Compass Garden Design

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Inspiration for Stunning Smaller Garden Designs

Even if your outdoor space is limited, by using imagination a garden designer can transform it into a beautiful area where you will want to linger. Planning is just as important with a smaller garden as with larger spaces – if not even more so, because every area of the plot needs to be used to the full.

At Compass Garden & Landscape Design, we design smaller and medium-sized gardens in historic cities like Bath and Bristol, as well as larger gardens across Wiltshire, Somerset and the South West. We will start off by looking at the existing garden and discussing your priorities with you, before drawing up plans to redesign it.

With a smaller garden, it’s always important to consider how it will look from the house, and also what features you want to be the main focal points. A water feature or garden sculpture will give a ‘wow’ factor and could also help to increase the sense of space.

Space-Saving Garden Design

Dividing a smaller garden into different zones is an effective way to make it look stunning and feel larger. For instance, you could have a small lawn, a patio area for sitting out and a series of flowerbeds, giving colour through the year.

Using different levels and a few steps can also help. Clear lines and edges are effective too, but it is a good idea not to make the garden design too symmetrical, as this can actually make it seem smaller. Asymmetrical design is on-trend, and has additional benefits in a small garden. Arranging shrubs and plants to complement each other, without them matching exactly, will add interest and help to draw the eye to the end of the garden.

Using outdoor mirrors within a garden design is another way to make the space look larger. But they do need to be carefully placed, so that they reflect views, greenery or striking features rather than a wall or fence. A mirror can also help to bring light into a dark corner of the garden.

Decks and Patios for Smaller Gardens

A decking or patio area is often one of the most important elements in a smaller garden. These two can be combined, by having a paved area or mini patio together with decking – creating a combination of surfaces and textures which can help to give a feeling of space. Staining decking in a lighter colour, and choosing a lighter shade for your patio stones, can also help.

Perhaps surprisingly, choosing larger paving stones can also create a feeling of space, whereas smaller stones could give a busy, more cluttered feel. Choosing compact garden furniture will help to use the patio space to the maximum, while raised beds and planters can also make the area feel larger and add visual impact.

Privacy is an important consideration when deciding where to site your patio or deck within a smaller garden, where you are likely to be close to your neighbours. It is often possible to improve privacy by simple measures like screening with shrubs or adding a trellis to the top of a fence. However, it is best to avoid very wide hedges which can use up too much of your space, especially in a narrow plot.

Planting Designs for Smaller Gardens

In a smaller garden, the ideal is to choose plants which will flower for a long time – such as lavender, which is ideal for sunny areas, or geums, popular hardy perennials which often flower from late spring through to autumn. Choosing taller plants can also work well in a planting design for a small garden – for instance, foxgloves or verbascums, with their tall spikes of flowers. Evergreen shrubs are also ideal.

Putting blue flowers at the back of beds will give a feeling of space, because they seem to recede as you are looking at them. Using fewer colours can help to make the space feel bigger, although you may be tempted by a traditional cottage garden with a blend of colours. Climbing plants on a garden trellis, such as honeysuckle, jasmine and clematis, make use of vertical space and give height.

While trees also provide height and shade, some types can grow very quickly and dominate the garden, so it is best to choose them with care. Small or dwarf birch trees are a popular option, as are miniature topiary and decorative trees.

Compass Garden & Landscape Design

If you are looking for a garden designer who knows the South West well, we design stylish and beautiful gardens of all sizes across the region. Our recent landscape design projects have included a new-build garden in Wiltshire, a formal courtyard garden near the centre of Bath, a Mediterranean garden in Bradford on Avon and a medium-sized garden in Bristol, complete with multiple seating areas.

As well as designing gardens and helping you to source contractors, we also offer planting consultancy and supply services. To find out more about Compass Garden & Landscape Design , follow the link.