The other parts can be reached by clicking on these links ...
Part 1 - an introduction to why small gardens need designing;
Part 2 - lose the boundaries, borrowed views & landscape, using 3 dimensions;
Part 3 follows, covering keep it simple, maximise space usefulness, optical illusions;
Part 4 - keep it interesting, growing for the table and utility issues.
Here goes ...
4. Keep it simple!
Do you really need that bit of lawn?
In a small garden you may still have distinct areas – dining/BBQ, sun-lounging, shady seating for reading, chatting & socialising. You might achieve this with a very simple rectangular shape which has some parts “cut away” – this adds interest to the shape & sub-divides it to create the various functional areas. The cut-aways could be features such as a firepit or BBQ, herb bed, raised planter, water feature, etc.
If you have a flat, or shallow-pitched, garage, shed or house extension, why not consider a green roof (click here for more information) to add more planting space & ecological value?
6. Exploit optical illusions:
Using horizontal linear timber strips instead of conventional square or diamond pattern trellis for screens also has this directional aspect and can “stretch” a short boundary.
In this example, grooved deck boards are used to give the same effect, and also provide unity with the decked surface.
Mirrors will always need to have a rigid surface to mount them on, both to protect them from cracking and to prevent movement in the wind - so a free-standing mirror needs at least 12mm marine-ply backing, attached to well-fixed posts. If the reflection is to be seen from some distance away (e.g. from inside the house), make sure it’s very optically flat – slight ripples in the glass produce only minor distortion when seen from a few feet distance, but give a “hall of mirrors” nightmare when seen from 20 or 30 feet!
The other parts of this series can be reached by scrolling through my blog, or by clicking the links at the top of this post.