The Really Small Garden

Sometimes space is very restricted: a garden of only a few square metres/yards. There is no need to forgo the pleasure of a lively garden scene. One of the most successful gardens near our home is very small indeed. The owners can cross the garden from the house in three steps, and it is not that much longer. Nevertheless, for much of the year it is full of life and colour, so much so that people are always pausing to admire it.

The plan for this garden is simple and could be adopted by many others. Two raised beds were built up to a height of about 45cm (18in). The remaining floor space was covered with imitation York stone. The walls of the house were painted white as was the tall end garden wall and the half wall opposite. Strong supports were installed for hanging baskets, for window-boxes and for a couple of semi-circular cradles, which were twice or three times as large as the biggest of the baskets. Two half tubs were included for permanent tree-cum-shrubs. Some other sensible-sized containers were bought. The raised beds were planted with a number of medium-sized shrubs, some deciduous and some evergreen. Trellis was fixed to the tallest garden wall, and various climbers, such as honeysuckles, clematis and a rambling rose, were given their head. Some of the larger containers standing on the paving or raised on a couple of bricks were mainly filled with evergreen shrubs and plants but room was left for the addition of some annuals that could add a touch of more vibrant colour in the summer. In the summer this ‘courtyard’ garden looks its most lively, colour-wise, but bulbs and items such as winter pansies help to keep it looking attractive through the winter and the winter-flowered jasmine pegged back to the wall also helps.

the really small gardenWhile the effectiveness of this small garden is dependent on the baskets and containers, these are not so numerous as to look messy. By picking good quality, simple containers of a generous size, rather than trying to make the effect with a multitude of small ones, the picture is very unified. The garden can get hot in the summer, so the larger containers are very much easier to keep watered and the plants are more likely to be happy.

With a small yard or garden area there may be an even greater temptation than normal to organize the space as an outside room. It is vital to make use of all the space and it may well be worth covering the whole or a considerable proportion of the area with a pergola-type structure so that the airspace above your head can be used. The beams can be clothed with a variety of climbing plants. Or restrict yourself to vines and watch the grapes developing! The walls can also be covered with dowering climbers, with some evergreens included, to help the whole thing look alive throughout the year.

Extra liveliness can be added by including water. It is quite easy to construct a wall-mounted feature. Such as the popular lion’s head, to allow a trickle of water to fall on to a basin filled with rounded boulders, the water being recycled by a small pump. Garden centres can supply all the artifacts you need to install such a feature.

05. October 2013 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Small Gardens | Tags: , | Comments Off on The Really Small Garden

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