden? Are you looking for something sleek and contemporary? Your theme will dictate what materials you use, your colour scheme and even what plants you choose to incorporate.
3. Make Your Plants Work For You
While (as mentioned) your theme will influence what plants you choose, there are several other factors to consider. We’ll start with the most practical. First, how much time do you have to maintain your plants? Second, how much natural sunlight do you get in your garden? These two questions will help you focus your efforts and create a garden that isn’t just beautiful, but feasible.
Next, consider how much space you have. If you don’t have a lot of space on the ground, build up! Take advantage of hanging plants, trellises and fences. If your soil isn’t up to par, build your own flower beds! These are especially great for small vegetable gardens.
Finally, use a variety of plants to create texture. Play with colour and height. If your garden is a canvas, plants are the paint! Use both horizontal and vertical planes. Consider how close together plants will be. Pay attention to symmetry (and lack thereof)!
4. Choose a Focal Point
Capture and guide visitors’ attention by creating a focal point. Since we’re talking about small gardens, bear in mind: This doesn’t have to be something large! It could be a particularly interesting plant, a pop of colour, or even a garden accessory like a mirror.
This focal point doesn’t have to be at the centre of your garden, but you should build outwards from it, effectively funneling attention towards it.
5. Link Your Spaces
Remember when we likened your garden to a series of outdoor rooms? Just like inside a home, these rooms have to be linked. But, instead of using hallways or corridors, you’ll use different materials to signal when one ‘room’ ends and another begins.
Consider using structured hedges and carefully placed pathways to create ‘openings’ that encourage exploration of your garden and keep people moving throughout it. Not only is this practical, but it will make your garden look bigger.
If you want more help planning your small garden layout, contact Floral & Hardy! We can help with everything from inspiration to design and no project is to big (or small!).