Saturday 14 January 2017

How To Landscape A Small Garden

For most of us who live in apartments, townhouses and units in the inner city and suburbs close to the city, don't always have the luxury of a big garden space. A typical urban garden is usually small in size and enclosed by walls, hedges, fences or simply some plants. However with a little creativity, smart designing and astute landscaping, small gardens can also make a big impact. Our guest contributor Nick shares his insights for landscaping small gardens and backyards to create soulful and inviting sanctuaries.

Having a big backyard is simply amazing. There are numerous things you can do with it like adding various plants and trees. If you wish, you can even add a pool, altogether with pumps and other equipment. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky to have so much space.

Some people are rather limited when it comes to their backyard. However, this doesn’t mean you should despair. It is more challenging arranging a small backyard than a large one and it means that you will require to think creatively.

Asking a professional landscape architect for advice can often be the best option. Sometimes, homeowners start tinkering with their backyards only to discover that they have perhaps bitten off more than they can chew. You might even invest some money in it only to discover that your solution was not as great as you initially thought or that the workload of creating a pretty and well designed outdoor space is more than you initially anticipated.

Therefore, before taking on the planning and designing yourself, ask a friend with green thumbs and gardening experience for advice. This may be a good idea before you start putting your own ideas into practice. Also, this can save you money as professional consultation can be expensive. 

Small garden basics
Small gardens can feel quite claustrophobic. No matter what you do with it, you will probably want to have more plants or a bigger deck or a larger table. The best way to tackle the issue is to remove the lawn and plants to observe the space 'naked'. However, this may not always be feasible.

Also, you have to address  the issue of your neighbours. What do I mean by that? A garden is a private sanctuary where you can relax and entertain with family and friends. Think about planting a tall hedge or a decorative screen. This will instantly make the space seem more cosy.

To create a well planned garden, it is important to have good flow i.e. a pathway. The pathway should end on a patch of concrete or deck or maybe even some lush but well maintained lawn, an ideal place to put your garden table. And here is where most homeowners make a mistake. They wish to have more than they bargained for rather than being realistic. Sometimes, even a table can be a luxury depending on the limited dimensions of your garden. Nevertheless, I have to say that the garden is not the same without one. There is nothing better than relaxing in an inviting backyard, surrounded by pretty plants. So try and be creative and think of smart seating solutions.

Many people often also use their gardens as storage spaces. You can find pots, hoses, lawnmowers and other miscellaneous things lying around. This can significantly reduce your available space making the garden feel even more tight. Make sure to store all the tools away. Whether it’s a basement, shed or garage, there is always some space for storing equipment.

Lastly, we have to address what actually makes a garden - plants and flowers. However, let’s be realistic. Mature trees can overwhelm small gardens. Yes, you can definitely plant a large tree but then, you will have to relinquish other plants. Most people are indecisive at this point. They want both a tree and mature plants or they want several different flowers in their garden. This can be overkill. Overdoing it can sometimes make the garden feel like a hot mess. Stick with minimalism and you will be able to manage your small garden without any hassles.

Landscaping a small garden although challenging can be creatively satisfying. Grouping plants of various heights can create visual interest and appeal and a beautiful earthy canvas to your small outdoor space. For a backyard that is spatially challenged, vertical green walls are the smartest solution. For gardens that are difficult to plant trees in, well maintained topiary planters that emulate trees or bamboo plants in planter boxes can be the alternate design solution. The trick is to create a smart yet well landscaped space that is low on maintenance and big on design. 

Do you have a small garden? How have you landscaped it? Share with us in the comments below.

Till next time...every little bit of green helps!

About the Author
Nick Stoyanov is a copywriter and content strategist at – Australia’s largest online pump store. For Pumps is an Australian company that focuses on the national distribution of its comprehensive range of quality pumping products.

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