As our house plans and kitchen renovation are on a bit of a stand still right now, we've decided to get started with our small courtyard garden space instead, to see if we can start with the outside and eventually bring the clean polished look indoors.
The problems we have currently are;
- Small square garden
- Raised empty flower beds
- Salty high garden walls
- Cracked concrete floors throughout
- Awkward patio spaces
- Lack of green fingers
- Not suitable for kids to play in
- We feel over looked
There are so many things we can do to make the space more usable, more relaxing and more child friendly. The main thing for me is the floor. The concrete is cracked so much, it's all different heights with lots of broken areas. We could re-concrete over, but we don't really want a concrete garden, it looks horrid, it's too hard for the children to play on and constantly grows weeds in the cracks.
One thing we are thinking about is decking half the garden and using artificial grass on the back half. This would give us a safer cleanable area for the kids to play as well as a more balanced area to use for potted plants and seating.
Here's a few ways to make the most of small garden spaces that we will be incorporating into our garden makeover this summer;
Add height & width
The best way to make your garden feel bigger is firstly to declutter it. Much like the home, we can easily find our garden filled with unwanted pots, toys and furniture. if you work out what you need to keep and discard the rest, you'll instantly feel like your garden has grown.
Other ways to add extra height and width to your garden is to add separate areas, just as you would to an open plan room. Having varied functions in the space means your eyes travel round making a bigger picture than just focusing on one broad area. As well as different floor spaces, add different heights with raised beds, hanging baskets and tall planters. Anything that guide your eyes upwards will increase that upwards space. Making use of wall space and adding raised areas means you are getting more features without losing that much needed floor space.
Pick the right furniture
By choosing the right furniture you can make a big difference to the spacial feel of your garden. Furniture with an open pattern means that you can see through it, continuing to keep it open instead of blocking it with solid options. Also, creating seating or dining spots using walls or features that are already taking up space, means that you won't lose any. If you have a wall or unused raised bed, see if you can adapt this for a more useful purpose such as a table or bench. Always make sure you have shaded areas too, whether this is with furniture or something simple like a sail shade in one area to keep our family cool on warmer days.
Block over lookers
If your small garden feels over looked by neighbours, opt for high wicker fencing additions which you can grow plants on. This will let light through, look pretty, but also reduce that feeling of being over looked, making your garden instantly a more relaxing place to be.
Mirroring in any sense will open up a space. Whether it's a small pond reflecting the sky or actual mounted garden mirrors, these will be sure to add another dimension to your garden and give a larger sense of space.
Choose the right plants
Choose plants that will be easy to keep and come back again and again. Get clued up on what to plant through the year, so that you keep interested with all the new things popping up. Keep plants trimmed neatly to avoid over crowding, let in more light and encourage growth. Read labels when shopping for plants and make sure they are not going to out grow your garden any time soon or completely take it over.
Utilise your wall space
By adding wall art, mirrors, wall climbing plants, extra flower beds or hanging baskets, making use of the wall space can add all kinds of colour splashes with your plants or decor without inflicting into your much needed floor spaces. Don't clutter, but use the space to show a little creativity and personality. Pinterest is packed with ideas for this, with things like special walled herb gardens made from things like pallets, it doesn't have to cost the earth and you can make it fit perfectly to any space.
Break up large areas
If you have large wall or fenced areas, break these up with soft plants, potted trees or wall art so that the eye won't instantly 'skip to the end', adding all these small pops of interest can really elongate your space and the more life you have in your garden, the more relaxing it can be.
Add texture and variation
In a small garden, every inch is precious so it's really important to make the most of every bit of space you can. Don't fill your garden needlessly, but add different textures of plants, work out what grows well through the seasons and vary your potting areas with different textures like wood, concrete and metallic.
Add personal touches
Our gardens are an extension of our home and should reflect a little of our personalities. From quirky planters to giving something completely un-garden related a new lease of life as a planter, get creative and create the garden that not only works for you, but reflects you.
If you too have a small garden yet to be tamed, I really hope this helps. I've done so much research now, I think we are well ready to get on our way with our garden makeover and I'll hopefully share our pictures very soon!
What are your garden plans this summer?