Big Ideas for Tiny Gardens
With land values rising and housing developments becoming more compact we have come to accept that our outdoor spaces are becoming smaller too. Ideas that work on a quarter acre block don't translate well to the small courtyard garden. At Dimension Gardenscape we have found the constraints of working in confined spaces has forged some amazing results. Almost against the odds it seems that the less space you have to work with, the more impact a well designed landscape can achieve.
That Stunning Style
There are many design ideas that are easier to accomplish in a small garden than on a larger scale. Japanese gardens have traditionally been small, and the tranquil style is the perfect antidote for our hectic lifestyle. Morrocan style is a colourful solution for courtyards, including patterned tiles, coloured lighting and formal planting in pots. Its possible achieve a Balinese resort feel in a small enclosed space in Canberra if your courtyard catches the sun and is protected from the wind. A kitchen herb garden can be both functional and attractive, like a Parterre garden on a small scale.
A Focal Point
The design of a small courtyard can pivot on a single beautiful object that acts as a focal point. It might be an elegant tree, a colourful urn, or a sculpture– the possibilities are endless. Just one piece that's significant to you can act as the centrepiece, so you have the opportunity to be bold. Dimension Gardenscape have installed an old cast iron stove, recycled stained glass windows, a modern Chinese vase, a massive white limestone rock, a glass fountain – all to surprising effect. The most important factor in choosing a focal point is that you will love looking at it every day.
Trees in Tight Spaces
When selecting a tree for a small space it needs to provide interest throughout the year, because it will always be up close, at the centre of your attention.
- Crepe Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) has abundant, long lasting summer flowers that form a carpet in late summer. Bright orange autumn foliage marks the season and in winter it reveals its lovely silky smooth bark. The bark shines with hidden colours when wet and looks amazing when spot lit at night.
- Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum, Acer japonicum) have a range foliage colour and shape that changes from spring to summer to autumn, providing interest in the change of season. In winter they reveal their often twisted frame of branches, ranging from upright to weeping forms. Japanese maples are quite happy to stay in pots for their whole life.
- Weeping Apricot (Prunus mume pendula) displays a stunning cascade of pink flowers in spring, transforming into an umbrella of long green leaves in summer. This tree adds a touch of romance to a small space – a little secret space within a space under the curtain. In winter the fine weeping branches offer an elegant silhouette.
- Cumquat (Citrus japonica) refers to several species with slightly different shaped fruit. They feature distinctive shiny green foliage all year round, fragrant flowers and abundant fruit even on small trees.
- Ballerina Apple (Malus bolero) is a column form fruiting apple with flowers, fruit and leaves closely branching off a single vertical stem. Perfect for a small productive garden or a formal garden row.
Another Living Room
Usually a small garden comes with a small home so finding a way to use all your space well becomes a priority. The key here is to start thinking of your outdoor space as a room: is it for dining or lounging? You can create an outdoor living room with paving or decking to set the space for your furnishings. You can add a large umbrella or shade cloth for weather protection, and soften the space using plants. By adding mood lighting to your garden, you can see out at night giving the illusion of a bigger living room.
Small Investment for Great Results
Limited space might first seem like a compromise but when creating your small garden you can achieve great results with a smaller investment of time and money. A large garden can swallow dozens of plants and metres of paving before it makes an impact overall. When you shrink the scale your shrink the price tag, so it takes less to achieve your dreams.
What that means for you is those beautiful tumbled stone pavers that you thought were too expensive? Well you only need a few of them so now they are in your price range. That large advanced tree you love? It might be the only plant you buy. And the creative advice of an experienced garden designer can make your garden the best room in the house. Call Dimension Gardenscape before you start.