Garden Design – How to Design a Small Garden

Designing a small garden involves making use of every centimetre of space, and using visual tricks to make the garden seem larger. The plan for a small garden must be millimeter accurate as there is no room for adjustment if the plan is found to be incorrect when constructing the garden.

Many people think a plan is not necessary when they are landscaping a very small garden, whereas the absolute opposite is true. It is especially important to prepare a plan where space is limited to ensure that the finished garden meets the practical requirements and looks great too. Preparing a detailed garden design plan will ensure all the functional areas are the correct size for their purpose and will fit into the garden. A good garden design plan allows you to check that the garden will work before you approach landscaping contractors and start spending money. Some well-prepared 3-D visuals bring the garden to life and help you see how the garden will feel once it is constructed. The garden model and visuals are the final check that the spaces all work in harmony with one another ensuring that the garden is a comfortable, relaxing space in which to spend time.

When designing a small garden a simple layout with clean lines and strong geometric shapes works best. The design should not be overly complicated. If curves are required a central circle which can be either lawn, planting, paving or a path is better than fussy freehand curves.

Although it is tempting to scale down the garden features to avoid cluttering the space this will result in a muddle of insignificant elements that does the exact opposite. Including a single bold structure like a chunky pergola or a rendered blockwork wall around a seating area creates a sense of enclosure, introduces a touch of drama and holds focus inside the garden. Textured finishes like slate or pebble cladding can be used on courtyard walls to add interest and also stop the boundaries from becoming overbearing.

Wooden structures like pergolas and arches enable vertical planting and provide height. A heavily planted pergola placed against a boundary wall blurs the edges of the garden and suggests extra space beyond. Paint a black rectangle on the wall at the end of the pergola to suggest an entrance to another garden area beyond the wall to increase the sense of depth in the garden. Another extremely good way to add height and drama to a garden is to include a tree. A well-chosen tree will give immediate internal focus to the garden as well as adding an essential 3-D element. There are small trees suitable for even the tiniest garden.

A gate fixed to a wall or fence surrounded with climbing plants creates the illusion that the garden continues beyond the boundaries. A well-executed trompe l’oeil doorway painted on a wall framed with evergreen planting and climbers is a simple, fun way to add interest and give the appearance of more space. Using diminishing sized pots, plants or statuary, or narrowing a path as it approaches the boundary will create a false perspective that makes the garden seem larger.

Level changes like steps, raised beds, or a raised pool give the garden an extra dimension, make it appear more interesting and distract attention away from the boundaries. Raised beds and retaining walls for pools can also double as seats if they are between 450mm and 600mm high. Creating extra useable space in the garden by introducing features that have a dual purpose it more useable as well as more attractive and this automatically gives the illusion of more space.

Using contrasting colours is another way to suggest that the garden extends beyond its actual boundaries. A pale wall with a door-sized rectangle painted in a darker colour framed by some climbers and planted pots looks like a passageway. Contrasting flower and foliage colours are also effective for creating interest, contrast, directing focus and adding the illusion of extra depth.

When there isn’t much ground area using the vertical space helps to provide more visual interest without cluttering the garden. Some ways of doing this include attaching planters to walls, hanging baskets and troughs from fence posts or mounting them along the top of fence panels.

In a small garden is it essential to use a limited plant palette – too many different plant species will make the space seem busy and closed in. It is also important to make clever use of all available planting space. Climbers are a great way to introduce greenery without taking up valuable space, and shrubs like Garrya elliptica, Fatshedera lizeii and Itea illicifolia, Ceanothus and Rhamnus alaternus perform well when secured to a wall or fence. In courtyards where there are no borders place trellis panels in floor mounted troughs. Green walls work extremely well in small spaces. Sedum roofs on sheds, bin stores, and other covered spaces are a great way to introduce low-maintenance planting into smaller gardens.

A small garden does not have to be boring and featureless. With some careful planning and creativity smaller spaces can make stunning gardens and wonderful, low-maintenance places to de-stress and entertain.

Issues in Garden Design – Designing Gardens With Limited Space and for Health and Play

Perhaps the trend towards smaller gardens makes good design even more important. It is often said that designing a small garden is more difficult than designing a large one. In a small space there can be issues of privacy; the need to disguise borders whilst still maintaining enough usable space. Choice of plants is critical because each plant has to earn its living in more than one way – a small tree, such as Amelanchier lamarckii, for instance, will provide spring blossom, attractive spring foliage, summer shade, autumn colour and winter structure – a shrub such as Choisya ternata will be evergreen, provide spring flowers, sometimes with a second flush in September, and a gorgeous scent when its leaves are brushed, whereas something like an oriental poppy (Papaver orientale), spectacular though its flowers are, will only bloom for a short period, and leave behind rather scruffy foliage for the rest of the season, or a hole if it is cut down, and in any case dies down in winter. It really doesn’t earn its keep where interest needs to be maintained throughout the year within a limited space. Although the space is small, planting should not be limited to small plants which can make the space seem even smaller. Climbers are an essential ingredient in a small garden, and this is where green roofs and living walls come into their own. Gardens in built up areas can be very sheltered, so allowing a wider range of less hardy plants to be grown, on the other hand, they can be very shady, which offers its own set of planting opportunities. Good design will maximise the opportunities presented by any setting, and create a coherent space, full of interest that offers an enhanced quality of life.

