Tricks for Small Gardens
Urban gardens are usually small gardens. This little album of tricks contains ideas that help urban gardeners overcome some of our spatial limitations. The picture above has three to begin with:
• Use the upward dimension. Be sure your small garden makes use of the infinite vertical plane with elements like arbours, trellises and wall plantings.
• Don’t fear division. Go ahead and divide your tiny space into smaller parcels. Creating hidden corners and winding pathways even in a small garden adds surprise.
• Think big. Don’t limit yourself to miniature plants, which can reinforce the overall bittiness. Add that giant hosta or plant in large drifts for drama and punctuation.
• Reflect. Reflective surfaces give the impression of a window into another world. Mirrors are one way to achieve this. But how about a saucer-sized reflecting pool, tucked beneath a plant (refreshing the water often to combat mosquito invasion). Even a glass-topped table can give you a pool of reflected sky.
• Get off the straight and narrow. Lengthen the lines in your pathways and garden beds by using curves or diagonals – an easy trick that instantly makes a small space seem larger.
• Punch holes in it. Putting up a fence or a gate? Give it a window. Even a tiny peek through to the other side, such as with this open trellis, visually extends the view from your small garden while providing a sense of privacy. Of course, good fences require good neighbours. But if you have some, why not share some air.
• Create a focal point… or borrow one. This arbour frames the fountain in a neighbour’s garden, but perhaps there’s something public you want to highlight or screen. Even if in reality it takes you only to a parking pad, a fabulous door like one this suggests unseen treasures. Or add a great piece of sculpture, leading the eyes to a far corner of small but often busy spaces, and giving them a cool place to rest.
Just a few ideas from my archives. Anything to add?