Making the most of a small garden

How to make the most of a small garden

October 11, 2019

How to make the most of a small garden

Per square metre, smaller gardens are typically more expensive than bigger ones because the land is limited and so it’s important to make the most of the space available. At Dewlands Garden Design, we understand that generally, if you have a small garden, it’s likely that you don’t have a massive house, and so the outside space is like gold dust. But if you design your garden properly, you could double your footprint and your useful occupiable space.

The most obvious option is to design a garden which is very simple and practical; maybe all you want is a barbecue stand, a table and chairs with a bit of grass. For this approach you might just need a landscaper or even be able to do it yourself – you won’t need a garden designer. But if you recognise the value of creating somewhere that you can enjoy most of the year to give you additional usable space, then it’s well worth the investment to enlist a garden designer’s expertise.

Utilising the space available

If you’ve got a small garden, it can be very tempting to push everything out to the edge, which is a big mistake. When you do this, as you walk into the garden, you instantly see the boundaries at first glance, and by doing that, you tell everyone who visits ‘I’ve got a small garden’. The trick to designing a small space effectively is to divide it into different functional areas. There might not be a huge scope, but it’s about creating different spaces within the garden so the brain is looking more at compartments within the garden than the actual boundaries. Then as you walk in, instead of instantly noticing the small size of the garden, you think ‘Wow, this is a nice space!’, and to achieve that, it’s all about careful design to tease out the most useful space from what you have.

The tiny-house movement is a modern phenomenon that’s all about creating small properties which maximise the space available in creative ways. The homes are mostly mobile and they’re often designed to be quite luxurious. The movement is all about getting creative with the space to make the most of the tiny footprint. That’s the same philosophy that should be employed when thinking about creating a small garden; getting imaginative to make the most of the space.

Focussing on the details

With the smaller-sized gardens, you have the opportunity to move away from grass and you can start to think about paving, gravel and different finishes. Then it’s about getting into detail; in a big garden you get big images that draw the eye, but in a small garden you need aspects that draw you in to look at the small details – maybe the design or pattern within the paving, the choice of planters, the finery of the leaves on the plants or the intricate planting structure.

You should think about your outdoor space like a kitchen, something you’ll enjoy using every day – it’s an investment so why not invest the same sort of money in your small back garden as you would your small kitchen? Design it carefully to be something you want to be in and it’s money well spent! It’s hard to get kids away from devices as it is, so if you don’t create this extra space for them to be in then you’ll find it harder to get them outdoors, see this in action in our recently completed small garden project in Tunbridge Wells.

Features to include in a small garden

We really enjoy designing small gardens; they’re intellectually as challenging as large gardens and it’s very satisfying to see how the design materialises to make the most of the available space. Here are some things to think about including in your small garden designs:

  • Outdoor lighting
  • Creating a seating area that you can work in
  • Outdoor storage for cushions, barbecue and lawn mower
  • An outdoor living room to relax in and have a drink
  • Some shelter– even if that’s a small bit of sailcloth, it’s important to treat your small garden as a room, not just an outdoor area
  • An outdoor heater or log burner that burns sustainably sourced fuels
  • As you get more elaborate you could think about a hot tub or sauna to fit into a corner
  • Remember to leave room for your washing line

We love designing small gardens; being creative with the space available allows us to turn small gardens into an additional room that can be used for most of the year, and by using some of our tips you can start to think about how to turn your small garden into your ideal outdoor space.

To discuss how our designs can make the most of your garden

call 01892 577371 

or send us an email using our online form. 

Based in Crowborough, Sussex, Dewlands offers garden design and maintenance services across:  

Kent: Sevenoaks, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Maidstone, Kings Hill  

Sussex: Crawley, East Grinstead, Lewes, Battle, Hailsham in Sussex  

Surrey: Redhill and Oxted in Surrey.   

You can read a more comprehensive list of the area we cover here.
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