However, budget may be another problem. Garden designers, like everyone else, are facing recession. It may be difficult to persuade people to splash out on what is seen as a luxury, and when they do decide to invest in having their garden designed, the budgets available may constrain the design. We have to be inventive about how we retain the quality of design whilst limiting the cost, for instance by specifying smaller but faster growing trees, rather than spending money on mature specimens. Garden designers are also having to diversify by looking towards designing public spaces, writing, teaching, supplying plants and offering garden maintenance as supplementary sources of income.

Some of the public spaces garden designers have been called upon to design in recent years include hospital and hospice gardens, and there is a growing interest in the impact of gardens on health and well-being. According to a paper presented by Roger S. Ulrich PhD, to the International Exhibition Floriade conference ‘Plants for People’, entitled “Health Benefits of Gardens in Hospitals”, there are significant benefits to patients of viewing environments dominated by greenery, flowers or water, in terms of reducing stress, diminishing stressful thoughts, promoting recovery, elevating positive emotions and reducing negative emotions such as fear, anger and sadness. These can be measured in terms of blood pressure, heart activity, muscle tension and brain electrical activity. There is also a decrease in anxiety, pain and the length of stay in hospital when an appropriately designed garden is provided, and an increase in levels of patient satisfaction. As far as the design goes, an over dominance of hardlandscaping at the expense of planting, is detrimental to these positive outcomes, and abstract, ambiguous artworks can aggravate stress rather than reduce it. So concentrating on planting and natural scenery seems to be the best policy for a designer, which allows him or her plenty of scope to think about appealing to the senses – sight, sound and smell through the use of scented plants, water for sound, making the garden attractive to birds which will sing, choosing plants for year round colour, texture and movement. Soft and gentle colours, avoiding any violent clashes, may provide a calm and stress-reducing atmosphere, such as greens, lavenders, pinks and blues, although gentle yellows and whites can also be uplifting. The garden needs to be calming and relaxing, but still retain interest.

Gardens can also have a beneficial effect on mental health. Having the opportunity to work in a garden can be therapeutic, and at a time of growing obesity, any outdoor activity can help. Children, it is often said, are becoming out of touch with where food comes from and garden designers can help by designing public and private spaces that put them back in touch with nature and consider their educational and play needs. What children need most from a garden setting is space to play. Quite aside from all the play equipment such as trampolines, swings, tree-houses, Wendy houses, sandpits, swimming pools or paddling pools that can be provided, just having a range of colours, textures, sizes and shapes of plants can provide a stimulating environment. Places to hide, shrubberies to build dens in, mud to dig in are all play opportunities. Tall grasses and tall perennials that tower over the children’s heads, with paths winding through can be magical, as can very small plants. Conkers, acorns or cobnuts to collect, and ponds to do pond dipping are all stimulating and educational opportunities. A garden is a good way of introducing children to wildlife, and no child’s education can be complete without having the chance to grow something from seed. Of course, as designers we must take into account safety issues, including putting a grate over ponds, making sure boundaries are secure, and not planting the most poisonous plants, although no garden can be completely risk free, and there are so many poisonous plants, it is better to educate children not to eat them than trying to avoid them altogether.

Good garden design can be so beneficial to society that it should thrive in the 21st century in spite of recession.

Planning Ideas For Patio Garden Design

Flower Garden Designs for Everyone

Design garden is perfect for those who live in the city but still want to consider creating a garden for their patio. There are different designs for your patio garden and it’s up to you to think of the color combinations, the pots, how they are arranged or aligned, etc. You can release your creativity in designing your own patio garden, after all, it’s yours and it’s going to be your pride and joy. These are mainly guidelines because in designing, you have no rules. You can choose from many varieties regarding patio garden design from modern to classic, whatever suits you, really.

When you do your garden design, you don’t limit yourself to space; you limit yourself to time and interest. If you don’t see yourself working on your flower garden designs, then this isn’t for you. Designing your garden requires time and effort and of course, your interest in engaging yourself with such activity. You have to have a lot of time on your hands to create a personal touch to your patio garden design. Once you’ve set your mind into designing your garden, you can now pick your place where you like to build a garden.

You can choose from different themes like, modern, classic, chic, or whatever suits your personality. There are different materials from stores that could fit your theme, for sure. As mentioned, time and interest is needed in designing your patio garden. If you did everything in a hurry, it would be noticed with the lack of alignment and organization. Before you start designing your patio garden, always think of a concept so that when you execute your design, you won’t take a long time deciding on how to fix everything and stuff. Organize everything and have your materials all set so you could start your flower garden designs already.

Uneven edges are dangerous for children, and adults, too. Safety is part of your garden design and it’s not something you should miss out. Your lives and safety are in your hands. Always take precautionary measures before setting up your patio garden. If you’re guests consist mostly of kids, you should be sure to check if everything in your garden would be safe for them. Make sure that the floor isn’t too slippery or that there aren’t too many sharp edges for kids tend to play roughly with other kids.

If you have the time, space, interest and budget, then you’re ready to start designing your patio garden. Always set aside some time for planning and organizing before going all hands-on on your patio garden. It’s not all about fixing and hard work, you really need time to plan everything out before getting dirty and excited. Always consider the place where you live in and always keep in mind that landscaping is important in your design. Of course, you shouldn’t miss out on your budget. Always make a list so that you wouldn’t be caught short in the middle of designing your patio garden. Remember that you should have fun because it’s your patio, anyway.