Two gardening experts share tricks of the trade to make your small garden look and feel more sizeable.
8 October 2019| Last updated on 19 January 2020
All Credits: PA
If your garden is the side of a postage stamp and you just want a feeling of space when you step outside, read on...
Landscape expert Gena Lorainne of home care specialist Fantastic Services and planting designer Carolyn Dunster, author of Urban Flowers, offer the following tips…
1. Use mirrors
Placing a mirror or two in your small garden can create an illusion of a bigger space, which could look twice the original size. When positioning a mirror pick the right spot – somewhere where it won’t be a visual hazard, as the reflection of the sun can damage not only your eyes but plants as well. For best results, choose a slightly shady area, Lorainne suggests.
If you position a mirror on your boundary it will reflect the space back, so you cannot see where your garden ends, Dunster adds.
Use mirrors to give the illusion of space
2. Make use of walls and fences
Plant your favourite flowers along walls and fences to add some brightness and to spread their gorgeous scent all around your green space. Hanging flower baskets can also look great, says Lorainne.
Use colourful plants to enhance walls and fences
Dunster explains: “I like to cover the sides of my shed, my fencing and trellis with climbing plants to give the impression of being surrounded by greenery and am happy to use ivy which stays green all year round along with jasmines, honeysuckles and climbing roses for seasonal colour and perfume.
“My shed is painted the same colour as my garden furniture – an olive green that blends with my planting and makes everything look coherent and co-ordinated, so it is all part of the same space and blends together seamlessly.”
4. Introduce different sized plants
Lorainne explains: “A diversified small garden, where there are plants of different shapes and sizes, can give off the impression of larger space. Aside from that, this trick also makes the garden look more visually appealing.”
Dunster adds: “A range of different sized plants means you can layer your planting and give it depth, although there is no need to place all your tall plants at the back of a border. Varying the heights makes your planting look more dense. Tall thin wispy plants such as Verbena bonariensis look good woven in between shorter flowering plants – you can see through them to the plants behind.”
Verbena bonariensis looks good between shorter flowering plants such as rudbeckia
5. Add climbing plants
These will give height to your garden without taking up too much ground space, says Lorainne.
6. Make use of a roof
If you’re short of growing space, consider creating a ‘living roof’, where flowers and greenery can be planted on top of the shed to give off an illusion of a bigger garden. The roof will also help attract more wildlife and help enhance the relaxing, natural feel of the plot, suggests Lorainne.
“You can use the roof of your shed as extra growing space – either cover with sedum matting or buy a roll of wildflowers to cover it – this will attract lots of pollinating insects into your garden and in turn, they will bring in the birds,” Dunster suggests.
Introducing a green roof works best on ‘pent’ sheds (with only one slope) that have a flatter roof, rather than those with a triangular ‘apex’ style roof, although it is possible on both, say shed experts Tiger Sheds (tigersheds.com).
Consider a living roof
7. Keep it simple
Keep planting schemes simple in a small space – it is better to choose five key plants and repeat them, rather than lots of different types of plants that will make it look very bitty, says Dunster.
Stick to a colour scheme that works harmoniously, choosing plants in colours that complement each other but vary in shape and texture – imagine you are putting together a flower bouquet with a couple of key components, a few filler flowers and some foliage.
However small your planting space, keep things simple